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tapas

Sonam Happy Hour

I attended another fantastic Yelp happy hour Wednesday night. It was held at Sonam, on South Street, and they closed down the whole place just for us. It’s a really cute and small place. I loved the way it was decorated. It’s a “global tapas” place that’s also a byob.
I don’t remember what these were, but they were on little crunchy pieces of mini toasts, and had egg salad, chicken salad, and something else. I liked em. Asian chicken slider. Ok, these I totally dug. I ate many many of these little suckers. Delicious. A was saying they tasted like his mom’s turkey burgers, well damn, she makes some good ass turkey burgers.They call these S’mores, but they’re not traditional s’mores. It was goat cheese with a fig reduction. Shudder. I’m not a fan of goat cheese. I didn’t try these.
Shrimp. Don’t remember what these were like, but I liked them.
Beef on a stick. These were kind of boring and plain. Meh. “South Philly Negamaki”. Strange, but ok. Chicken Tikka Masala Parmesan. Loved these!At some point in the evening, edamame came out. And I love me some edamame.

This was some kind of dessert tapas. Something they cooked up for us. Ice cream, cinnamon and sugar, and crunchy stuff. Loved it.

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

Restaurant Week – Amada

As some of you may know, this past Sunday marked the start of yet another Restaurant Week in Philadelphia. I planned ahead this time and made reservations at Amada. I’d been wanting to go there forever, so this just seemed like the opportune moment. The restaurant is fairly sizable. It’s shaped strangely, with a bar on the far left, a kitchen in the middle, and several dining areas. We ended up at the one in the back, the one you have to go around the kitchen to get to. It’s a beautiful place. Clean, tasteful, lots of wood. It was fancy but not schmancy. It was really nice, I felt like a big dork in there.

The names of all their special cocktails are of spanish movies. How cute is that? A restaurant after my own heart, I tell ya! I tried some of the “Tinto” sangria. It was pretty good. Strong too. Very cinnamony.

So the deal was that you picked 2 choices from the first course, 2 choices from the second, and a dessert. So starting with the first… We picked the white bean and ham stew, the spanish octopus, garlic shrimp, and serrano ham and winter melon. The stew was delicious. That white foamy stuff is some type of potato puree, possibly infused with air? The octopus was mild, had good texture, and came with tiny grilled onions (or maybe they were shallots)? The garlic shrimp were, y’know, garlicky and good. The ham with the melon? Omigosh. So good! The most ripe melons you can find, which they put some sugar on and bruleed, and then put ham over. I loved it!

Moving on to course two! Beef shortrib flatbread, grilled chorizo, grilled scallops, and chicken breast with truffles and fried egg. The flatbread, basically like a little pizza, was topped with shortrib meat and other stuff. This was delicious! There was a “weird” taste in it, and after some thought, I realized it was honey. A shortrib pizza with honey. Strange, but good. The chorizo I wasn’t crazy about. It had that funny chorizo aftertaste. Something with the paprika I think. The scallops were unbelievable. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned. I have no idea what the green stuff that was drizzled on it was made with, but it was perfect and I would have put that green stuff on everything if I could. The chicken was also excellent. Juicy with a strong and pungent sauce. I really loved everything (even if the chorizo didn’t do it for me).

The dessert choices were a spanish rice pudding and some type of cream with berries thing. I wish they had more of a selection. I didn’t like the pudding much. It had raisins and I don’t like raisins in anything other than cookies. Sorry, I just don’t. The cream thing was good (sorry, the picture came out terrible so I left it out).

The service at Amada is excellent. The waiters are friendly, a different one brings out each dish. Frenetic, yet entertaining. I think they might play some music, but it’s just background so you can definitely have a conversation. The staff will totally help you to decide and give recommendations. I think it’s definitely worthy of some of the hype surrounding it. Now I want to try out his other place, Tinto! Perhaps at the next restaurant week.

Amada on Urbanspoon

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