Off the Eaten Path

Exploring St. Louis, one meal at a time…

Tempura overload!

So I’m going to start this post off by saying that I’m obsessed with sushi. OBSESSED! I love it. However, at the same time, I’m a huge sushi snob. All-you-can-eat sushi spots? No thanks. Grocery store sushi? No ma’am. Sushi at a BUFFET? (Yes, it happens!) Hecky no!

But I’ll definitely snack on sushi from a reputable restaurant, as evidenced here and here. Mmm. I love it!

So when my mom and sister wanted to hit up Asia @ Lumiere Place in STL for some eats, I was down! Sushi heaven!

This trip was sort of interesting, because my mom and sister already had an idea of what they wanted me to try. I’ll try just about ANYTHING, so I’m a guinea pig of sorts, I suppose! Oh well…I love it. 🙂

We started out with grilled shrimp. The menu described it as ‘honey glazed shrimp skewered and glazed to perfection’. It was served with a sweet and tangy sauce.

Yes, it was just a delicious as it looked! So yummy and flavorful. Too bad I had to share and couldn’t eat it all myself. 🙂

Next, we (or should I say ‘I’?) had the tempura vegetables and the tempura soft shell crab. Tempura overload, anyone?

tempura veggies

tempura softshell crab

The veggies came with a thin soy sauce, and the crab came with a thicker, sweeter teriyaki sauce.  I was in love with the teriyaki sauce, but honestly, I don’t think tempura covered foods are my thing. I would rather just eat grilled or steamed vegetables. Tempura batter just adds unnecessary crunch (and calories!) that aren’t needed, in my opinion. What’s this? Stephanie likes the HEALTHIER option? Check this girl’s temperature!

The tempura soft shell crab suffered from the same tempura overload. It was just unnecessary. The crab wasn’t too tasty, either. I’m usually a big crab fan, but this tasted super fishy. Weird.

Time for the main courses! My sister was dying to try the Kumo sushi roll. It included soft shell crab, tempura shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, fried asparagus, and was topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce, and tobiko (flying fish roe). Sounds intense! And it looked intense:

Kumo Roll

Look at all of that yummy roe! I love the stuff.  The presentation was kind of cool, but we had to stare at it for a bit and decide exactly how we were going to conquer the thing. Finally my sister knocked the tower over, and we went to town.

So how did it taste? It was just ooookay. The entire thing was coated in tempura, so it was hard to distinguish the different components of the sushi, which was a little frustrating. It was also really hard to eat. The individual pieces of the roll were HUGE, and it was hard to fit the entire piece in my mouth (TWSS!). I tried biting it in half (which I NEVER do with sushi), and it ended up making a mess (which is why I never try to do that!). It was bad. I could only eat two pieces before I had had enough.

The others in the party had better luck with their food. My mom had plain fried rice, which was pretty good.

There was also beef and broccoli:

And general Tso’s shrimp:

I didn’t try either dish, but they looked tasty!

I did have a few complaints about Asia. First of all, they had a lot of popular Chinese and Japanese appetizers and such, but NO MISO SOUP. Oooh. That’s a huge strike. You have an entire sushi menu, and no miso soup? Bad.

Secondly, they don’t have a dessert menu. Nothing would have made me happier at the end of the meal than some mochi ice cream, and they didn’t have any! Double strike.

Enough complaining. Time for some scores!

Food: 2 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 3 stars

Service: 3 stars

Value: 3 stars

This time around the food wasn’t so great, but I would definitely give it another shot in the future! And no tempura this time. 🙂

June 20, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

So my last post about KFC was sort of lame, right? I know, I know…but I’m making up for previous transgressions by presenting you with my experience at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. Oh, it was EPIC.

My mom treated my sister and I to a dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse the night before mother’s day (what’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? Oops!). I was super super pumped, especially after looking at their online menu. I studied it and knew what I was going to order weeks in advance! 🙂

Anyway, Jeff Ruby’s. It’s in the River City Casino in South County, St. Louis.

First of all, the place was absolutely beautiful. The ambiance was amazing: the lighting was dim and romantic, and there were chandeliers everywhere! My heart was racing in anticipation.

I’m not going to waste any more time. Let’s get on to the food! Are you ready for lots of pictures?

We flipped through the wine menu first and settled on a dessert wine: Moscato. Dessert wine with dinner? Sounds like a great way to start the night if you ask me! I’m not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m not going to pretend to be. All I know is that I like sweet bubbly wines, and this one hit the spot!

guess who drank most of the bottle? *hiccup*

On to the food. We’ll start with appetizers. My mom wanted us to try a little bit of everything, so we ordered quite a few appetizers. We started with the HUGE tiger shrimp cocktail:

This picture doesn’t adequately show just how HUGE these shrimp were. They were gigantic! And the flavor was amazing. Definitely a nice start to the meal.

Oh, but we didn’t stop there. Next on the appetizer list? Pan roasted mussels. They were accompanied with a white wine, applewood smoked bacon,  taragon and lemon sauce. MMM. These were divine. The mussels had a nice, light taste. Not too bogged down with spices. Clean…just the way I like it.

I ate a few mussels before I took this picture! Oops!

Next I wanted to try an oyster on the half shell. I’ve never tried raw oysters before. What the heck…might as well try it now!

I topped it with some cocktail sauce and horseradish before I slurped it down. Not bad! I don’t know if I’d do this again, though. Not a huge fan of the texture of oysters, even though the flavor was crisp, clean, and amazing.

We also had bread. I believe it was Jewish Rye. Not too shabby. The butter was the star of the show for me! There was regular butter (BORING!), and then there was mushroom and truffle butter. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! It was yummy. I could eat that butter with a spoon. YUM.

look at that butter! Delish. Plain butter on the right, HEAVENLY mushroom and truffle butter on the left.

We noticed that they had sushi on the menu, and as a self-proclaimed sushi snob, I knew we had to try it. We went with the Dragon roll. I don’t remember exactly what was on it, but there was eel involved. And cucumber. And I think there was some crab in there somewhere. It was not bad at all! Quite delicious, actually. It gets the sushi stamp of approval from me!

Can you believe we still had room for our entrée after all of those appetizers? Well, we did. I went with the steak and lobster. 11 ounces of cold water lobster tail paired with 9 ounces of dry aged filet mignon? YES PLEASE! I had my steak topped with crab meat and béarnaise sauce, just because I was feeling a little fancy. 🙂

you can't have lobster without butter sauce!

The food was AMAZING. The pictures just don’t do it justice. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and it was amazingly tender. It melted in my mouth. The crab and bearnaise sauce were decadent and rich. The lobster was tender and so so SO juicy! I promise you that I will have dreams about this meal. It was cooked to perfection.

Of course I can’t hog the spotlight; my mom and sister’s entrees were fabulous as well:

Mom ordered the U.S.D.A. Prime Dry Aged New York Strip...14 ounces of meaty perfection!

my sister also ordered the steak and lobster. She topped her steak with peppercorn shrimp scampi.

Everything at Jeff Ruby’s is a la carte, so of course we had to order some sides to go with our meal.

We had baked macaroni and cheese:

baked macaroni and cheese

Potatoes Anna:

potatoes anna

Creamed Spinach:

creamed spinach

And grilled bacon (because who DOESN’T love bacon?!?!) :

grilled bacon!

Whew! So how was everything? The baked macaroni and cheese was tasty, although I admit that it looked better than it tasted. The Potatoes Anna were delicious! Think fried potatoes, minus all of the grease that weighs you down. They were delicious, and seasoned with the perfect amount of salt and spices.

The creamed spinach was, well…creamed spinach. Didn’t knock my socks off, but it was decent.

My favorite side by far was the BACON!! Who would have thought, right? It was delicious applewood smoked bacon, and it was thick, thick, THICK! Oh, it was perfection. Chewy, flavorful, salty, spicy…it had it all.

So after stuffing my face with appetizers, entrees, and sides, how in the world did I find room for dessert? Well, my friends…Stephanie ALWAYS makes room for dessert.

I went with the flourless chocolate torte. It was topped with sliced almonds and accompanied with house-made cherry sorbet.

Twas muy delicioso! It was rich and decadent (I’ve been using that phrase a lot throughout this review, haven’t I?) The raspberry sauce that was smeared on the plate was sweet and tart at the same time. The cherry sorbet was SO good, and went perfectly with this cake. It was just delightful. Perfect way to end the meal!

Or did I really end the meal there? Can I tell you a secret? I also had a piece of gooey butter cake and some amaretto ice cream to go with it. I’m so sad I didn’t take a picture, because this was the BEST gooey butter cake I’ve had IN. MY. LIFE. It was freaking fantastic!

So thus ends the journey of a thousand plates. Needless to say, we had plenty of leftovers. I’m munching on a piece of bacon right now. Nomnomnom. So good.

Service was very good. Our waiter was very attentive and friendly. No complaints there!

Ready for some scores?

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 4 stars

Jeff Ruby’s almost received a perfect score from me. However, one could have easily purchased an iPhone for what our meal cost us. However, good food is worth the money, so I’m giving it 4 stars for value anyway!

I can only hope to be so lucky to return to Jeff Ruby’s again someday. THANKS TO MY MOM FOR TREATING ME TO AN AMAZING MEAL!!

I will have sweet dreams tonight. And then I’ll be hitting the gym HARD tomorrow. Oy vey.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | food, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sushi sushi sushi!

Mmm…I love sushi. It’s too bad I live in a landlocked state like Missouri. I long for the day when I can move to the coast and have really fresh stuff.

Until then, I’ll settle with what we have here in St. Louis. Today I went to Kampai Sushi in the Central West End. I had heard so many things about their sushi and how lovely their fish was. Lovely, fresh fish? Count me in!

The place was very nice. No frills at all. Very simple. Very welcoming.

I walked in a little after they opened for dinner and was seated at the sushi bar. Yay! I was hoping for some fun interactions with the sushi chefs.  I was sorely disappointed. Maybe they were having a bad night. Not a single word was exchanged between us. Is this normal? I thought sushi chefs were supposed to be chatty and fun! I saw a tip jar sitting on the table, and it was full of single dollar bills. Well…how am I supposed to tip someone who won’t even talk to me?!? Psssh.

Luckily, they made up for their silence with some GREAT food.  I started with the complimentary miso soup and house salad.

you've seen one, you've seen them all...

I spy tofu!

The house salad was typical. Nothing to shout about. Tasty, but run of the mill. The miso soup was actually quite delicious. One of the more flavorful ones I’ve had in St. Louis. Very yummy broth that had just the right amount of saltiness. I could have used more tofu, but I’m never happy with the paltry amount that most restaurants give you in their soup. Oh well…it was free. Enough complaining, Stephanie!

For my meal, I ordered the Dynamite roll. It had cucumber and spicy tuna inside, with seared albacore tuna, ponzu sauce and scallion on top. I also ordered a few pieces of nigiri to round out my meal. Salmon, unagi, white tuna.

dynamite roll on top, unagi, white tuna, salmon nigiri on bottom

The Dynamite roll was, well….DYNAMITE. It was very tasty, and packed just the right amount of punch to my tastebuds. Very flavorful, and the fish was very fresh. I enjoyed the crunch of the cucumber in the roll. The albacore tuna on top of the roll melted in my mouth. It was very smooth. It’s hard to describe. But it was delicious.

Dynamite roll

This is what the roll looked like inside

The salmon, unagi, and white tuna nigiri were very good, too. The fish used was obviously quite fresh, and this stuff also melted in my mouth. It was like buttah, yall! BUTTAH!

delicious unagi!

yummy salmon and white tuna

Finally, to finish my meal, I had the red bean mochi. It was VERY good, although I’d prefer a different presentation. It was a little tricky trying to figure out how to eat it. They gave me a teeny tiny fork, which wasn’t of much use at all. It would have been easier if they would have cut the mochi in half to make it easier to eat. Ah well. It was VERY good mochi ice cream. And they have tons of flavors! Red bean, strawberry, banana, coffee, mango, etc. I’m probably missing a few.

red bean mochi ice cream

All in all, it was a great meal at Kampai. I left feeling very satisfied and not disgustingly full. Success!

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments