Dolphin Bay

Alright, back to earth guys. This place currently has a 4.5 star rating. The friendly service definitely deserves such high praise. Their food, however, was not as special as the Yelp review had me setup for.

The jalapeño gravy beef was not what I expected at all. I was hoping for thick brown spicy sauce but it was actually pretty clear. It tastes like beef chop suey from a Chinese restaurant.

The beef noodle soup had a good medium spicy broth. The veggies and noodles were good. The beef muscle, not so much. They were cut thinly and really had nothing special. We asked for half/half beef vs tendon ratio and it came with 3 tendons and much more beef. I don’t know about you but I prefer more tendon.

The wonton noodle soup was nothing special. The Taiwan sausage rice was meh too. Chinese sausage tastes the same.

Now their appetizers and drinks are where they shine. Perhaps they should shut down the entree portion and make it app and drink joint. The crispy popcorn chicken is very good, cooked with dark meat. It’s as god as others say. The sweet potato fries were excellent. It comes with sugar on top and that’s really a nice touch. My wife really enjoyed the taro milk shake, again as recommended by others in Yelp.

To conclude, I think the great reviews on Yelp has set up high expectation that just didn’t meet my expectations. It’s not their fault. I feel bad for giving 3 stars. It it really was not special. It’s like going to my friends house and his sister cooking us a meal. For some this is comforting and what we yearn for (maybe all the out of state students?). For me, my wife makes that kind of food already (her beef noodle soup is so much better, sorry!). I was looking for something special and the existing reviews led me think this place could be THE place to deliver. I wish the store well. It just wasn’t for us.

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

Pikaichi

Busy ramen place in Super 88. Surprised there was a line from rat thing on a Sunday morning. It’s smaller than what it looks like from the outside. As for the food, it’s not as good as the Little Big Diner in Newton. I ordered the same spicy miso ramen and can say it comes with less stuff. You get slightly less noodles and the egg is optional. More importantly, the meat in my bowl was dry and hard to chew. I feel like it’s their leftovers from the day before that didn’t sell. The cut of the meat itself is lean. All but the rice and curry side dishes were available. They claimed everything else sold out the day before. Anyways, the price is much better than the little big diner, but I’d rather pay more and get what I consider “special” broth and fresh cut juicier meat with eggs included. The broth at Pikaichi is very simple, almost like an instant noodle pack. The broth at Little Big Diner is special…see my other review about it. The prices here are good, but it reminds you that you get what you pay for. I’d probably try them again to see if my first experience was an anomaly.

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

Little Big Diner

First of all this place isn’t that big. There are a total of around 22 spaces in the whole joint. I always thought it was bigger for some reason. Anyways, we arrived on a Sunday around noon time. There was a wait. You’d think it’s a seat yourself kinda place but not true. You’ll get grumbles from those already in line waiting for delicious ramen.

I have to admit that prior to coming here I already thought it was over priced. Packed ramen is already so good and so cheap. How can it get so much better to charge that much more?

I really don’t know what’s in their spicy miso ramen broth but it is magical! It’s kind of thick and salty and…peanut buttery? Who knows but it is delicious! It comes with a runny half egg, sprouts, seaweed and two thin slices of fatty pork belly! It’s really a great combination that works very well. $15 well spent.

Skip the yelp pictures as not everything you see there is available on their current menu. For example, they no longer have the dumplings when we were there. They said they have a rotating menu. However, I’m sure the ramen choices are static options here. We didn’t try the rice dishes or the yummy looking papaya salad…maybe next time.

The name of the restaurant is very fitting I guess. The place is small but you get big tastes in a casual diner like atmosphere.

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

Jean and Lee’s Kitchen in Newton

I stumbled across this place on yelp. It has 3.5 stars, which is good enough for me. The pictures looked really good and what really sold me was the fried pork belly in wine sauce.

This place is on Oak street, right off Needham street in Newton. There is a parking lot in the rear, but ample meter spots on the next street over. You don’t even need quarters for the meters as they take nickels and dimes.

When we arrived, we found that seating is on the 2nd floor. We went during lunch time on a Saturday and the place was pretty quiet.

Service was okay. They were typical unenthused Asians who didn’t really care for their job, but they did the minimum with little facial reaction. The only super friendly person was the young man who greeted us downstairs. He is likely the owner or the son of the owners 🙂

Now on to the food…The pictures on Yelp makes it look much better than it is. That fried pork dish? It was kinda dry. That wine sauce? Seems like a mixture of hoisin and sriracha. It’s just fried (DRY!) roast pig. It cost like $16 damn it. Could went to Chinatown and picked up 1.5 lbs of fresh roast pig instead.

The Xiao Long Bao’s (pork soup dumplings) came out promising. It was steaming hot as they uncovered the lid at the table. We quickly found that its pretty dried up inside though. There is minimal soup inside and the meat was kinda flat/smallish. There is no comparison to XLB’s at Shang Ri La in Belmont.

The pig ear was good…liked that it wasn’t spicy so the kids could have some. The chicken Lo Mein was normal. The scallion pancake with beef was a hit with the kids. Other than that, nothing blew us away. We were more disappointed than anything as the pictures on Yelp gave us higher expectations.

Another thing to call out is that the tea was lukewarm. That was disappointing.

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)

(null)