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japanese

Jannie In Warrington

Last weekend, en route to New Hope, we made a pit stop in Warrington to eat some dinner. Warrington – the stuff strip mall dreams are made of! At R’s suggestion, we went with Jannie’s, a chinese/japanese place next to the gigantic theater. This is the strangest looking asian restaurant I’ve ever been to. Seriously, look at the ceilings… they’re mirrored! They have modernish chandeliers with hand painted reliefs! Bizarro!

Onto the food… They have two sides of the menu, chinese and japanese. The place is run by chinese people though, so just be aware. And we got fried noodles and duck sauce, which is a totally chinese thing. R got some wonton soup and I got some hot and sour. She liked hers, mine was eh. I’ve had much better hot and sour many other places.

R got the pork lo mein. She barely put a dent in it, but it was really good. The noodles tasted especially fresh and so was the bbq pork.

I decided to go crazy and go with the japanese side of the menu and got yaki udon with shrimp. It came with a salad, and damn, I fell in love with their ginger dressing. I’ve had some good japanese ginger dressing in my day, but this was by far one of my most favorites… ever! It was super tangy and fresh and beyond full of flavor. I need to figure out how to make this!

My udon was alright. It was extremely seafood tasting (yes, I know I got seafood in it) in a strange way. It was also a bit salty. It tasted fine, but I think that Jannie is probably a bit better at doing the chinese thing, than the japanese thing. Service was fine, and there are some of the super fastest bus ever boys working at Jannie.


Jannie
118 Easton Road
Warrington, PA 18976
215-343-3889

Yakitori Boy

I’m usually pretty lazy when it comes to trying out new places. I let everyone else do the trying out, and then I’ll roll around after everyone and their grandmother have been there. Well folks, I’m changing it up a bit! I headed out to Yakitori Boy on a Friday night, the week they finally got their liquor license.

It’s really quite an attractive restaurant. All dark wood, everything is brand spanking new, and tastefully decorated. So there’s a bar downstairs, where the main dining area is. There are stools around the sushi bar. There are booths in the middle and there are some tables to the side. There are also more private rooms with rice paper doors. Upstairs, there is a lounge (21 and over only) along with an additional bar. And the karaoke rooms are here too. Ok, onto the food!

So they bill themselves as a “japas” restaurant – japanes tapas. It’s all about the small plates here. Many, many, many small plates. Between the five of us, there were probably 30 plates. Seriously. So what exactly is yakitori? Technically, yakitori is bird on a stick, but really, it’s basically grilled meats and non-meats on sticks. They gave us complimentary edamame… it was quite fine. Above? Squid legs. I dug this.

We ordered a crapload of stuff – yakitori, sushi, noodle soups, other appetizers… There is essentially no beef available on the yakitori section of the menu, except for the “karubi”. I think this is a bad romanization of korean kalbi, it is rib meat, but it didn’t taste like kalbi. It’s just plain meat on a stick, with essentially no seasoning. A little fatty. It was alright, but I wouldn’t order this again. Behold some eggplant, mushrooms, chicken, chicken and scallion, broccoli, corn, asparagus. Sorry, didn’t taste any of this, except for the corn. But it was probably all just fine. As for the corn? Not that exciting. But it’s corn. Hard to screw up grilled corn.

Here’s where the fun begins. H/A ordered this little fish on a stick. Don’t know what kinda fish this is… some thing sardine-esque, I think. Ok, from fish down: chicken liver, pork belly, chicken gizzard, chicken heart! T, adventure man, ordered all these innards. So the chicken liver was freakin good! It had some kinda sauce on it (most of the other things on sticks did not really have any seasoning or flavoring at all). Pork belly was alright. Chicken gizzard? Good! Chicken heart? Gross. It was crunchy and mushy. So so unpleasant. Do not get this!

Ok, so we also got other stuff… H/A got some sushi… and chicken ball yakitori. This chicken ball stuff was mmm, mmm, good!

A bazillion rolls… various stuff… rainbow roll, philly roll, volcano roll, mexican roll, green river roll. I ordered the green river roll, and it sure was tasty. And pretty big, even though it’s only 3 pieces.

H/A got the mini udon and I got a mini shrimp tempura soba (shrimp tempura came out separately, oops). These were good. Nothing extraordinary, but still good. The bowls were certainly pretty! The shrimp tempura, when it eventually came out, was quite good. Fresh, hot, full of grease. Yum!

Ok, so I can’t remember what these were called, but it was a chicken appetizer. Basically, tender pieces of chicken (not white meat), battered and deep fried and served with some kind of spicy sauce. The batter probably had a bit of spicy in it as well. Loved it!


As for me, I’d been craving takoyaki for awhile. Once when I was in SF, a japanese native made us homemade takoyaki. It’s a fascinating thing to watch really. It’s dough, with pieces of octopus thrown in, with a brown okonomiyaki sauce and bonito shavings on top. These were hot (temperature hot) and good. It might sound a bit gross, but it’s really delicious. Trust me!

All in all, quite a fun meal. And that’s what Yakitori Boy is, fun. The food isn’t particularly great, but it’s tons of fun, and there are things to eat here that you can’t find in other japanese places. And sometimes, being adventurous is just amusing. The service here was pretty good. Your food just comes out when it’s done, there’s no coursing at all. It just comes out… in droves…

One note… while waiting upstairs in the lounge area at the bar, the blonde bartender tried to pour a Sapporo and the tap was tapped… and it splattered beer all over me. Ok, it wasn’t terrible, but point is, it did land on me in several places. And dude, the girl did not even apologize to me. She didn’t offer me a napkin either. I had to ask the other bartender. Note to the bartenders at Yakitori Boy… if you spew beer all over a patron, apologize. Even if wasn’t your fault, it’s still your fault, so just do it. Because if you don’t, she’ll certainly blog about it…
Yakitori Boy on Urbanspoon

New Jersey Adventure – Sagami

For C’s birthday, we took him on a little adventure across the bridge to Sagami. Often hailed by many as the best sushi in the Philadelphia area, Sagami is a little hidden gem in the dregs of New Jersey. I even went here on my last birthday. In an unfortunate location on a highway, this place is a bitch to get to. You get there from PA on the wrong side of the road. And if you are familiar driving in NJ, it’s a total pain in the ass to turn around in the entire state. We drove a lot of extra miles trying to get here. Not to mention the bad directions I got off the damn interweb.

This place gets busy. Like seriously. We didn’t have reservations like a bunch of jackasses (I tried, but they aren’t open for lunch on the weekend so noone picked up the phone), so when we showed up and saw all those people waiting, my heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I had driven all this way, gone around I don’t know how many darn jughandles, and I had the worst fears of having to wait an hour. We had just called them a few minutes before we showed up to get correct directions, and had put our names down. Shockingly, we waited not even 10 minutes and then got a table! Whoo hoo!

The main section of the restaurant has famously low ceilings. I kid you not. I’m short, and I still get concerned. We were in the other room off to the side, past the sushi bar, and it has normal ceilings. I think this is where they stick the people with the kids. It seemed everyone in this area had them. The waitresses wear kimonos here. That shit is authentic, yo. We got some edamame and gyoza as appetizers. Edamame is edamame, it’s hard to screw that up. The gyoza were ok, but the insides were just mushy to me. There were no hunks of anything I could distinguish.

I also made sure to get the agedashi dofu. I LOVE SAGAMI’S AGEDASHI DOFU. I could eat this every day. I’ve had this at other places and it just doesn’t compare. First off, it’s huge. They don’t skimp on the tofu here. The sauce is the best. They put little tiny mushroom heads in it. I don’t like mushrooms, and I still eat them! So damn good.

I just wanted the agedashi dofu, so I didn’t care one bit what else we actually got to eat. So I let the boys pick. So J, K, and C started off with 10 various rolls, ranging from tuna and avocado, yellowtail and avocado, unagi, california, plain ol tuna, soft shell crab, shrimp tempura, yellow tail and scallion, salmon skin, and the big roll. All of it fresh and yummy. I especially liked the big roll. It was like kimbap, only huger. I thought I was full, but the boys wanted more.

This is where the “lost in translation” experience started. We let J order all the rolls, and J and our heavily accented waitress were having a bit of trouble on the old verbal communication front. [Note to self: next time, let the asian order. No offense, J] He said 1 tuna avocado roll, but she took that as 2 avocado rolls. Witness the two avocado rolls on the plate below. And note the cucumber roll. We did not order this, but somehow we got it. When we got this, we cleared up the misunderstanding, and she was very nice and let us return the two avocado rolls. We didn’t get to return the cucumber roll though. I still have no idea how she thinks we ordered that.

Since the boys ordered more food, I felt compelled to eat more. So I got the kitsune udon. It was only $5, so I had to go for it. And I ate it all folks. All by my piggish self. And it was mmm, mmm, good.

The service here is ok. Nothing to rave about. It’s pretty good considering how busy the place is. They might take awhile before they take your initial order, but after that, they’re fairly attentive. They brought us multiple pots of green tea and our water glasses were always full. It’s also a BYOB, so you can bring pretty much whatever you want and they will set you up with whatever you need. It’s probably a better bet to a) make reservations, and b) come during the week. I really like the food here. It’s about the food, and not the ambiance. You can speak japanese to the servers and they will understand you. It’s not expensive, not cheap either, and fresh and authentic.

Sagami
37 W Crescent Blvd (on the southbound side of 130)
Collingswood, NJ
856-854-9773
Sagami on Urbanspoon

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