Tag Archives: Restaurant Review

Bohemian Brewery & Grill: Sprechen ze Good Food?

If it were to be judged solely on the service, then Bohemian Brewery & Grill would earn a “Two Thumbs Up” and a Gold Star, too. Add food to the equation, and I doubt the score would change.

Within seconds of walking into the Bohemian for the first time, I was greeted with a smile, taken to a seat, and informed, quite pleasantly, that nothing I ate today had been bottled, canned or packaged. It was all fresh.

“The only way you get better German food,” he said, “is if you buy a plane ticket.” Presumably, that ticket would need to land in Berlin.

After eating, I had to agree. The food was great.

I ordered a brat sandwich with a side of potato pancakes (no, don’t ask me how potato pancakes qualify as a “side dish.” I shared them, effectively halving my calorie intake for the meal to about the average for three normal people…and I am normal people). The sandwich was a sliced brat drowning in swiss cheese and sweet tasting sauerkraut on parmesan bread.

It was a delicious combination and a cornucopia of flavor. I’ve eaten a few brats in my day. This one had more than a hint of fennel and when the contrast of the slightly salty parmesan bread was added to the equation, made for a delicious, if messy, meal.

Accompanying the sandwich were garlic fries. When I say “garlic,” I mean that the fries were literally flavored with fresh garlic. It was delicious, only adding to the palate of diverse flavors coming out of this meal. The only complaint I have was that as good as the fries were on the outset, and as hot as they were, as time passed they became soggy. Not too unexpected, but still, there it is.

The potato pancakes were passably good. Crisp and fried on the outside and just thick enough to leave a soft mushy texture on the inside.

I’ll let you do the math on the calorie content of the meal. Regardless, it was enjoyable, and worthy of at least skipping a couple meals to compensate.

Service: 9/10
Atmosphere: 7/10 (because the t.v.s were large and everywhere…distracting)
Food: 7/10
Parking: 7/10
Eat-ability Quotient (an average of scores):  7.5/10

Check out my other restaurant reviews here. If you have a restaurant you’d like me to try out, please contact me by sending an email to SLCWeekendReviews@gmail.com.

Bohemian Brewery & Grill on Urbanspoon

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Rio Grande Cafe: The Right Place for Lunch

It is hard for me to criticize the Rio Grande Cafe. The place has great food, great atmosphere, and generally good service. It has become my “go to” when nothing else will fit the bill for lunch.

During my most recent trip over to Rio Grande, we arrived a little after the noon hour, and we expected a crowd at just about anywhere we stopped to eat. You can imagine our pleasant surprise, then, when despite the crowd (and there was one), we were greeted with a smile, seated immediately, and quickly offered drinks and menus.

I’m a fan of almost all foods Mexican (it’s the beans and rice, see), so rather than parse through the options, I took the daily special. I was treated to a combo of a tamales and an enchilada swimming in refried beans and rice, sided by lettuce and tomatoes. Both were delicious, more than I expected, and my plate was cleared before I had time to notice.

Next time you’re down town, check it out. It’s great for families, for a lunch time tête-à-tête, or groups. A patio shaded by trees makes it nice during the summer, as well.

Rio Grande Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ali Baba: it’s your fault if you leave hungry

Ali Baba shares a parking lot with a gas station across the street from a Salt Lake County Parks and Rec golf course. If you didn’t know it was there, I wonder if you’d notice it. I know I wouldn’t have. I’ve driven by dozens of times, even fueled up at the gas station, and I’ve never noticed it.

“There used to be a 5 Buck Pizza here,” the woman behind the counter told us when I asked.  “But we’ve been here for more than a year.”

To read the reviews on Urban Spoon, it has been a successful “more than year.” It has developed a following of devotees who love Ali Baba’s food:

“I’ve tried almost all of the Pakistani/Indian food in the valley and this is probably the BEST!”

“I have been visiting this place almost daily. The food is Delicious and filling.”

“Highly recommended!” and

“All in all, i can see myself coming back here repeatedly.”

Yeah. Lots of fans. So I decided to take a trip over to check it out. My conclusion? It’s not too bad.

To be sure, it is not the best Indian/Pakistani food in town; that award, in my book, still goes to the Bombay House or the Himalayan Kitchen (I have also heard that Royal India is fantastic, too, but I’ve not made it there, yet). But in it’s class–along with places like “Curry in a Hurry“–Ali Baba does rank well.

Unlike some of the more expensive Indian restaurants, Ali Baba has a spartan dining room, very utilitarian and simple. You wouldn’t know that the cuisine was Indian/Pakistani but for the menus. They could have served burgers or burritos for all the room indicated. However, it was clean and tidy, and so I have no complaints.

We arrived a little before the lunch crowd, and the smiling waitress/server took our order and brought it out after just a few minutes. Later, the cook, or owner? came out to ask us how we were enjoying the meal.  It was a nice detail, and I appreciated the thought.

As for the meal itself, I was pleasantly impressed with both the quantity and the quality. While nothing to write home about, The naan was light and savory, as well as in a portion larger than we could finish. We both ordered a curry chicken combo which, while light on the amount of chicken, compensated with plenty of lentils and a side dish of some type of potatoes and cabbage.

I like a spicier curry, and this curry was not very spicy. However, I suspect it was because it was toned down for my western palate. Even so, it was a tasty combination with the garlic naan.

Will I go back? Probably not unless I am in the neighborhood or have been playing golf across the street. It was good, but just not quite good enough to go out of the way to have over lunch.

Ali Baba on Urbanspoon

Himalayan Kitchen: a great find downtown

I think this must be one of the best places to eat near the Matheson Courthouse.  So I’m not sure how I’ve missed it before.

There was a time when I could eat Indian food and find it completely to my satisfaction, no questions asked. However, that time has passed. I’ve enjoyed the Bombay House cuisine for too long to not measure every other Indian themed restaurant by that yard stick.

The Himalayan Kitchen is no exception, and fortunately, they do a great job at measuring up to the standard. There are a few places on their menu that I found Bombay House far and away superior (such as the Naan), but, by and in large, I enjoyed aspects of the Himalayan Kitchen that Bombay House could never match.

For example: the buffet lunch. One thing I hate to do is wait, even if waiting is worth the while. Bombay House serves superior cuisine, just barely, but you’ve got to wait for it. At the Himalayan Kitchen, I loved being able to walk right up to a buffet table and serve my own Masala and Tandoori.

As if the food was not enough, the service was great, too. When I first arrived, I found myself parking in a metered spot but without any coins. I hurried into get some change to fill the meter, and I was offered a 1 hour token, for free, instead. Once I sat to eat, my glass was never empty, and the waiter was quick to take away my plate.

The atmosphere was great, too. Although the restaurant was busy, it was quiet, and I enjoyed the soft lighting, as well as the spacious benches.

It wasn’t the Bombay House, but it’s close enough. If I’m downtown again soon, I’m going back to the Himalayan Kitchen.
Himalayan Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Quick, but not fast food: Chipotle

Chances are, if we’ve had lunch together more than a couple times, then one of those times has been at Chipotle.  I’m a sucker for stuff wrapped in a tortilla, especially when that stuff has a good bit of rice, black beans, steak or chicken, pico de gallo, lettuce, and cheese. It’s fresh, it’s fast, hasn’t been sitting on a heating wrack, and never fails to fill me. It’s one of my favorite places for a quick, and filling, bite.

If you’re going to Sugar House, the parking is in the back, unless you are lucky enough to slip into one of the two street parking spaces in the front.  If not, just turn north on the street just west of Chipotle off of 2100 S. then park in the lot behind the bank there.

The location also features outdoor seating, covered, and with heating in case you want to eat out, even when it’s cold.

Check out locations near you. Don’t forget to get the black beans!

Chipotle Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon