Sep 21

KoJa Kitchen – San Jose

1085 E Brokaw Rd #10

San Jose, CA 95131

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Located in a busy plaza conveniently across from a gym, KoJa Kitchen serves up Korean Japanese Asian fusion from their food truck roots. Featured on the Food Network, their food truck fame does bring a draw to their recently-opened brick and mortar restaurant. When we arrived in the restaurant, we found the line and copies of their menu. There was only one group ahead of us while we reviewed the menu.

Today, we decided to order the beef koja, kamikaze fries, umami fries, and strawberry mango mint lemonade slushie. The beef koja was tasty and came with an ample amount of marinated beef, a small slice of pineapple, and some lettuce all sandwiched between two rice buns. I did not taste much of the garlic flavor in the buns nor any red sauce, but the combination of flavors did taste good together. Both of the fry dishes seemed to have fresh toppings with not as fresh fries. The fries were not crispy and were not hot. The kamikaze fries included finely minced beef that tasted extremely marinated, but I did not see much of any kimchi inside. The fries did go well with the beef Japanese mayo. The umami fries consisted of several chunks of tasty pork and tasted a bit sweet. The umami fries seemed to have more flavor than the kamikaze fries. The slushie had a strong minty taste, and you can make out the strawberry and lemonade, but only a slight mango taste.

Overall, KoJa Kitchen serves up some nice fusion dishes centered around their rice buns and topped fries all at reasonable prices, but the quality of fries fell short. All of the meats came marinated and full of flavor, but each dish fell short of expectations from reading the menu. If you like Korean and or Japanese food, you should definitely give KoJa Kitchen a try even with their shortcomings.

Sep 18

Sevens Bar & Grill – Milpitas, CA

777 Bellew Dr

Milpitas, CA 95035

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Located inside the Crowne Plaza in Milpitas, Sevens serves up a breakfast buffet for around $20 or complimentary as part of your stay in certain packages. After waiting for a couple of minutes at the entrance, I was seated by a hostess who took my drink order. I opted for a glass of orange juice while I departed for the buffet. Upon arrival, I found some sliced pound cake, bananas, cereals, milk, and toast. On the back counter, there was some fruit, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs. On top of hot plates next to the fruit, there were trays of home-style potatoes, “assorted dim sum”, cheddar eggs, Italian sausage, and bacon.

On my first trip to the buffet, the hot food items were pretty much cleaned out. The home-style potatoes tasted OK, but needed some ketchup, which I had to ask for. The “assorted dim sum” was just a meat-filled deep-fried wonton, which tasted a bit bland, but was edible. The cheddar eggs did not seem to be firm enough and had a lot of give. You can definitely tell the eggs came from a carton too, and I still couldn’t really taste the cheddar. The Italian sausage tasted a bit off and was not flavorful. Hopefully the links were cooked all the way. The bacon was not very crispy and was more crunchy instead. On my second trip to the buffet line, the potatoes, Italian sausage, and bacon were all refilled, so I did get some more potatoes and sausage. Although this food came from a fresh batch, they still tasted the same. After I finished that plate, I did go back to see if there was any good fruit left, but I did not see anything I wanted. I did revisit the buffet the next day and was happy to find some new items and a stocked hot food area. In lieu of the home-style potatoes were hash browns and in lieu of the breakfast sausage was Italian sausage. Unfortunately, the food tasted like it had been left out for a while and was not fresh. I did find a salmon and cheese platter in the cold fruit area. The smoked salmon was cold, but tasted very fishy.

Overall, Sevens serves up an adequate breakfast buffet for hotel guests, but I would certainly not spend $20 for the meal. I did notice a waffle station there, but it was not in operation. Also, some guests were able to order other items from the back like a smoked salmon with cheese platter, but I was not sure if that was part of the buffet. Service was OK since my original plate was taken away, but I was not offered a refill in my juice, and they took my fork away from my first trip. If you are staying at the hotel and have a breakfast voucher, by all means give Sevens a try, but I would not make a special trip out here to try it.

Sep 14

OBO’ Italian Table & Bar

3145 Folsom Blvd

Sacramento, CA 95816

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

A new eatery from the Selland family of Sacramento appeared in East Sacramento called OBO’ Italian Table and Bar. As you enter the restaurant, you have the option to purchase deli items from the case, order dessert, order drinks, or order food. Various staff wait in the menu board area waiting to take food orders. We reviewed the menu on the wall and on paper before approaching the staff to place our order.

Today, we decided to order the salumi pizza, tagliatelle poached egg pasta, and espresso tiramisu. After placing our order, we were given a number to take to the cashier to pay. We requested for a rosemary lemonade and the espresso tiramisu at the register. After paying, we were given the lemonade and tiramisu and the number card with a stand to take to your own table. The restaurant was quite packed, so we ended up sitting outside at an available table. While waiting for our food, we decided to eat dessert first. The espresso tiramisu was amazing. Layers of light sweetness with creamy coffee taste and pieces of bread went together perfectly. The small jar holding the delicious dessert was quite creative and served as the perfect vessel for the tiramisu. Soon, our pasta and pizza arrived. The fresh pasta came in a small dish with extremely thinly sliced crispy prosciutto and poached egg. The pasta tasted fresh and light. The prosciutto tasted good, but we wished there was more of it in the dish. The poached egg went well with the pasta by providing a different form of texture, but the dish as a whole tasted quite bland even with the lemon butter. The salumi pizza had ample amounts of ham and salami, but I feel the tapenade threw off the flavor of the pizza. The bottom of the crust was burnt in several places, and caused a few areas of the pizza to taste quite charred. The rosemary lemonade was extremely sour and reduced the flavor of the rosemary.

Overall, Obo serves up some reasonably priced Italian food, but we must have ordered dishes that were less appetizing for our palates. Service was quite good from ordering, to paying, to receiving our food. Since there were quite a few other things we wanted to try on the menu and having tasted some delicious dessert, we do plan on revisiting Obo in the future. If you like Italian food, then you should give Obo a try.

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