Restaurant review Essay

Bianca’s Pizza and Pasta

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Visit date: 11/16/2008

            Bianca’s Pizza and Pasta was a small but quaint Italian Restaurant located in Tallahassee, Florida. I went there one time while visiting friends.  The first thing I recognized was the Americanized design of the restaurant. There were small steel chairs surrounding flimsy plastic tables, right next to a small liquor bar. It looked more like a diner, despite the fact that the menu was very extensive with a large array of Italian dishes.  Bianca’s had 16 different types of pasta, pizza, tiramisu, stuffed mushrooms, and a homemade house Italian dressing.  Despite how authentically Italian the menu was, I was lucky enough to meet the owner of the restaurant and surprised to find that he was Turkish; I was equally surprised by the fact that the staff was predominantly Mexican and Portuguese.  In 2007, Bianca’s won the Tally award for having the best pizza and pasta. If anything the nationality of the staff combined with the Americanized décor of the room makes a statement about how America’s cultural melting pot has shaped the identity of what we consider to be ethnic foods.

Bongo’s Cuban Café

Location: 601 Biscayne Blvd,

                 Miami, FL 33132

Date of visit: 11/17/2008

            While in Florida, I decided to go to an authentic Cuban Restaurant, so I went to Bongo’s Cuban Café in Miami.  This place wasn’t Americanized at all. Everyone spoke Spanish, even some of the road signs leading to the place were in Spanish and there were Spanish menus. The design of the place’s interior was also very impressive. It was colorful, and on the walls there were picture of people dancing, there was music playing and it seemed as though they were dancing to it.  I ordered the Arroz con Pollo, which I enjoyed because I like Valencia rice, the rice used in Paella.  I found the fact that the Café had such an intense undeniable cultural ambiance to very ironic compared to restaurants like Bianca’s.  The Café was a little larger than a typical diner like a Waffle house, but it felt authentically Cuban, which made the food that much more enjoyable.

Siam Gourmet Thai Restaurant

Location: 10480 SW 72nd St

               Miami, FL 33173

 Visit Date:  11/18/2008

                Also while in Florida, I went to Siam Gourmet Thai Restaurant in Miami.  It has one of the most extensive selections of Thai food dishes I have ever seen.  At the same time the vibe of the restaurant was very humble and home like.  The Restaurant is run by a couple. The husband serves the food while the wife prepares it.  The building was small, and I noticed that most of the other customers seemed privileged to be there as though they were in on one of Miami’s best kept secrets.  I had the Boo Jah. It was a crab cake dish with pork, and garlic.  It came with cooked peppers, and a spicy sauce called Sri Rachaa sauce.  I enjoyed the dish and I also enjoyed the appetizers, but they were not served as appetizers ; along with the dinner were dishes like Som tam (a grated salad with papaya and salted black crab, peanuts and dried shrimp), and an order of Gai yang (marinated grilled chicken).  These dishes that came along and complimented the main dinner were shared among the group.  One thing I did notice was that the majority of the food we ordered was very spicy and while I preferred the texture of the noodles, which were not too chewy but also not brittle and mushy, the intense spiciness of the food did not agree with me.

En Japanese Brasserie

Location: 435 Hudson St,

              New York, NY 10014

            En Japanese Brasserie is a Japanese restaurant located in New York. I went because I heard it was one of the best Japanese restaurants in New York.  During the summer they have a 3 course for 35$ deal, which was very impressive considering that the restaurant markets itself as providing the authentic Japanese experience.  I had the Washugyu Sumibi-Yaki, charcoal grilled Kobe-style rib eye.  The plates were small and the food was prepared in front of me.  While the food was prepared I ate some Salmon Aburi sushi.  The seating was arranged so that everyone was sitting around the chef as he prepared the food.  There was also a Kimchi and a Sake tasting that I did not participate in but it seemed very popular amongst the guests.  My favorite part of the visit was when the chef preparing the food made an onion volcano and put oil in the onions to make flames shoot out of them. This was a crowd favorite with the guests aswell.
Turkish Kitchen
Also while in New York, after going to an Italian restaurant that was run by a man from Turkey, I was able to go to an authentic Turkish restaurant and enjoy some Middle Eastern food.  I went to the Turkish Kitchen and ordered some lamb Kebobs and calamari. While I waited for them to be prepared, I scoped out the surroundings and was pleased to find that the decor of the place was very exotic. The majority of the visitors were casually dressed, but some were in business attire, and music played constantly in the background.  Most of the dishes on the menu seemed to me to be more a fusion of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.  There were a lot of dishes with eggplant, onions, lentils, nuts and lamb.  I noticed there were a lot of dishes on the menu that used meat and yogurt together, which I didn’t find too appealing, so avoided trying it.  The restaurant itself had less a smell of curry and more a smell of cumin, and for some reason I expected there to be a lot of curry used in the food.  I think the most enjoyable part of my trip to the Turkish Kitchen was meeting the owner and finding out that he was actually Turkish.
Churrascaria Plataforma

Location: 316 W. 49th St., New York, NY 10019

Nr, Eighth Ave.

            Churrascaria Plataforma is a Brazilian buffet, also known as a rodizio. These restaurants have grown in popularity in many major cities. This particular restaurant was located in New York City.  I can honestly say going to this restaurant was more than just a night eating dinner, but an experience, and this isn’t the traditional Buffet.  A lunch or dinner at this particular rodizio can range anywhere from 35$ to 50$ a night, but it’s worth it.  You are greeted at the door and prompted to check your coat.  When you sit down you are given a plate to go to the buffet line and a coaster with red on one side and green on the other. When you go to the buffet line everything from sushi, salmon and snow crab to chicken-salad, pasta, and steamed vegetables.  The unforgettable part, what makes it an experience, is that when you take the coaster that was placed on your table over on the green side waiters come and serve you cuts of meat. They serve everything from rack of lamb to sirloin steak to rabbit meat and they continue to serve it until you flip the coaster over to the red side.