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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Palermo Ristorante Italiano

Palermo Ristorante Italiano
1858 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles

Palermo is between two restaurants that have been reviewed by The New Diner 2; Fred's 62 and House of Pies. Actually, after eating at Fred's 62, I dropped into Palermo to get a to go menu.  The very nice lady gave me a menu and insisted I have a slice of their pizza, on the house!  I thought that sample piece was amazing!  The sauce was perfectly balanced;not too sweet or tangy, the cheese was very good and the crust outstanding.  So I was really looking to coming back and ordering a pizza.

Palermo is a huge restaurant that has been in Los Feliz for a very long time.  They even have their own parking lot! 

I got the medium sausage pizza; $14.20, and it was a disappointment.  The sauce was the same sauce, but they didn't put as much as the sample slice.  The cheese and crumbed sausage was fine but, the crust was blah-nothing like the sample slice.  I thought this was below average pizza.

Service was outstanding.  The people at Palmero, from the managers to the workers, are very well trained in customer service.  You are greeted when you walk in.  You are treated like you're family.  They are very nice to every customer.

While I found the pizza a disappointment, maybe I'll have to order that sample pizza, I'll go back to Palermo and try their pastas or salads.  Maybe The New Diner 2 readers can tell me what kind of pizza that sample slice was. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Horse Thief BBQ

Horse Thief BBQ
324 S Hill St
Los Angeles

Just as I was disappointed to find Corner BBQ in Glendale, was a kebobs restaurant, I go to Grand Central Market to find a real BBQ restaurant next door!  Horse Theif BBQ opened on July 4, 2013 and had a steady stream of customers when I went for lunch on a sunny Sunday.

Located outside Grand Central Market and right below Angel's Flight, Horse Thief BBQ is a Texas BBQ restaurant.  It's very casual- they serve your food on a tray lined with butcher block paper!  Yes, that mean no plates, paper or otherwise.  There is only outdoor seating on picnic tables.

Half rack of spare ribs, $13.  I think these ribs were smoked with red oak.  They were a bit dry, as if they had been leftover from yesterday or sitting too long in the warmer.  The meat was tender but the bark was just off, too much chili power.   The BBQ sauce is a tomato based sauce and also has too much chili powder.

Service is good.  The lady who took my order was very nice and friendly.  One thing, they leave out bottles of BBQ sauce at the pick up window, along with small containers to put the BBQ sauce in.  Too bad people take the damn bottle and leave no sauce at the pick up window.  Maybe they need to put in a pump bottle instead of the squeeze bottles. 

I wasn't too impressed with the ribs here.  I know this is a Texas BBQ, so you gotta order the brisket, but I'm not a brisket fan!  But, the people around me who ordered the brisket really liked it.  So I may come back for the brisket.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Corner BBQ-Closed

Corner BBQ
3740 San Fernando Rd

When I first passed by Corner BBQ, I was surprised to see a BBQ restaurant open in Glendale.  When I walked up to Corner BBQ, I saw their picture menu and saw kebobs!  I'll admit I was a bit disappointed because I wanted BBQ.  But, I like kebobs and figured I was already there and figured I should give them a try.

Corner BBQ is a more casual, counter service restaurant.  They are comparable to Mediterranean Delight  or Kebab Way, two other casual, counter service kebobs restaurants that I've reviewed.  It's a fairly small location with a few tables inside and about four outside.  It's a west facing restaurant, so if you go in the summer during the later afternoon, it is hot and the sun is just beating down on you.

Chicken breast, $8.99, with salad and pita bread.  The rice is just plain white rice, no seasoning, nothing.  The chicken breast was a bit dry and chewy.  I wasn't impressed.  The portion size is generous for the price.

The salad was great!  Fresh veggies topped by a tangy white dressing.  I also loved their garlic sauce, which was heavy on the garlic, which is fine with me!

Falafel- 99 cents each.  A very interesting shaped falafel, more like a veggie patty than any falafel I've had.  I also saw him pan fry the falafel and not deep fried like I've seen most restaurant do.  But, a wonderful crust and flavor.  A bit spicy but not overpowering.  The quality of the falafel combined with the generous amount, makes this a steal!!

Service was good.  I assume the man who took my order is the owner and he was very nice and friendly.

I don't think I'll be coming back for the kebobs at Corner BBQ.  But, this maybe the best falafel I've had.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fred's 62

Fred's 62
1850 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles

Hello Mc Fly anybody home?  No, Doc Brown didn't turn another DeLorean into a time machine and take Marty back to Lou's Cafe.  But, if you go to Fred's 62 in Los Feliz, you may feel as though you went back to the future!  A really neat old school diner that has been open since, for you slow Cal St. Long Beach graduates, 1962!!  Set on Vermont, just south of the House of Pies, Fred's 62 really does feel like you're going back in time.

Fish and chips, $11.77.  Four pieces of cod in a Guinness batter, fries, cole slaw, and a small salad.  At first look, I thought the batter would be too thick, but the batter was very light and crunchy.  The dark color has to be from the Guinness beer.  The fish was fresh and tasty.  The portion size was very generous.  The fries were average served luke warm.

Service was slightly below average.  The server was nice and friendly, but didn't refill drinks too often and wasn't around that often.  There was another server inside the restaurant and about three other tables outside, where I was sitting.  So, it wasn't like she was so busy, so didn't have time.

I was surprised at the quality of the fish here and would certainly go back, despite the below average service.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ribs To Spare

Ribs To Spare
506 N Citrus Ave

Just a block south of Nick's Taste of Texas is a fairly new BBQ place, Ribs to Spare.  I'm surprised Nick's Taste of Texas is still open, because the BBQ at Nick's isn't good.  Anyways, Ribs to Spare opened in November 2012 and seems to be doing a steady business.  Ribs to Spare has a very small dining area, about three tables, so get your food to go. 

Side order of beef ribs, $12.50.  Three ribs come in an order. Maybe the best beef ribs I've ever had.  Very meaty, pretty tender, well smoked-with white oak, and well seasoned!!  The sauce is a mild tomato based sauce that they only use for the beef ribs. 

Side order of pork ribs, $6.   Three ribs come in an order.  As great as the beef ribs were, the pork ribs were mediocre at best.  First they were reheated in the microwave, which isn't the way to go.  They had decent flavor and tenderness, but there was nothing outstanding about it.

Service was pretty good.  The first lady who took my order was clearly new, because she didn't know how to ring up my order.  But, she got help from the other lady-who is the owner or wife of the owner, and they got the order correct.  It took awhile to get the food, the great beef ribs made it worthwhile.

I would go back to Ribs to Spare only for the beef ribs.  They were wonderful, among the best I've ever had!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Villaggio Pizzeria-Closed

Villaggio Pizzeria
3210 Chino Ave
Chino Hills

A friend had a groupon for Villaggio Pizzeria and I decided it was her turn to pay for a meal, so we used her groupon here.  Located in a strip center, behind Buffalo Wild Wings, Villaggio Pizzeria is a nice good sized pizza parlor.  There are about six flat screen TV's, so if you're a sports fan this is a good place to go.  It was slow when we went for lunch, there was only one other customer during the hour or so we were there.

If this location looks familiar to The New Diner or The New Diner 2 readers, it should, this used to be Bad Bob's BBQ, which closed a few months after I wrote my review.  

Medium, The Village Works, $16.15- Pepperoni, sausage, Canadian Bacon, Mushrooms, onions, olives and green peppers-which they put only on her half of the piza, and extra cheese.

The first thing you notice about this pizza is the amount of toppings, which is very generous!!  They do not cheat you on toppings.  This pizza was very heavy and the weight wasn't just the dough.  The toppings were fine, but the sausage was pretty bland.  But, there was barely any sauce and it made for both a dry and bland pizza.  The crust held up really well, it was a thicker crispy crust and it was fantastic.  I wish other pizza places had this crust. 

Service was good.  The young lady was nice and friendly.

I know some people are going to say, you're paying for the large amount of toppings; and while that is true, I have no problem paying for good quality toppings.  While the toppings at Villaggio Pizzeria aren't gourmet, they are better than the chain pizza places, and they do pile them high!  I think overall the pizza is a good value, I just wish they would put more sauce on the pizza.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Osaka Seafood Buffet-Closed

Osaka Seafood Buffet
200 S State College Blvd
Brea, CA 92821

Osaka Seafood Buffet took over what used to be Bobby McGee's restaurant and night club.  Where will the 21 year old now go since Bobby's has closed.  They also took over West Coast Seafood Buffet in Hacienda Heights.  It's amazing as I look back on type of restaurants I have reviewed on The New Diner or The New Diner 2.  When I first started The New Diner, I reviewed a lot of Chinese buffets-many of which are no longer in business.  Now I prefer quality food over the buffets.  Though, I'm not opposed to going to buffets.

The seafood buffets costs $18.99 on weekends and includes lobster claws and Lobster Thermidor.  

Sushi-Crab meat, tuna, shrimp, and yellowtail.  All the sushi was ok.  Not the top quality sushi or even the freshest, but good for buffet.

Spicy tuna hand roll.  This was just ok.  The spicy tuna was a bit mushy, either it wasn't fresh or had been sitting on the buffet table for too long.

Sauteed mushrooms- very well cooked with some onions and soy sauce.  Nice earthy flavor.

Green beens- sauteed and welled cooked, not greasy.

Grill sea bass- this was just ok.  The bass was a bit overcooked and chewy.

Garlic shrimp- This was amazing.  Lots of garlic flavor  with red and green peppers added.  The shrimp was well cooked, pretty fresh.  I would get a to go order for just this garlic shrimp!

Snow crab legs- served warm and fresh.  Good amount of meat and not too salty.

Lobster claws-a bit tough and chewy, but I'm not expecting top quality lobster at a buffet.

Fried noodles- pretty basic fried noodles cooked with soy sauce and a small amount of veggies.

Shrimp cocktail- chilled and good tasting.  Cocktail sauce needed more kick.

Lobster Thermidor- I didn't eat the cheese part, but the lobster itself was chewy and not that fresh.

Service is good.  The plates were taken away promptly and refills were always coming.

Overall, a pretty good seafood buffet and worth the price if you eat a lot.  Somethings I would stay away from like the sushi, but the garlic shrimp is amazing!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rancho To Go BBQ

Rancho To Go BBQ
665 N Tustin St
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 502-4053

Just a little north of Arthur's Resturant, is Rancho To Go BBQ.  The owner won some BBQ competitions and has two trucks and also runs this restaurant.  The restaurant is located in a medium sized strip mall, and is set off the street so, it is easy to miss.  They are only opened Wed-Sat and ribs are not served until about 4pm.

Half rack of St. Louis spare ribs, $11.95.  The first thing I noticed was the very salty rub, maybe the most salty ribs I've ever had.  There was good smoke flavor, but I can tell these ribs were "leftover" from the day before.  It wasn't "fresh," smoked ribs from that day.  The ribs were also too tender,  there needs to be some chewiness and this was just way too tender.  Maybe he has to cater to the idiots who live in OC, who wouldn't know real BBQ if it hit them in the face.  But, fall off the bone is not a good thing when it comes to real BBQ ribs.  The ribs were smoked with white oak and should have been taken off the BBQ about 30 minutes earlier.

Service is good.  The owner is nice and friendly. 

I was looking forward to trying the BBQ at Rancho To Go, but I was disappointed in the BBQ.  The owner is very friendly and I wish him well.  While I haven't been there in a long time, the two best places for real BBQ ribs in Orange County is Blake's Place in Anaheim and BBQ Bistro in Huntington Beach.