This is the first of a few reviews I will post about the food I consumed (in voluptuous quantities) over the holidays. After some deliberation (I’m indecisive when it comes to unknown restaurants) we decided to go to Black Sheep Pizza. This pizzeria has two outlets: one in St Paul and one in Minneapolis. The store in Minneapolis is located in the Warehouse District, and the decor reflects this. The dining area was rather spartan, though the unique tables spice things up. You see, their tables have a sheep on them, and all but one have red spot. This table is the titular black sheep:
But, of course, the meat of the matter (if you’ll excuse the pun) is the food. And boy, is it good! The five of us managed to go through five 12-inch pizzas. That’s almost 4 square feet (more than a third of a square meter) of pizza in total! Black Sheep pizza advertises coal-fired pizza: according to the helpful waiters, this authentically American invention allows for much higher temperatures – up to 1200° F (650° C) on the top of the oven – which leads to crunchy, delicious pizza in three minutes. But all this would not have meant anything were it not for key ingredients: here, the fresh Wisconsin mozzarella was in a Goldilockas zone: it was just stringy enough and yet swallow-able, while it was still delicious. The sauce was its equal: just sweet enough and just the right consistency. And the crust, as expected, was thin and crunchy – but not overly so, if that’s possible. Sounds good? It is.
First of all, I sincerely apologize for not writing anything for a while.
So, once again we return to Dubai Mall. As an aside, we went up the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world): an experience that was frankly disappointing. But enough about that. A few meters away is the Noodle House, an international chain that I find lives up to the stellar reputation it has garnered. The first thing that impressed us was the service. Although the restaurant was packed (at 3 pm), the manager somehow found time to attend to us personally, giving us suggestions and conjuring a friendly atmosphere. The decor is impeccable (or at least to the greatest extent possible in a mall), though the real stand-out is the open kitchen: to borrow a hackneyed phrase, it excites young and old alike. But enough about that – the most important part is the food. The fare is very good overall, with a few dishes that blow your socks off they’re so good. One of these is the signature starter, wasabi prawns. These (thankfully deshelled) prawns are dipped in a delicious sauce that is slightly sweet, sour, and wasabi. It’s a common urban legend (which may be true) that wasabi is its own flavor, and this dish surely backs it up. The flavors commingle and swirl into a wonderful phantasmagoria of flavors and texture. I could eat the worst cooked Brussel Sprouts if they were dipped in this sauce. The mains are very good, and I must say that they are happy to comply with any requests you may have. The other standout dish must be the mango mousse, served with wonderful vanilla ice cream. I was informed that this includes coconut milk, a faint intimation of which perfectly complements the fresh mango and I’m sure contributes to the creamy empyrean this dish conjures. I’m sure I could wax lyrical over this dessert for ages, but I’ll just leave it there for now. Overall, commended (would be highly commended were it not for the sometimes steep prices)
Yesterday we went to Dubai Mall next to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It has over 1200 shops to choose from (or so the marketing team boasts), but today I had a singular purpose: food. You see, I had just spent an entire morning exhausting myself at a swim meet (photos – maybe – forthcoming), and I was starving. The food court there is gigantic. The usual suspects are all present – Burger King, McDonald’s, even Charley’s Grilled Subs, but there are more interesting restaurants as well. Today I went to a restaurant that we’ve visited several times – Lemongrass Express. Great food, overall. This is a special deal they offer – a main, drink, skewer, and a spring roll for AED 37 (about $10). I opted for an additional Tom Yum Soup, which will set you back a whopping AED 14. This turned out to be a mistake, as I could not finish it, especially as it was a touch too spicy. The main was slightly spicy, but not enough so that the other flavors are overpowered. The tender chicken breasts were lightly basted with a slightly sweet and utterly finger-licking good cashew sauce. The rice was good, but the most interesting items were the starters. The spring rolls were great: they were crisp on the outside, and when that flaky crust crunches flavor bursts into your mouth. It was hot, full of fresh vegetables, and most importantly not greasy. The skewers had very distinct and memorable flavors: they were delicious and not something you would find every day. One of them was a chicken in a tofu crust (sounds disgusting, doesn’t it?) while the other was prawn and chicken blended with coriander and spices, all lightly battered and fried. Although they were not the most appealing items on the outset, they actually tasted pretty good. Overall, it offers very good food in large portions at great prices. Have I got you salivating yet?
P.S. I’d love to hear from my readers – how do you like my reviews? Have you had any experiences with these restaurants?
This time I ate BiteRite’s butter chicken. I must say that they are actually quite friendly – when I asked for extra chicken they obliged. The sauce is well-spiced, though it needs more cream. The only thing that rather lets it down is the rice, which is rather soggy and overcooked. Overall, however, it is well worth 10 Dhs.
On another note, I want to eat really good food, which there is a dearth of here in Abu Dhabi, especially at reasonable prices. Therefore, I want suggestions: what do you think is the best restaurant in Abu Dhabi?
P.S. Check out some photos of a kayaking trip from my photoblog, Mainly Photos.
I’ve been asked by some of my readers (I’m amazed there are any) to actually say something good about a restaurant. So here goes: I’ll wax lyrical about the burger I ate. At Jones the Grocer, they sure make good burgers: they comprehend the essential ingredients of this sandwich. Their buns are slightly crunchy on the outside but nice and soft on the inside (remind you of a friend?) The patty was well-cooked. Unlike in certain other restaurants, when I asked them to cook it medium, that is exactly what they did. And what a patty it was! It was bursting with flavor, fresh off the griddle and very tender (that’s what happens when you use Wagyu beef). But what really sets it off is the delicious sauce. This mayonnaise-ey white dressing has all the contrasts that delight the tastebuds – sweet, slightly sour, and with a miniscule intimation of spiciness. The cheese is there mostly for texture – it doesn’t provide much in the way of flavor. That is the same with the lettuce: rather limp, it is the only let-down. Their other great accomplishment are the fries. They are wonderfully crispy, flavorsome, and fresh (something that is partly a result of the olive oil they use). And the sauce that complements it is, above all, unique: it is a tomato paste with a kick at the end. Essentially, ketchup with a twist. All in all, Jones the Grocer never fails to deliver great food in a, let’s face it, rather bourgeois setting. I highly recommend this.