Sep 19

Sushi Kuma – El Dorado Hills

4540 Post St

El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Located in the less fancy part of El Dorado Hills Town Center near Nugget, Sushi Kuma serves up a variety of sushi at a 50% off price point. At this price, you shouldn’t expect Mikuni quality, but you generally get decent tasting sushi at a great price. As we entered the restaurant, we were quickly seated at one of the many available tables. The server took our drink order as we reviewed the menu. We found it very odd that many of the menu items resembled those found at Arigatos with the exact same names. This could mean the owners are related, or mean they really ripped off the other restaurant. With that said, we were ready to order.

Today, we decided to order the lion king roll, volcanic scallop roll, tempura crunchy roll, sesame chicken roll, and the golden gate roll. We did have to wait a bit of time before the sushi arrived, but that was because there was only one sushi chef cooking for the very few tables with customers. The chef prepared all five rolls before the server brought over the large plate of sushi. The lion king roll was a bit small, but each piece had a piece of salmon on top and tasted quite sweet and tasty. The similar volcanic scallop roll was also baked, but did not taste as appetizing even though it used the same sauce. The sesame chicken roll was very interesting because the roll itself has cream cheese and crab meat in it, but the chicken just sat on top. The roll on its own was not very appetizing, but it went very well with the tender juicy flavorful chicken. Things went downhill with the last two rolls because the sushi chef used frozen tempura shrimp and just cooked them in a toaster over. Thus, the tempura crunchy roll tasted pretty plain and the texture of the shrimp tempura was undesirable. The same applies to the golden gate since the contents of the rolls were so similar. The shrimp inside the tempura was quite small, so there was a lot of breading.

Overall, Sushi Kuma serves up a great deal for sushi consumers in this busy shopping plaza, but the quality is quite underwhelming. If you ordered the same rolls from Arigatos, they would taste a lot better and fresher, especially for rolls including shrimp tempura. Service and value really shine here at the restaurant, so the meal was not too disappointing. With so many food options in this shopping center, I would not make Sushi Kuma my first choice, but if you are looking for cheap sushi with great service, Sushi Kuma does the job.

Sep 12

Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining

2226 10th St

Sacramento, CA 95818

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Located near the southern-border of downtown, Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining serves up a variety of Japanese cuisines centered around skewered meats cooked over charcoal. There was plenty of street parking available in the area with no meters that have you covered for two hours. As we entered the restaurant, a cheerful server quickly sat us at a table for two inside the restaurant. The server provided us with a dinner menu and showed the specials menu along with the grill menu. The dinner menu consisted of a variety of familiar and not so familiar Japanese dishes, while the specials menu adds additional unfamiliar options. The grill menu consists of a variety of different meats, and a choice to have the meat cooked with their special sauce or just salt.

On this visit, we decided to order the Buta Moyashi ramen, Menchi katsu curry, NY strip loin skewer with sauce, pork belly with salt, bacon wrapped asparagus with salt, chicken thigh with sauce, pork sausage with sauce and with salt, and two rice balls. The NY strip loin skewer with sauce, pork belly with salt, and bacon wrapped asparagus arrived first as part of our grill order. All of the skewers were fairly small for the price paid. The NY strip was tender and juicy, but was quite salty. The pork belly was also tender, but was also quite salty. The bacon wrapped asparagus was tasty, but it falls short in comparison to a similar larger version available at Disneyland for a better price. The Buta Moyashi ramen was very salty, but the broth had a lot of body. If you can look past the saltiness of the ramen, the flavors were actually pretty good. The Menchi katsu curry was quite interesting because the beef katsu was quite pink on the inside, which tasted very juicy, but I can see how some people may find it too rare. The egg on top made it look very nice atop the curry, but the dish was missing some carbs. The side of cabbage with sesame dressing really did not fit the bill with the curry. We were still hungry, so this was when we decided to order more items from the grill. Unfortunately, the waiting process for the final grill items was quite extensive. By the time we received the food, we were already full from just sitting around. The chicken thigh with sauce was quite tender and juicy, but was salty. The pork sausage had a distinct crunch with each bite, and the meat was quite dense. Unfortunately, both the sauce and salt variations of the sausage were both overly salty. The grilled rice ball looked really cool, but tasted a bit odd with its burnt sugary flavor. Each bite tasted like caramel covered rice, which was an odd combination with the salty meats.

Overall, Binchoyki serves up some interesting looking food, but falls short in terms of flavor, price, and service. After the initial orders, service really tanked, as water refills were not acknowledged until late, and grill food orders took an extensive amount of time. If you like salty food, then you came to the right place. With each grill item ranging in price from $3-$13, your bill can quickly increase from the short skewers. Given another opportunity, I would want to eat something else with better flavor and better value. If you are really into the grilling aspect of Japanese cooking, then this may be the place for you, as long as you are willing to shell out the money for it.

Jun 30

Station 16

1118 16th St

Sacramento, CA 95814

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Located in the heart of midtown, Station 16 serves up various American and Asian Fusion dishes to all. Plenty of seating was available on a holiday Monday morning, so finding a table was easy. Although Station 16 is better known for their seafood, on this brunch meal, I opted for a classic breakfast burrito. The meal arrived fairy quickly after ordering, and was plated well. Luckily, I did not need to use the provided utensils because of how dirty they were. Unfortunately, the burrito was falling apart quite easily. The burrito as a whole tasted quite bland, but the meat was slightly salty. The house potatoes were cooked well and had a slight crisp to them. Overall, the meal was pretty standard and underwhelming, and the tableware cleanliness was unnerving. Station 16 may have good seafood, but brunch was disappointing.

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