Restaurant Review: Patricia’s Restaurant

May 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

How have I never come across Patricia’s before? This homey, greasy spoon diner has a familiar feel – like something you would see in a movie or TV sitcom. The menu is simple; breakfast staples such as pancakes, eggs, and toast. I went there for breakfast one morning with a friend during commencement weekend, and we saw a bunch of families enjoying food there. It must be somewhat of a tradition for folks, and the restaurant was bustling at about 10 in the morning.

The food is cheap and fast – I ordered two eggs over easy and toast, alongside a cup of coffee. The whole meal came to about $5. Apparently Patricia’s only serves eggs fried in different ways (scrambled, sunnyside up, etc), so they couldn’t fulfill my cravings for poached eggs. That’s okay – over easy it is!

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Our meals arrived promptly. It’s actually difficult to eat over easy eggs, because the yolk (the best part) is so runny that it just spills all over the plate once you begin to eat the egg. The toast was your requisite white bread, lightly toasted and smeared with butter. Though the food was plain and simple, the whole experience felt old-fashioned, warm and comforting.

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Restaurant Review: Cafe Romeo

May 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve always thought of Cafe Romeo as a hipster, grad student place, maybe because it is located further up Orange St. away from the undergraduate residences. It’s an open air, casual restaurant/cafe that serves a variety of sandwiches, paninis, salads, as well as hot beverage and baked goods.

During commencement weekend, my parents had not yet arrived and some of my friends and I wanted to avoid the crowds that were inevitably jamming all the popular New Haven establishments. I suggested Cafe Romeo as a more out-of-the-way place for dinner. We took a lovely walk under the setting sun up Orange St. until we reached the cafe. There is counter service, so we each ordered inside before settling down outside at a sidewalk table to enjoy the warm day.

After perusing the menu for a few minutes, I decided to go with the Chicken Florentine salad (~$9), which is grilled chicken on top of spinach, baby tomatoes, and red onion.

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It’s always difficult to predict how large and filling salads will be, but Cafe Romeo did not disappoint! There was probably half a pound of tasty grilled chicken piled on top of my salad, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the chicken was warm and tender. My friend ordered the fig and goat cheese salad and was similarly pleased to find herself with a hefty, entree-sized salad. Overall, everyone enjoyed their meals as well as the reasonable cost.

I’m sad to have discovered this place at the end of my college career, but I hope there will be an occasion to come back in the future!

Restaurant Review: Basil

May 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

In the two weeks between the end of finals and commencement, the dining halls close and we are on our own for meals – the perfect time to explore the New Haven food scene as well as revisit some old haunts. Basil, a small Asian fusion restaurant on the edge of campus, is a place I had been to a few times before but neglected to visit recently since it is a bit far from where I live.

It was still early for dinner when my friend and I decided to drop by, so I ordered two smaller dishes from the menu. One was a dim sum item called har gow, otherwise known as steamed shrimp dumplings. These are by far my favorite dim sum menu item – succulent shrimp stuffed in a chewy, translucent wrap. Basil’s shrimp dumplings were satisfactory – the filling was fresh and the dumplings were a good size, but I’ve had better in restaurants in larger cities. They were $4.50.

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I also ordered a side of broccoli with oyster sauce. Here is where things got a bit confusing. Basil’s menu has various types of steamed vegetables with oysters sauce listed in on one page (broccoli, chinese broccoli, bok choy, etc.). I asked for the regular American broccoli but the waitress first brought me chinese broccoli, though she returned with the right dish quickly after I mentioned the mistake.

The vegetables were fresh and steamed to the perfect point – still crunchy, yet without that sharp taste of raw broccoli. I also enjoyed how the sauce lightly dressed the dish, rather than dousing the vegetables the way some restaurants serve it. I believe this dish was also around $4.

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The menu is quite varied – my friend ordered a mango salad, roti prata (flat panfried bread with a dipping sauce that’s found in Singapore and Malaysia), and a different variety of steamed vegetables. There are also various rice and noodle dishes.

We went to Basil at a little before six (I think it was on a Sunday), and the place was pretty open so we experienced fast service. We must have gotten there at the perfect time, because not fifteen minutes after we were seated but the place started bustling with customers. Basil has a pretty small dining area but there’s usually a quick turnaround. Great affordable place if you want to try different Asian dishes!

Restaurant Review: York Street Noodle House

May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

York Street Noodle is place to go for a quick, cheap, and simple meal. The restaurant itself is small and tucked away on the second floor of a row house on York Street. The dining room is very cozy and slightly dark – it works well for two or three people who are dining together. Service is no frills and efficient. The menu is limited to certain types of dishes, but there is quite a variety within each category – noodle and dumpling soups, stir-fried noodles, dim sum, etc. Prices are usually under $10 for each entree.

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I ordered the chicken noodle soup ($6.25), which was egg noodles, assorted vegetables (broccoli, napa cabbage, bean sprouts), and tender slices of white chicken in a fragrant broth. It resembled chicken pho, though there is a menu item “vietnamese chicken soup” which might be a closer approximation.

The soup was delicious in a salty, MSG-laden way – I admittedly love to unami flavor of MSG, but it does make one incredibly thirsty afterwards. May be unsatisfying to a connoisseur of broth who is looking for “depth” and mouthfeel. The chicken was tender and plentiful, but rather bland, so I asked for some good old hot sauce to put on the meat. The noodles were pretty nondescript.

Sum: Pretty good meal for a college student on a budget.

Restaurant Review: New Haven Meatball House

April 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s been a while since I’ve written here! Just haven’t been eating out too much this year – but this past Tuesday I ventured with two friends to the New Haven Meatball House, somewhere I’ve been meaning to go to this whole year. The establishment is located on the corner of Park and Chapel, a bit far from my edge of the campus but I decided to make the trek.

The concept is pretty cool – you choose between 4 varieties of meatballs (chicken, beef, pork, and vegetarian), and then you choose a base to put them on (slider, potatoes, salad, etc). Lastly, you pick a sauce. When I looked up the menu online, it seemed casual, so I was expecting a Chipotle or Panera type environment.

I was pleasantly surprised – the atmosphere felt very fancy and upscale, and a bar dominated one entire length of the space. The lighting was dim with candles on every table, and the plushy booths were very cozy. The restaurant itself is small, so the overall feel was very intimate. The service was also very friendly and fast.

I ordered the beef meatballs with tomato sauce with the house salad ($8), and was surprised when the meatballs came on the side instead of topping the salad. The two meatballs were a fairly hefty size, and the meat was tender and flavorful. I thought the beef went well with the tomato sauce. The house salad was fresh but fairly standard.

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The experience was nice but rather incongruous. The prices are fairly low for the atmosphere that the restaurant is trying to project, but I don’t know if they succeeded in making the meatball concept fit into the upscale environment. Though the meatballs themselves are large, overall portions are pretty small, though in the end that is probably for the better since the food is rather rich. Still, it wasn’t long before we all finished our dishes, and I think all of us went back to the university dining halls for more food after leaving the restaurant.

In the end, it was a fun experience and I’m glad I got to try out the concept, but I don’t think I’ll be back for another meal. It may be a fun place to go at night to get appetizers and drinks.

Restaurant Review: Rudy’s

December 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last night two friends and I decided to check out Rudy’s on Howe and Chapel. Rudy’s is a typical friendly neighborhood bar – a bit far from my end of campus, but lively on a Friday night with the locals.

We ordered a big basket of their famous fries to share – the grande size, with truffle oil and parmesan. It was a bit pricey at $16, but the portion size was enormous. The three of us had no trouble devouring it though. The fries were blisteringly hot, but we couldn’t help but ignore the burn on our fingers and tongues as we gobbled up the delicious salty and crunchy pieces. There was a good ratio of fresh, golden, soft fries to slightly burnt and crispy ones, and the fries were satisfyingly thick.

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The parmesan and truffle oil added a nice depth to the saltiness, and created an addictive flavor. One friend described the taste as almost meaty. The other friend requested ketchup, but no condiments were necessary. It was a terrific experience overall, though now I go and read the Yelp reviews, and people are talking about their special sauces? We were definitely not offered any sauces besides ketchup.

The photo does not do justice to the actual enormous quantity of fries. It must have literally been two pounds of fries. Come with an appetite!

Restaurant Review: Mamoun’s

November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mamoun’s is a New Haven staple. It is a cozy little Middle Eastern place with cheap prices, making it a popular spot for many students. On one blisteringly cold night last week, I ventured out from my corner of campus on a mile-long trek to Mamoun’s with a few friends.

It was the end of Thanksgiving break so the restaurant was pretty empty at 7pm, yet there was still a warm and comforting atmosphere. The menu is pretty simple – there are vegetarian and meat choices, and you can get it in a sandwich (in a piece of pita) or on a platter. I choose the hummus sandwich, which was an unheard of $3.50. I also ordered a small hot tea.

The sandwich was great. Inside a rather large piece of pita bread were tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and plenty of creamy, rich hummus. In fact, there was so much hummus that I needed utensils to eat the sandwich in order to avoid making a mess. It’s hard to find good hummus, but this was it – savory, not too sour, thick, and smooth. 

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The tea came in a cup that was laughably small. It looked like a shot-glass, only in a dixie cup. Granted, it was only $1, but I still expected more than two sips. 

Overall, a great place to grab some delicious food, but come for the cheap food, and don’t expect too much else – paper plates, plastic utensils, and small dixie cups are what you are going to get.

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