December 31, 2009

China Best

As I mentioned in the Dave's Famous BBQ post, I asked my daughter what she wanted this week and the other was to eat sushi. She's never had sushi, though she thinks that California rolls are sushi, which they are not.

Not ever having real sushi, I thought it best to take her somewhere that serves a variety of food choices including several different kinds of sushi and some Chinese food. This led me to China Best in the St. Thomas Shopping Plaza in Owings Mills.

China Best has an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, which in sushi world means crap sushi. It's not really crap, but it's not super great either. There were about 15-20 different kinds of sushi to choose, including several salmon, tuna, and white fish. There was one trey of shrimp sushi and one with octopus. However, about half of the choices were either shredded fake crab meat or whole fake crab meat. Most of the rolls included cream cheese or avocado. One tray had some hot melted sauce on top. I'm not sure what it was, but it was tangy, like a Thousand Island dressing, but at the same time slightly salty like a cheese.

My biggest complaint about the sushi is the size. These rolls are huge. I have a difficult time getting them in my mouth. My daughter didn't even try to get them in her mouth. She had to cut them in half. I've had sushi at several other restaurants and they are always smaller. But for some reason China Best seems to think they need to be the size of McDonald's hamburgers.

In addition to the sushi, we also had a cup of Hot and Sour soup. It wasn't too bad. I've had it before at China Best and it tasted like ass, meaning it was probably from the bottom of the 5-day old pot and slightly watered down. However, this time it was plenty hot and contained generous portions of mushrooms and tofu.

We finished the meal with our orange-flavored fortune cookie. Mine read, "Help, I'm being held captive in a fortune cookie factory."

The decor of the restaurant is old. I don't think it's been updated in 20 years. Maybe 30 years. It's very dark. The buffet is about $8 per person. Since it is close to work, we use China Best as the 'I'm hungry and want a ton of sushi' choice. On the other hand, if we want quality sushi, we will go to either Edo Sushi or Yuki sushi.

My daughter liked the sushi, so the next time we will try one of the other places.

December 29, 2009

Dave's Famous BBQ

With my kids off from work this week, I decided to take off. When asked what they want to do, my daughter said that she wanted to go to Famous Dave's restaurant. So there we went.

Located in Owings Mills near the Best Buy and a host of other restaurants like Qdoba, Noodles & Company, Tahinas, and Chick-fil-A, Famous Dave's serves a wide variety of meat. Non-meat - not so much.

Adorned with the southern BBQ pit motif, there are paper towel racks on the table along with a half dozen bottles of assorted barbecue sauces.

My daughter and I both chose the lunch combo platter. Our choices were St. Louis style ribs, BBQ chicken, sweet water catfish, Texas beef brisket, Georgia chopped pork, hot link sausage, and rib tips. I chose the Georgia chopped pork and the rib tips and my daughter got the St. Louis style ribs and Texas beef brisket. Each meal comes with a freshly baked cornbread muffin, a half ear of corn, and a sides. My daughter chose french fries and I chose spicy Wilbur beans.

Additionally we got an appetizer of sweet water catfish. For drinks I got iced tea and my daughter got root beer. I couldn't be drinking as we were going bowling afterward and who can bowl a good game after a brew?

After we ordered my daughter slyly asked, "What's better than ribs?" "Nothing!" I proudly retorted. "Wrong!", she exclaimed. "More ribs!"

The appetizer was quickly brought to the table with the drinks as if they knew we were going to order them. And they were GOOD. Hot, spicy, and good. And did I mention good?

Not long after that the main meal arrived. Served on a large round platter-sized plate, it was stacked high. The meat sat on a soggy piece of toast and my beans in a side dish. The corn was mushy, but sweet. The beans tasty, but still beans. Both of my meats were juicy and sticky and hot. My daughter loved hers.

Meanwhile, the waitress was very attractive. Why would I mention this? Because I said that she would be even prettier if she smiled now and then. My daughter then said that she wouldn't smile if she worked there because it would be torture to serve all that food and not be able to eat it.

Half way through the meal it was like an episode of Man Vs. Food. We hit that proverbial wall. We could eat no more. Our finely tanned waitress brought us a to-go box. And man did we stuff that thing with a lot of food. We probably should have had two boxes. And let me tell you it was just as good on the second day, if not better.

All in all, a good meal. Famous Dave's is not a place for vegetarians and I would have to say that the only non-vegetarian option is the Classic Caesar Salad. And that's not vegan.

So if you're in Owings Mills, check out Famous Dave's. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

April 9, 2009

Nino Taco

I love me some good Mexican food. Or is it Texican? It really doesn't matter to me.

Recently, a couple friends of mine and I went to the Nino Taco in Owings Mills for lunch. The restaurant is located in a stripmall near Stephenson University Owings Mills campus, just off of Owings Mills Boulevard. Also in the same center are Bonefish and Outback Steakhouse.

The restaurant is a bit small. If you arrive late (post-noon) or any time on a Friday, you will have a hard time finding a seat. There are probably only about 30 seats in the entire restaurant.

The d├ęcor is Tex-Americana. There are colorful Spanish tiles and posters of Ravens players.

The menu is limited and printed on a laminated placemat. There are several meal deals, but nothing fancy. You can get meals like tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and enchiladas. Nothing fancy.

I ordered the chicken fajita quesadillas and a diet drink. One of my friends ordered a diet drink, the 3 tacos, no cheese, and an order of nachos with cheese. Yeah, don't ask. My other friend ordered the burrito, with a side of refried beans and a diet drink. Yes, we're all in our mid-to-late 30's and we think we are fat. We need to get ready for bathing suit weather. Who am I kidding? We're all married and our wives are stuck with us, but I digress.

There were 2 servers working the whole restaurant and perhaps 2 working in the kitchen. Needless to say they were all very busy, especially when you factor in the take-out counter. The drinks were promptly served. The meal took about as long as you would expect during a lunch rush, not extremely quick, but not long enough to get me upset.

The meal is served a-la-picnic style - paper plates and plastic utensils. My meal was hot. And BIG. The quesadillas were fat with chicken and tons of cheese, which I love, and were served with a side of salsa. Too hot to eat with my hands, and perhaps a bit too messy, I cut it up with my fancy plastic knife. The taste was incredible! So good. Just salty enough and the chicken was tender, not dry. The tortilla wrap was just crispy enough, but not to the point where it was flaking apart.

My friends enjoyed their meals, as well. One was eating there for the first time and he was thoroughly impressed. He said he would definitely come back again.

The only downfall of the experience was the time it took to get someone to refill our drinks. We only got one refill, which should be enough for a normal person, but no one ever said I was normal. I would have liked a third serving of the carbonated diet corn syrup. However, based on how quickly the 2 servers were moving, I cannot blame them for poor service. They were plenty busy. The restaurant could use a third server during the busy lunch period.

The fair is fairly priced, ranging about $6 - $15. I think the quesadillas were about $8, are great bargain. Our meal for 3 came to about $30.

I give Nino Taco high praise for their food and look forward to dining there again. Unfortunately they do not have a website, which means there is no online menu. That would be nice.