Monday, July 18, 2011

Asahi Japanese Grill--Lenoir City

Asahi Japanese Grill in Lenior City  is a very good restaurant that was just under my radar!   I had never noticed this place until last week.   But then again, I have never been one to seek out Japanese restaurants.   I believe the last time I dined in one was over fifteen years ago in Nashville.  We sat around a grill with a wild eyed "samurai chef" who wielded a machete, pepper grinders and other unknown cooking utensils.   He tried to throw food in your mouth as if we were a bunch of trained seals.   Didn't care for that type of restaurant entertainment.

A couple of friends suggested that we return for lunch since they had good prices and very good food.   I didn't know exactly what to expect.    The Menu looked very appetizing.

I asked my server what they enjoyed...always a good indicator when they immediately suggest.  When a server starts to hem and haw,  I know that most likely they are not a fan.   They suggested the Chicken and Shrimp for $7.95.   It was so good....I loved everything about the dish.  All entrées and combination plates are served with Rice and vegetables.   Nice flavors but I found the broccoli and zucchini  a little over cooked and limp.   Flavor was great though.   Also, they included their Asahi Sauce, a tasty condiment.   I believe it was a combination of mayo, little paprika, maybe a touch of Tabasco.   It added a great flavor addition to the plate.  

Chicken & Shrimp with Fried Rice

Here is a place that I will return...maybe even twice this week!!!

Asahi Japanese Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crù Bistro and Wine Bar--Knoxville

Miss C and I jumped in for a quick lunch at Crù Bistro. Neither of us had been there before but I have wanted to go since they opened.   It took a little prodding from a new Blog Friend from Tampa/St. Pete area. Sweet Polly writes a great blog....and her photos are stunning.  She was here while I was in Gulfport/St. Pete.   I read her blog and decided we need to go as soon as I return to Tennessee.  I expected a little wait...but was totally shocked to see an empty restaurant.   It was 1PM and there wasn't another patron in the restaurant.  I really hope this isn't a bad sign in these tough economic times.  

Beautiful Cocktail Lounge

Our server was very attentive and knew the menu well.  That in itself is reassuring.    Miss C decided on the Chicken Hummus Wrap for $8 featured Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Pepper, Hummus, Romaine, Olive Tapenade, Tomato, Feta, Garlic Aioli.  She raved about the wonderful flavors.  All the sandwiches and wraps feature freshly made chips.   French fries are available for a $2 up charge.  I loved the chips.  

I wavered between The Toasted Italian Sandwich, The Cuban, and The Nama Fish Taco for $8 Panko Whitefish, Cilantro Chimichurri, Spicy Mayo, Asian Slaw, Pico De Gallo.  I decided on the Fish Taco at my server's recommendation.   It was very good....loved the crunchy Asian Slaw and the spicy flavors were just right.  I could have eaten a couple more, but decided I will restrain myself!   Next time will be different.   

Chicken Hummus Wrap
Nama Fish Taco
I know we will be to try all the exceptional menu items that I didn't get to enjoy today!  

Crù Bistro and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Patrick's Bayside Grill--St. Pete Beach/Treasure Island

Been in Gulfport for a few days now and it is time to find a "new" restaurant for supper.   Not that Patrick's Bayside Grill is new...but it is a new experience to enjoy.    

We  had read the restaurant was "intimate" but upon arriving, I found the facilities much larger than expected.    I made reservations for 630P only to find that it was going to be a slow night with all the rain that has been pummeling the entire Tampa Bay area for the week.  

Our server joined our table immediately and proceeded with a beautifully chilled martini. Nice job and very refreshing.  

As we began scouring the menu, I found a number of things that looked appetizing from the Sashimi Tuna to the Lobster Tail Francese.  We decided to enjoy the Escargot Patrick and I just had to try the Lobster Bisque.   Both were wonderful and the Lobster Bisque was like liquid velvet in a bowl.  So good!  

Escargot Patrick
Lobster Bisque

For our wine selection, our server suggested the Cotes Du Rhone....nice selection for our entrées.

I enjoy a restaurant that features six to eight wonderful choices instead of the usual 75 pages of mundane.    We selected the Taylor's au Poivre a 9 oz. Filet rolled in cracked peppercorns with a cognac & portabello demi-glace.  Also, the marinated Pork Chop,  seared & served in a Cabernet wine reduction was very good.     Each were served with a good “chunky” mashed potato and asparagus.  Great flavors without the need of any additional seasonings required.   My only though was the Steak au Poivre was served with too much of the demi sauce.   A nice pool of sauce with the filet in the center would have provided the right touch…but I must stress the filet was a PERFECT medium rare. 

Taylor's au Poivre
The 16 oz Pork Chop

No chance to enjoy a dessert since we were full of delicious, well prepared food.   Maybe next time...since Patrick's will be a place we will revisit on our next trip. 

Patrick's Bayside Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beverly's La Croisette--St. Pete Beach

There are too many places for breakfast in St. Pete!  Great places...bad places, expensive places...and the cheap joints.  Really good ones are few and far between.   Time to try a new place and one good indicator is the lines.    If luck is running in your favor, you might  get in, get seated and beat the lines.   We were lucky at Beverly's La Croisette. 

Our server was immediately to our table with coffee in hand.  She was ready to take our order, but we had only spent  twenty seconds to look at the menu.   We needed to look a little further.  

The Florida Omelet
The Florida Omelet featured Avocado, Tomato Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream for $6.95.  Nice creamy grits and it was good to get the rye toast without the usual over "buttered" bread.   I prefer it dry and will add what I want at the table.

The Eye-Opener

I chose the Eye-Opener Breakfast special....two eggs over easy, extra crispy country fries, crisp bacon and rye toast for $4.95.   Great deal for great food.  We will be heading back here for sure!!  

Beverly's La Croisette on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pia's Trattoria--Gulfport

When I walked by this lovely setting, I was so impressed.  Then we discovered it was an Italian restaurant.   Pia's Trattoria--time to venture in for supper.     We didn't have reservations but after walking in the entrance, we were greeted and immediately seated.  Lovely table by the window and even with the monsoon rain we have endured, the setting was comfortable.  Our server did approach our table, took our drink order.   Immediately, the restaurant filled with a private party and the staff was overwhelmed.  They did handle things but we did have a little wait for our drinks to arrive.   Nothing objectionable, by any means.

Comfortable Lounge with Dining Tables to seat 20
We browsed the menu while enjoying our imported Moretti Beer. The Italian Platter for $9.50 featured Imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, lightly sugar coated grapes and olive oil to dip served with grilled Italian garlic ciabatta bread.  

Italian Platter
Our Di Bologna $13.95 featured the special Meat Sauce covered the perfectly cooked Penne.  Also we enjoyed the Pesto Rosso $12.50 with spicy red pesto based on sun dried tomatoes and hazelnuts. 

Di Bologna with Penne

Pesto Rosso with Spaghetti

All in all, the pasta was a perfect al dente.   They did a nice job getting our plates to the table without soggy pasta...a major plus for Pia's.   A nice bottle of wine was suggested by our server.  We enjoyed Spalletti Chianti 2007.  

Now for the major pet peeve I have about ANY restaurant.   Menu Typos!!   There is no excuse for that to happen....EVER!    If you don't have the time to do it right....when will you ever find the time to correct a blatant error.   Pia's...a prominent Italian Restaurant spelling Italian wrong!    The food was very good and it will not deter us from returning.  Just disappointed with their oversight. 

Pia's Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 8, 2011

Johnny Leverock's Seafood--Gulfport

Johnny Leverock's Seafood popped up as a must try seafood restaurant.   I am ready to testify that you better check your GPS for accuracy, since it will send you to a location that is NOT the restaurant.   After another phone call, we did find the restaurant with the help of the Leverock hostess.  

We began with Lobster Bisque (4.49) and Oysters Rockefeller (8.49).    Both were OK...nothing execptional but good.   On to our  Caesar salads which were chilled and crisp.  Our server was very helpful with our entree selections.    

Caesar Salad

My first choice was the Leverock's Seafood Platter (15.99), fried and adding snow crab legs (4.99).  It was quite a disapointment that they didn't have snow crab legs.  So, I changed my choice to Stuffed Tilapia & Fried Shrimp (16.49).  We also chose Chilean Sea Bass with Mashed potatoes (17.95).   Both entrees were good.... but remained ordinary.  

This restaurant appears to be an old standard of the area.   Many of the restaurant pations were "long time old regulars" and they know what to expect.  Many don't have the ability to require any adventures in dining. I am not sure why four other Leverock locatations have closed. 

The food was passable...but there remains TOO many other choices in and around the beach to enjoy.  

Johnny Leverock's Seafood on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 1, 2011

Surin of Thailand--Knoxville

I don't know where to start....Surin of Thailand has to be one of the best full flavored Thai restaurants I have ever had the "joy" to enjoy!   Smart interior design....quick, friendly and well trained wait staff...our server knew everything about the menu.  

Surin of Thailand, with six other locations in Birmingham, AL and Hattisburg, MS have an extraordinary and expansive menu.   It was a treat to pour over the pages...and we didn't even get to the sushi.   Neither Miss M or I like sushi so that wasn't what brought us in to devour lunch.  

We began our adventure with Nam-Sad....fresh ground pork loin blended chili peppers, ginger, onions, fish sauce, peanuts, and lime juice. Served with crisp cabbage  for $7.   A great appetizer for sharing.   Just a word of is very spicy hot but the crisp cabbage cooled the flavors.

Our patient server let us browse and chat while we enjoyed the Nam-Sad.   We finally made our decisions and Miss M chose the Lunch Special of Macadamia Trout  for $11..a boneless filet of trout encrusted with bread crumbs and macadamia nuts, Pan-seared and topped with a special ginger soy sauce. Served with a side of stir-fried spinach and tomato salsa.  The tomato salsa was a lively collection of flavors.  Included with the Lunch Special is a nice Cup of Tofu Coconut Soup that is available as dine in only. 

Macadamia Trout
Tofu Coconut Soup
I chose the Cashew Nut Chicken which is also available with Tofu, Pork Loin, Lean Beef, or Mix Veggie for $10.  It was so good and served with a side of sticky rice.  

Cashew Nut Chicken

Surin of Thailand features a Sushi Bar but we don't do sushi! 

Nice interior....well executed. 

We loved Surin and will be back very soon.  There are just too many other things to sample...and that could keep us busy for quite some time.

Surin of Thailand on Urbanspoon