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5A5 Steakhouse?

I've sent them an e-mail requesting a copy of their wine list, but I've yet to hear back from them. My biggest question is on the quality of their A5 wagyu. At $19/oz, I expect their Wagyu to blow me way, but if it has failed to meet the expectations of the other posters here, I'd rather go order the stuff elsewhere and stick to one of their dry aged steaks instead.

May 25, 2009
zph in San Francisco Bay Area

5A5 Steakhouse?

I'm heading to 5A5 Steakhouse this weekend for a friend's birthday. I'm completely unfamiliar with this place, in fact I hadn't even heard of it until I received the invitation, so I'm looking for some advice and recommendations on what to order there. 5A5 seems to emphasize Kobe/Wagyu steaks, which I've tried a couple times before at places like Craftsteak in Las Vegas. Good stuff which I enjoyed (but far from mindblowingly delicious), especially considering that I normally tend to stay away from steakhouses. So the questions are . . . What's good at 5A5? Are the Wagyu steaks worth it? Anything else that's particularly good or worth trying there?

May 24, 2009
zph in San Francisco Bay Area

Las Vegas - Buffets, Fine Dining and Healthy Quick Eats

kjs - Thanks for the help. My gf likes Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, spicy food (as spicy as possible), and sushi rolls but not sashimi. However, so long as the food isn't French or raw, she'll probably be open to trying it at least once. Let me know if this narrows it down at all.

As for buffets, are there any other possibilities beside the Stering Brunch and Wynn if we're looking for quality food?

Dec 30, 2008
zph in Southwest

Las Vegas - Buffets, Fine Dining and Healthy Quick Eats

I will be in Vegas with some friends, including the girlfriend, for a few days, and am looking for places to eat under the following three categories. We will be there after New Year's, so we're not concerned with special New Year's Eve menus. I haven't been in Vegas in quite a few years, so I'm not really sure what's good and what's not, so your advice is needed.

Buffets - We like good food, but also lots of it. We're considering the Sterling Brunch at Bally's, which from my understanding includes unlimited Perrier Jouet champagne. While $ is not much of an issue, we're not sure if it's worth it as some members of our party will not be drinking at all. I've also looked at the buffets at both the Bellagio and Wynn, but I haven't eaten at either in 5+ years. So any thoughts and recommendations would be much appreciated.

Fine Dining - This would be for myself and the girlfriend only. While I would love to try the tasting menu at Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy, the girlfriend does not fancy French cuisine whatsoever. She will also not touch anything raw, and do not care for alcohol at all, including wine. We don't normally do steakhouses, but it is a possibility, and we're considering N9NE. Tasting menus sound great to us, but it is not a requirement. I'm frankly at a loss at where to go, and will appreciate any recommendations.

Healthy Quick Bites - We're looking for one or two convenient places on the Strip with some healthy items on the menu. These absolutely do not need to be health food type places.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Dec 29, 2008
zph in Southwest

Virgin 1920's-esque cocktails?

The girlfriend is hosting a 1920's themed party and would like to serve up some cocktails representative of the era. Unfortunately as most of the attendees don't drink, the drinks will have to be virgin cocktails. As a Scotch drinker who'll have a French 75 or Mint Julep on occasion, I'm completely at a loss as to what virgin cocktails to serve. So I'm wondering if anyone here would be kind enough to offer some advice or recipes on what to serve. Thanks!

Jul 13, 2008
zph in Spirits

Shanghainese or Northern Chinese cuisine in Austin?

Firstly, thank you for your input. We had dim sum at Shanghai Restaurant for lunch today, and dinner at Pao's last night. So here's a short review.

Shanghai Restaurant - We had dim sum, but didn't get to look at their other lunch or dinner menu(s). Though not the absolute best dim sum I've ever had, it was definitely quite good and comparable to what I've had in LA/Shanghai/Hong Kong/etc. The egg tart buns and beef balls were particularly well made. The turnip cake was good as well, but a bit too greasy.

Pao's - Their menu was an eclectic mix of Cantonese, Shanghainese, Sichuanese, Hunanese and Taiwanese cuisine. The waiter informed us that their chef specialized in Sichuanese dishes. With that said, we decided to order some sort of spicy tofu dish cooked in a claypot (very good, delightful texture), spicy boiled beef (flavorful but forgettable), the drunken chicken (excellent, highly recommended), and a whole steamed sea bass (unmemorable). I think next time, we'll stay away from the Cantonese style seafood, and stick to the Sichuanese dishes, as well as try some more of their cold plates.

Jul 08, 2008
zph in Austin

Over dressed...

I'll second Trio. In addition, Truluck's and Sullivan's might work as well.

Jul 03, 2008
zph in Austin

Austin's happy hour specials

Headed to McCormick & Schmick's last night for their 9-11 happy hour (which is evidently in addition to their afternoon happy hour). Didn't try the $2 burger, but had the $2 hummus (good), $4 fish tacos (pretty good), and $5 turkey sliders (so so). Food wasn't great, but pretty good, especially for the prices. Drinks however weren't cheap.

Jul 03, 2008
zph in Austin

Shanghainese or Northern Chinese cuisine in Austin?

Having grown up in California, I was spoiled by an abundance of fantastic and authentic Chinese restaurants. When I arrived in Austin a little over a month ago, I really didn't expect much in terms of Chinese food. Yet I have been pleasantly surprised by the likes of T&S and Sichuan Garden. However for the past week or so I've been craving Chinese food that wasn't quite Cantonese or Sichuanese. So I'm wondering if anyone here knew of any Austin area restaurants serving up Shanghainese or Northern Chinese (or anything else Chinese, but not Cantonese or Sichuanese) cuisine?

Jul 03, 2008
zph in Austin

Late night dining in North Austin & Round Rock?

I'm wondering if there are any late night dining options in North Austin and Round Rock other than fast food chains like McDonald's and Taco Cabana, and places like Denny's? Places open until 2:00 am or later are preferred, but restaurants that close at around midnight or so will work as well. I'm also open to all cuisines. Let me know. Thanks!

Jun 28, 2008
zph in Austin

Sunday Brunch at TRIO

An enumeration of some of the (most memorable) items available at TRIO's Sunday Brunch would be greatly appreciated.

Jun 22, 2008
zph in Austin

Sunday Brunch at TRIO

We're considering heading down to TRIO for their Sunday Brunch. So far I've read a bit about it on yelp, but was wondering if anyone here who've been to TRIO's Sunday Brunch would be kind enough to share their experience. I'm particularly interested in the quality, as well as the creativity of the selection. I was also informed by a friend that it's priced at a little under $50 p.p. (at least a year or so ago), so I'd like to know if it's worth the money as well.

Let me know. Thanks!

Jun 21, 2008
zph in Austin

"Rare" ethnic eats in SF?

If anyone knows of a restaurant serving Xinjiang cuisine in the Bay Area or anywhere else in California, I'd love to hear from you.

May 18, 2008
zph in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Desserts

My friend has another friend that absolutely loves the cheesecake at Truluck's. So on her advice, we headed there for Friday evening. The food was good, but hardly memorable (especially at the price point and portions). However, the desserts were much more massive (and impressive). We had the following:

Cheesecake - Creamy goodness. Good, but short of great, so a bit disappointing given what we were told.
Mocha Mud Pie - Absolutely and simply fantastic. We both loved it.
Chocolate Sack - It was massive and delicious. Too bad we couldn't even finish it.

On Sunday night, I took her to Trio. It was between Trio, Shoreline Grill, Wink and Sullivan's. We ended up at Trio largely due to the scenic lake front view it offered. We had ate a couple hours earlier, so we elected to simply have a tasting of five desserts. I'll sum it up here:

Banana Parfait - Good, but unmemorable. Also rather lacking in presentation compared to the other desserts.
Trio of Dark Chocolate - Elegantly presented. Interestingly, the cake almost sported the texture of a brownie. We agreed that the creme brulee was the best of the trio.
Trio of Pears - Absolutely superb presentation. Delightful mixture of textures. Fantastic.
Chocolate Crunch - She loved it (largely as a result of her affection for peanut butter). It was evidently so beautifully presented (as far as she was concerned), she initially refused to even try it. Heh.
Trio of Sorbets - The lemon sorbet was a bit too sour. I particularly enjoyed the raspberry sorbet. She loved the mango sorbet, which I agree was amazingly rich and yummy.

So in conclusion . . .

1) Truluck's desserts are noticeably better than their food. Go for the former.
2) Frankly Trio's menu seems to be good, but a bit boring to me. It just seems "too standard." However, as I haven't exactly tried their food yet, I am frankly not entitled to render an opinion. But I can and will comment on their desserts. In general, the presentation of their desserts is simply amazing. As for taste, they are quite superb, but fall slightly (just slightly) short of fulfilling the expectations instilled by their presentation.

I am flying back to California early Tuesday evening, so we are looking to have a farewell dinner of sorts on Monday night. I'd really like to try Uchi's, however 1) I'm not completely sure that's possible on such short notice without reservations (even on a Monday night), and 2) she's not exactly a big fan of Japanese food or raw fish (and so far my attempts to convince her that it's [suppose to be] more than just raw fish or stereotypical Japanese cuisine has been futile). Dessert is still a big consideration, so Driskill is out already. We've had way too much French food in the past month, so while I've considered Jezebel, Aquarelle and Chez Nous, I'd rather try them another them. Right now, I'm only seriously considering Wink and Sullivan's for I've read raving reviews of the former and the latter closes at 11 pm or so I've been told. Due to scheduling issues, it's impossible for us to have dinner until at least 9:30 pm, so we're looking for a place that closes slightly later. I'm also very interested in something less gourmet and dressy, but instead more uniquely representative of Austin's fare. If anyone would be kind enough to offer their wisdom given our circumstances, it would be appreciated!

Mar 31, 2008
zph in Austin

Best Desserts

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I've lurked around Chowhound boards for a while now, but this is the first time I've posted. This is my second time visiting Austin, so I'm rather unfamiliar with the restaurant scene here. As such, I am here for your wisdom.

I have a friend with an exceptional fondness for pastries and desserts. She loves to bake as well, so indeed she knows what's good and what's not. I'd like to take her to a restaurant with (arguably) the best desserts in town for a tasting of nothing but their desserts. As such, I am not particularly concerned with the quality or lack thereof of the rest of the menu. However, I am departing Austin in a few days, so a place that does not require reservations well in advance would be most certainly preferred.

I offer you my gratitude in advance for your insight!

Mar 27, 2008
zph in Austin