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Bistro Isakaya – Montreal

I was in Montreal for about one hot minute this summer. I was only there for one dinner and had no car, so I found Bistro Isakaya just a few steps from my downtown hotel. You can’t look into the restaurant from the outside, which I always find slightly creepy. The only thing in the windows were some crudely hand-written menus. But I braved it and went inside. It’s quite not scary on the inside! What was I afraid of?
The gedashi tofu! It’s one of my most favorite japanese dishes, so I try to get this often, when at a new japanese spot. I loved that they served it with grated daikon. There’s just something I love about grated daikon in agedashi tofu and zaru soba. The sauce was a bit on the salty side for me.I had one of the noodle and seafood salad specials that was on a handwritten menu. I thought that because it was a special, it would be rather interesting. It ended up fairly bland. It looked pretty exciting but there just wasn’t much flavor in there. The shrimp was rather flavorless but the crab was good. The avocado wasn’t very ripe either. The best bits were the tomatoes and the crab. The soba noodles didn’t add much. 
By the time I got around to the roll I ordered, I barely had room for it. It was much more exciting than the salad! And the avocado in this was nice and ripe. The service was really good and friendly here. The prices were quite reasonable. The only bad thing was a really loud and annoying couple pretty much next to me. Not only were they stupidly loud, their conversation was just inane and obnoxious. Ugh. But hey, what are you gonna do?
Isakaya on Urbanspoon

Capital Grille Lunch

The Capital Grille had introduced a three-dish fixed price lunch menu and invited me to sample some of their offerings. The Philly location is huge, classic, and fancy, with very romantic lighting. There’s a whole lotta leather, wood, and people in suits. You get a basket of complimentary bread and it’s got a nice mix of things like pumpernickel, rolls, flatbread type things… I loved the variety.
Mint lemonade and grapefruit sodas. The lemonade was good, but not very minty at all. The grapefruit soda was awesome! Everything is freshly made, even these drinks!
M’s salad, with particularly tasty cherry tomatoes.
I had the clam chowder as my appetizer. This was quite the respectable cup of soup! It was thick, clammy, and full of potato and clam chunks. M got the lobster roll. Whoa, this was a huge pile of lobster. I mean huge. They didn’t really put it in the roll, they just kind of plopped it on top. That made sense though, as there was no way that giant pile of lobster was going to fit into any kind of roll. Oh man, that lobster was sweet and fresh and succulent. I’m not even all that into lobster, but this roll was great. And the haricots verts? I could not stop eating them! I’m a big fan of green beans and these were some of the best I’ve had in awhile.
I got the wagyu cheeseburger with fried egg and crisp onions. It’s got seasoned japanese wagyu beef, which is pretty darn fancy. And fried egg happens to be one of my favorite toppings for a burger! This little burger was good!
M picked the cheesecake as his dessert, which has a vanilla wafer crust, is garnished with fresh sweet berries in a strawberry sauce, and topped with a burnt sugar crust. If you like cheesecake, you’ll like this one.

I’m a creme brulee junkie, so you know that’s what I picked. The creme brulee itself good, but it was the fruit that won me over. Capital Grille philly, I don’t know where you get you berries from, but damn, they were awesome.
Some coffee, anyone? After all that food, it’d be hard to! Since we’re moving into Spring now, they’ve just switched things up for this lunch deal. They’re offering new selections, such as asparagus soup, spring and piquillo peppers with crisp bomba rice, and grilled spring veggies. Once again, it’s a three-dish prix fixe. For the quality and quantity of food, and the extremely high level of service, this is a great lunch deal!
The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Makiman Sushi

Sushi spots abound in philadelphia. Sometimes, you can’t walk a block without running into one. Where were all these when I was growing up? I’ve gone to Makiman Sushi a couple of times recently, and I’m a fan. It’s a nice sized place with a small sushi bar. It’s very casual and a BYOB. The house salad with ginger sauce. I’m very judgy when it comes to these, because I’m a big fan of ginger dressing. Their’s was quite respectable. And props for a mix of greens and not just iceberg lettuce, not that I don’t love iceberg lettuce. They also had cucumber in there!
Miso soup… just fine.
The best dish at this place are the tuna nachos. It’s not like a pile of chips with tuna thrown on top. They’re two fried wontons (I think) topped with some veggies, raw tuna, and a spicy sauce. And they are glorious! I was hesitant about these but M convinced me to get them. I’m so glad he did! It’s more like an openface asiany tuna taco. The sauce is delicious, but at times, can be a bit too spicy. On our second visit, the sauce was sooooo spicy that M could barely eat it. But really folks, you’ve got to try these!
Here’s the sushi regular… M always gets the sushi regular, just like my mom. How many other people out there are sushi regulars?
For whatever reason, I decided to try a couple of random rolls that day. These were quite nice! While their sushi is just fine, let me just reiterate my love for the tuna nachos. I will keep coming back here because those things are so darn yummy!
Makiman Sushi on Urbanspoon

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