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Friday, May 30, 2014

Zakuro: Japanese, so-so

Lunch date #56: May 23, 2014

We had met to try Mama Rosa's by Trader Joes and were surprised to find it closed; as in closed-down, out-of-business. We were a bit short on time and looked around and spied Zakuro (6700 Santa Rita Road; www.zakurobistro.com) in the plaza and decided, well why not give it a try. Only problem: we really don't eat sushi, and mom didn't have her "pincher" chopstick cheaters with her!

Location 3 points: on the corner of the TJ's plaza facing Santa Rita. This location has changed hands numerous times…was a burger joint at one time.

Ambiance 3 points: really nothing special. Not even much in the way of Asian style décor. "Someone should tell them Christmas is over" said Mom noticing the Christmas-ornament balls attached to one wall hanging. Maybe there is something in Japanese art that uses Christmas-ornament balls that we don't know??

Menu 4 points: Lots of sushi (well, what did we expect?). Unfortunately, we were given a dinner menu at first and sad not to see an offering of our favorite bento box. When we commented on this to our server, she recognized the error and promptly brought us lunch menus, featuring bento boxes! Yay, something we can recognize. I ordered chicken teriyaki and a California roll (my sushi limit), while Mom went for the teri-chicken and the tempura veggies.

Service 2.5 points: Really not much attention. Our server actually brought our soup without spoons. When I pointed this out, she seemed to indicate that was obvious…but it took her quite a bit to get the spoons to us. The rest of the meal was served without incident.

Food 3 points: Everything was fine. Nothing great, nothing bad. The teriyaki chicken was tender enough, the California roll was good and Mom liked her tempura. Nothing outstanding to make us feel that we were in for a special treat.

Value 4 points: Bento boxes were large and we both took quite a bit home. Total price per box just under $10.

Overall score for Zakuro 3.25 points: Nothing special, but not bad. Perhaps if we knew sushi and tried more of the maki and nigiri, we would have a different opinion, but we really don’t. So, unlikely we would return, but we had a great time lunching together and chatting…which is all that really matters!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Corner Creperie: Questionable savory

Lunch date #55 April 25, 2014

We needed to grab a quick bite, and Uncle Gary was in town to join us. Thought we'd head to the new creperie in town—but Mom wasn't so sure at first. Never had a savory crepe, so time for another new experience, and we were off to The Corner Creperie (349 Main St.; next to Fontina's).

Location 5 points: Still love downtown P-town!

Ambiance 3 points: Open kitchen style so you can watch the crepe making. Very small place-only 5 tables inside, but more outside available. Mom commented about their "wall-of-clocks" and when I asked her what she thought about it, she replied: "Well, I guess it is OK if you like clocks." We counted 7 different clocks on the main wall.

Menu selection 3 points: A few different savory choices-and you can build your own. Seemed to be lacking in choices of sauces, although they did offer a béchamel. They also have a grand selection of sweet crepes (which I've heard are pretty good), but we didn't have time to sample those.

Service: not graded—offer at the counter and then go back to pick up your own plate.

Food 3 points: The crepes were OK, but too bland for my taste. I had a build-your-own with chicken, spinach, cheese and mushrooms. It was far to dry-I even asked the crepe-maker if he remembered the cheese. He replied that he uses a very fine planer-grater so you can't see the cheese. I couldn't see it or taste it, so I think more cheese was needed. Otherwise, it lacked flavor. Mom liked her ham and cheese choice OK and Uncle Gary had a "complete" with egg, ham and cheese. One good point: a decanter of water on the counter with fresh orange slices to serve-yourself a glass of water. I was disappointed, however, that the only non-herbal tea they offered was Earl Grey.

Value 3 points: Sort of a "fast-food" style place with serve yourself everything, and the crepes are served on square disposable plates. Not exactly fine dining—sort of a cross between a crepe stand and a coffee shop. The prices, however, are very good: $7.50 for my combo, Mom's ham and cheese only $6.

Overall score for The Corner Creperie: 3.4 points. Not a bad spot—and probably fun for dessert to get a sweet crepe. Not big fans of the savory, however…but might return and try a different combo and ask for extra cheese.