Friday, April 23, 2010

Suzie Wongs:

It’s been about a month since we stopped by Suzie Wong’s with our fellow blogger Cincinnati Hound Dog. Since we used to live at Desales Plaza, (that would be the apartment with the fire trucks) heading back to that area was very nostalgic for us. We moved out shortly before Suzie Wong’s opened for business. It was probably for the best. Having tasty oriental style food right downstairs (and BYOB!) would have been dangerously convenient.

After veiwing their menu (which is available in full on their website) I have determined that I probably would have had to shop for bigger pants in a month or two after the grand opening, were we still in residence at Desales. But one meal wouldn’t hurt right? Surely not.

So we packed up the car and went back to the old apartment. This is where we used to live.

Sorry, that song has been stuck in my head while I've been drafting this entire post. It had to end up somewhere.

We each brought our beverages, Hound brought chimay and bourbon, we brought two growlers—Queen's Knickers and Rye 75, purchased from Party town in Florence. We had a reservation, and were seated promptly next to the window. The red hue of the restaurant combined with the tungsten glow of the streetlamps outside made for some challenging picture taking. But we managed with some creative blocking from Mrs. Hound.

We ordered a few of the appetizers, including the crispy veggie springroll ($3.50), Suzie’s potstickers ($3.95) and crab rangoon ($4.95) to start. I thought they were all priced very reasonably, and I appreciated that they were not huge portions. Sometimes David and I end up just ordering appetizers or starters at restaurants, entrĂ©e portions can be too large. The small size and price means that I can order several starters for dinner and enjoy the variety. We liked all our appetziers. I hoarded the crispy, crunchy rangoons and was reluctant to share them.

I chose to get the Seaweed salad ($3.95) along with my dinner. It was very tasty, sometimes seaweed can taste sort of funky, but this was fresh and light.

Cincy Hound went with the Orange chicken ($7.95), which came with lots of vegetables. Suzie Wong’s has lots of vegetarian options.

Mrs. Hound picked the Tofu pad thai ($8.95), which she said was very tasty and packed a nice amount of spice.

I decided to try the duck fried rice ($10.95 Regular fried rice $7.95; + $3 for duck). I’d never had duck fried rice, and I was curious. What I didn’t know is that I’d stumbled upon one the best things that Suzie Wong’s makes. The duck. The duck in my fried rice was a little smoky and deliciously tender, and I ended up guarding my plate from David most of the night. The only thing odd about the dish was how it was served. As you can see below, it was served in this bamboo type dish that was nearly impossible to get rice out of without making a mess. Creative, yes. Practical, no.

David wanted to try the coconut curry seafood supreme ($17.95; regular coconut curry $13.95; + $4 for seafood), which comes in a real coconut. His dish, unfortunately, was the biggest disappointment of the evening. Not only did it take an extremely long time—his dinner came out much later than the rest of ours; they mixed up the coconuts, so David didn’t get seafood at all.

We thought about saying something, remembered how long it to to get the coconut in the first place, and lumped it, though we did request that the $4 upcharge be taken off our bill. David said it was good, but not great. Also, he had no idea how he was supposed to eat it. Does the sauce go in the curry? Dip a fork in the sauce? Who knows.

Never let it be said that Cincinnati Hound doesn’t love Barbecue. It’s like he’s superman, but instead of being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, he can grill some ribs you’d fight your mother over.

So, in recap, we liked Suzie Wong’s overall. It’s very affordable, especially with the BYOB deal they’ve got going on, and despite the curry incident, the evening’s dishes were two hits (pad thai and orange chicken) one miss (curry) and one slam dunk (the duck).

Suzie Wong's on Madison on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 15, 2010


When I first got word of Wicked-Wich opening downtown, I was intrigued. The clever named sounded promising— I am all for more interesting, focused and quality sandwiches being made closer to my office. Overnight marinated meats sliced to order? I'll take that, thank you. Especially since I have been so busy lately that I have been stuck at my desk, eating instant oatmeal for lunch.

When I saw their menu, I knew I’d have a problem with it. Because I wanted to eat about 10 things on it for lunch. See for yourself here.

Should I construct my own sandwich? Try the beef barbeque? The chicken salad? Oh dear god they have an option to try all three of their soups for $4.95, I’m so screwed.

I brought David and my friend Janelle with me to check out Wicked-Wich yesterday, bumping into none other than Polly Campbell, who was also scoping the place out with a lunchmate. Her initial review was positive. We agree.

I really like this mural. The whole menu and the restaurant itself is almost perfectly in sync with the theme. It’s edgy and clever (cledgy?).

We had a few people in line ahead of us, but things move pretty quickly. David likes that the fountain soft drinks have both diet coke and coke zero. Once you have your drink, step up to the counter and order your sandwich. I faced two impulses when I stepped up to the counter.

The first was to go crazy and create some sort of obscenely delicious and huge sandwich monstrosity, with multiple cheeses on a brioche bun. But I wasn’t entirely sure I could eat it all, so I ruled out that option.

The second was panic:—there were so many options, and I felt a little like I was on a Seinfeld episode—that I would break some sort of unspoken sandwich code and then... “NO SANDWICH FOR YOU!”

However, if you also experience the same panic, I advise you to just do what I did—ask for recommendations. They are happy to give them and I was very happy with the results.

I went with the turkey sandwich ($5.95) with lemon rosemary cured turkey breast, and multi grain bun (recommended) I also chose the emmentaler swiss, which was .50 extra. I don’t mind paying extra for tasty cheese. WW also has truffled jack and goat cheese, which I’ll be trying next visit.

For condiments, I kept it simple, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo. And wow, was the chipotle mayo tasty. It had a little bit of a kick that I liked a lot. David liked the multigrain baguette so much that when I gave him my ‘wich to try, he wouldn’t give it back until I kicked him from under the table.

The breads at WW are buttered and toasted. Which boosts the tasty to 11.

Sandwiches come with a small cup side, and I selected the edamame wheatberry salad. It was very good—I liked the texture and the size was just right. Lots of onion, though. I made sure to dig in my work drawer for tic-tacs upon my return to the office.


David went with BBQ sandwich ($6.95) with apple cheddar slaw, roasted garlic aioli on a toasted brioche bun. The bun was great—and went well with the tangy, not too sweet barbeque.

For his side, he wanted the curried egg salad. I tried some and it’s exactly what it states—curried egg salad. Very tasty.

Janelle went with the soup trio ($4.95) and an extra side of the cranberry slaw ($1.25). She said she liked all the soups, they had good flavor, but the chicken chili was her favorite.

Cranberry slaw

tomato garlic soup

four onion soup

chicken chili

Someone certainly knows what they are doing at Wicked-Wich. I will definitely be back. I hope that they do well. They’ve only been open a short time, but they seemed to have it pretty together.

Wicked-wich on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mr. Sushi:

It’s incredibly dangerous to have a sushi place downtown for us. David loves the stuff, and I’ve come a long way since we started blogging—I used to refuse to eat any at all, I’ve now progressed to eating non-raw rolls, like spicy crab.

"Raw sushi? I already told you, no thanks. Maybe in a year or two."

So you can imagine what my credit card statement looks like. Lots of Dojo gelato, tabs at Nicholson’s and Mr. Sushi on there.

We visited with my Dad, who is not a sushi fan. But fear not, non sushi eaters— at Mr. Sushi, they have a large, non sushi menu with teriyaki and tempura, as well as pad thai and fried rice.

When we were at Mr. Sushi we noticed a large sushi boat being put together by the exacting head sushi chef, Max.

I followed the boat’s course as it was carefully moved across the dining room…to table with both Alex Chin (owner of the recently opened restaurant, Suzie Wong’s) and Jean Robert. The sushi must have met with their approval, because they totally sank that sushi boat.

We tried some of the house hot sake, which we liked. The hot sake goes right to your head, though.

I wanted to try some non sushi appetizers, so I chose two—the Yakitori ($5.00), grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce; and the Kani Claw ($8.00), 2 pieces of crab claw, deep fried with light sauce.

My Dad chose the chicken teriyaki, ($14.00).

David, of course, got sushi. He got some nigiri, including salmon roe ($2.50 each), some red snapper ($2.00 each) and his favorite, mackerel ($2.00 each). I once bought David the sea urchin ($4.00 each, not pictured) which he said was very interesting in texture, but sort of odd.

And a Japanese bagel roll, with salmon, scallion and cream cheese ($5.50)

I also urged David to try the Bengal roll ($10.00) with deep fried spicy tuna, spicy crab stick, and avocado.

For dessert, Max made a wonderful boat/display of fresh fruit. If you have a chance, take a few minutes to watch him work with a knife. Since coming to the States in 1984, he’s gained such skill that paper thin cuts look effortless.

On your way out, don't forget to try some of the little candies (melon and plum) in the dish on the counter. I tried the melon; it was delicious. David and I are very happy to have a sushi option downtown with some tasty mackerel, skilled chefs and hot sake!

Mr. Sushi on Urbanspoon