This week, I went to Xaga Sushi and ate at the restaurant for the first time in almost a year. We had been ordering takeout from them, so it was nice to be able to have a sit down meal there again. It is a long drive, but it always seemed worth it.
The first thing we noticed was that the menu had changed drastically. The original menu had lovely pictures of the sushi dishes with the names underneath them, and was a few pages long. The new menu was only one page and like the take-out menu, had few pictures.
We started with the crabmeat and mango salad. Unfortunately, the mango did not seem ripe, and the crabmeat was cut so fine it was mushy. I only managed to eat it with the spring mix they put it on. This was not a good start to the meal. We even purchased a bottle of the Blufeld Riesling, which wasn’t chilled properly and didn’t taste good. Then, we ordered the rock shrimp. This was better than the salad but still lacked something, perhaps a little heat. I preferred (and miss) the rock shrimp from Monsoon Restaurant in Babylon, but they never opened back up post-COVID.
Our entrèe consisted mostly of uncooked rolls. We started with some of our favorites, like the Love Roll and Spicy Girl, then added new ones like the Red Head roll and the Snow Mountain roll. They all seemed lackluster; they were good, but not “wow these are yummy”. They missed the boat on presentation too. I mean, if I am eating out, I want the dish to have a nice presentation! Maybe I’m watching too many Food Network TV shows.
After that, there was tempura, which was also just okay. This meal was not worth the drive. I don’t think we will be going back anytime soon. We passed The One sushi restaurant on the way, and I love to go there. Maybe Xaga was having an off night, but everything about it screamed new ownership or new management, which is a shame because I used to really love this place. Whatever happened, I hope they get back to being a nice sit down restaurant instead of just a good take out sushi place.
My recommendation for this restaurant is to get your sushi to go and save your date night for a nicer experience.
On Monday night, I went out with two of my friends to the Taproom, a restaurant and bar located on Main Street in Bayshore. They serve a wide array of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and tacos, while also featuring a wide array of craft beers. Being that I’m not old enough to drink, I can’t say anything about the alcohol, but I can tell you the people sitting at the bar were very excited that the Islanders were scoring. I don’t know whether or not they won.
My friends and I were seated promptly upon arriving, and the tables were spaced nicely to accommodate for social distancing. Our waitress came over shortly after and asked us what we wanted to drink; we all ordered water. For appetizers, we opted for a plate of truffle fries and mac and cheese bites. The truffle fries were very flavorful, consisting of parsley, parmesan, and of course, truffle oil. It had been a while since we had them, and they are a favorite among all of us. The mac and cheese bites were tasty as well. We weren’t expecting there to be what seemed to be an anchovy dressing on them, but it added an interesting flavor to the mac and cheese. I would definitely be interested in trying a plate of mac and cheese there—the bites left me wanting more!
Onto our entrees, one friend ordered the Fried Wonton Duck Tacos. It came as a set of four tacos paired with chips and salsa. The chips were more chewy than expected, so we weren’t a huge fan of them. Our other friend ordered the Chicken Alla Vodka sandwich, since she loves Penne Alla Vodka, and enjoyed it as well. I ordered the Shrooms and Bulbs craft burger and the strawberry side salad with it. Both were phenomenal. I asked for my burger to be cooked ‘well done’ and I was impressed that it was cooked all the way through, since in the past I’ve found that can be hard to come by at restaurants. Another feature I like about the Taproom is that for their craft burgers and sandwiches, you can choose your side. You can either get french fries or sweet potato fries with your meal, or for an extra dollar, you can order Cajun fries, or for two dollars, you can choose from the strawberry side salad (this is also served as an entrée on their menu), truffle fries, or onion rings.
Overall, the food was fabulous, but filling. Half of my burger and salad, along with half of my friend’s chicken alla vodka sandwich came home with us since we were so full. I’m looking forward to coming back here in the future, and maybe The Drunken Chef can write about the beer. In the meantime, you can check out the restaurant here. In addition to their Bayshore location, they are in Patchogue and Massapequa Park as well.
Mr. Wang’s is a takeout Chinese Restaurant that is located only a few minutes’ drive from my office at work. I’m not sure who first recommend me to eat at this wonderful place of Asian Cuisine, but when I mention Mr. Wang’s to my wife Jennifer, she said, and I quote,: “Oh yeah, that place is good. We order from there all the time.”
We do talk a lot, really. Maybe it’s just not about lunch apparently, unless I’m the one to make it.
The very first thing I noticed on the menu was the Chinatown Style Noodle Soup. I love soup. Just not as much in the summer time. Unless of course, the air-conditioner in the restaurant I’m sitting at is set to fringed, then I will order it to keep warm. Otherwise, my soup selection is only available during the cooler months in NEW YORK, say October through March. Now as far as the soup menu went, here on Long Island I have NEVER seen these Chinatown soups anywhere, such as my favorite Roast Pork & Shrimp Dumpling Udon Noodle Soup. This is a delicious soup. They even let you pick your choice of noodles from: Egg Noodle (Cantonese thin noodle), Udon (Japanese), Chow Fun (Flat Wide Soft Noodle), and Mei Fun (thin Rice Noodles). There are even fourteen different soups to put those noodles into. My first soup choice is my favorite and was suggested to me by a co-worker to order hot chili oil on the side for the dumpling. OMG, I’m so hooked now on dipping the dumplings in the chili oil and eating the soup at the same time! If I am particularly hungry, I will get an egg roll too!
Post soup season, I have ordered just the homemade dumplings and chili oil. There is also my old standby shrimp Lo-Mein. I usually order this during Lent (just after New Orleans Mardi Gras and before Easter). My second choice is the chicken with mushrooms lunch special. The lunch specials come with fried rice and choice of one of three soups (wonton, eggdrop, hot and sour). Wonton being my selection. I have been told that the shrimp Egg Foo Young is also very good, although I have never tried it.
So if you’re up the my neck of the woods by work or even work with me, try Mr. Wang’s. You won’t be disappointed, unless you don’t like soup.
My mother loved to read the newspaper every day while drinking her tea in the morning. She drank coffee once in a blue moon. She loved the Sunday paper, because inside was the restaurant review section. We did not eat out at restaurants much as kids or even as adults when we all lived at home. A restaurant was left to only enjoy on special occasions like your birthday. It wasn’t until we were all older and working when we stated to take her out on Mother’s Day. Other than that she cooked for us every day. Sometimes she even made separate meals between my sister, brother or I getting home at different times. My sister was not a big fan of spaggetti either. Sherry (my sister) certainly didn’t like it as much as my brother and I did. So my sister sometimes ate something like a meatball hero parmigiana or piece of the pork cooked in the sauce on garlic bread. I think it’s my mother who gave me my love for food and going to nice restaurants so I would like to dedicate this section to her. Since she had grand children that she loved, and so let’s call it “Grams’ Restaurant Review (short for grandma), in her honor.
As to the first selection of a restaurant it was just bad timing that we choose a restaurant that I’m sure my mother is turning over in her grave at. I’m using as the first restaurant a sushi joint. I know exactly what she would say too. “Couldn’t you have chosen a nice sea food place?” My mother was never one to say a bad thing about anyone or anything unless it really got her upset. “Sushi? Really? You should find a nice place that has lobster tails. Preferably the big 16 ounce size or king crab legs.”
Nope, it was Friday night and everyone wanted sushi and wine. Mmm wine. I think, it was Jennifer that chose the actual restaurant as it was closer then one of our usual sushi places in Merrick. Closer, in this case, does mean better. When your stuffed and drunk, a long ride just puts your to sleep afterwards. This was the restaurant that was chosen: The One Sushi & Asian Bistro, Located at 330 Merrick Road, Amityville, NY 11701. My good friend Scott made the reservations for the six of us at 6pm. Six at Six!
Driving up we were very lucky. Not only to find one spot open but two in a very tiny parking lot right out front. There is parking in the back, but it can just feel like such a long walk on my old and tired legs. Closer, in this situation as well, is better.
In attendance was Sam, Alyssa, Scott, Allison, Jennifer and myself. The place inside was clean and it was certainly not over-crowded with people, which was nice. We had a lovely young woman waiting on us who was very polite and friendly. Scott, who has excellent taste, ordered our first bottle of wine. The waitress came back to the table with 5 frosty chilled glasses and a wonderful blue bottle. Yes, it was a white wine, specifically a Riesling from Germany, called Blufeld. Our server poured a glass for everyone but Jennifer who was one of the designated drivers and Alyssa who only had half a glass to taste it because she was also driving. The rest of the icy cold bottle was ours to enjoy. I thought we would each get two glasses but alas you do not get many serving from one tiny bottle of wine. I wonder if they make this stuff in magnums? I then tasted the wine and it was delicious all on its own.
Next, we placed our sushi order. Scott, who loves to pair food with wine, asked if we wanted him to order for us. Now when it comes to food or wine Scott has never let us down in choosing the things we feast upon. When it comes to the perfect pairing of food and wine we are never disappointed. Both Jennifer and I truly appreciate Scott’s recommendations as neither of us can make up our own minds in regard to what we both want off a menu. In the past we always ordered two different meals, or several appetizers and shared them. There’s so many choices and so little time or room in our stomachs. That’s why we minimize portion, to maximize flavor.
I think over the years of going out with Scott, Alison, and Alyssa, to eat everywhere from New York to Florida (I love Disney restaurants) we have eaten some of the best meals in our lives. Scott has a wealth of knowledge about wine as well and pairs it all up perfectly with the food. I guess that why he is a member of the Sommelier Guild.
So if the food was going to be suck-ish at least I knew the company was going to be amazing. We started with three orders of rock shrimp (Rock Shrimp is a delectable tempura battered shrimp, coated in a spicy and creamy egg-based sauce). Oh yeah, do you have any idea how annoying it is when one of your friends decides to do a restaurant review that night and now has to take pictures of everything? They were all amazing about it and even offered to help me. So thanks to them we have these great pictures of the plates of food. Despite the fact that I could see a vein popping out of my son’s neck when I stood up in the nice restaurant to achieve photographic mediocrity, he was a champ and took a few photos for me.
Frist was the rock shrimp, like I said. This was one of the best rock shrimp dishes I’ve ever had and Allison thinks it was the best rock shrimp we have had so far. It had a bit of a kick of spiciness to it that paired perfectly with the semi-sweet Riesling. Thanks to Scotts recommendation!
It was time for our second bottle of icy cold wine. It was the same as the first.
Next was the Lover Roll – I love this roll and have eaten it in a few restaurants before. I think back on the first time I tried this roll it was the best Love Roll I have ever eaten but doesn’t always seem to be that way with everything. The first time you always seem to remember as the best but it probably really wasn’t!
Next was the Loster Lover roll (No kidding! That’s exactly how it appears on the menu!) (LOL who influenced that Lobster choice I wonder?) It had lobster in it so what could be bad about that. Nothing, as it turned out, it was quite good. Plus, it had black caviar on top!
The Angry Dragon roll – This too was delicious. Like many of H.P. Lovecraft’s monster’s it was too insane for words. in the words of my son, “Simply divine”.
Lastly was a roll with two kinds of tuna. Spicy tuna and tuna right on top and rolled with purple rice! I didn’t think it looked great because it was so purple but it too was delicious.
Then we ordered one more botte of wine for our last three dishes. However maybe we should have changed it up because it came out room temperature. I don’t remember the waitress saying anything either like “I have no more cold Blufeld wine. Perhaps you would like something different.” Maybe she just thought we were all to drunk to notice, but we did. We certainly would have let it sit in the ice bucket before drinking it!
Scott ordered our next three dishes. Tuna sashimi, a salmon ceviche topped with tomato and jalapeno and a tuna round with a beautiful salad on top. I’m guessing Jennifer and Alison ate the salad because I know I didn’t. Not with all that sushi I was worried about eating it all but we managed to finish every piece! They were all fantastic too! Where did they lose ½ a star? The warm wine of course! It was only half too because the first two bottles were perfectly chilled and the frosted glasses were a nice touch!
All in all it was a good time and good time was had by all. Especially since, it was all topped off with ice cream Sundays that were purchased at the Carvel in West Islip. Paul always does an amazing job and this was no exception. I’m sure you will be hearing more about Paul in this blog and his ice cream all throughout the year to come. Thank you Paul and the Scouts thank you too!
So go if you have the chance, be adventurous and eat sushi and/or sashimi and enjoy yourselves! I think of all sushi as just the vehicle to enjoy soy sauce and wasabi!
Stay healthy, be happy and enjoy everything you eat and drink!