Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sapori Ristorante Italiano

3513 Festival Park Plaza
Chester, VA 23831

             A couple of years ago the owners of Luca’s in Prince George sold Luca’s and started a new restaurant Sapori Ristorante Italiano in Chester.  While Luca’s is pretty good and serves time honored Italian fare, Sapori is a step above.

            Located in the Chester Village shopping area, Sapori is a large spacious restaurant with subdued décor and a very impressive menu. You can tell that it is trying to cater to a higher end clientele than when they ran Luca’s. While the still have the regular Italian dishes, they specialize in fancier, fresher and more exotic cuisine than your typical Italian restaurant.
            Wanted something light and simple, Amanda and I decided to split the La Vegetariana pizza. While not something that I would usually order, I was very pleasantly surprised with pizza. It came with fresh mushroom, red onion, roasted red peppers, sliced tomatoes, roasted garlic, and feta cheese and only cost $12.  Before our pizza came our waitress brought us a basket of freshly baked bread and a plate of olive oil and spices for dipping. While the olive oil concoction was not as good as what Amanda makes, it was pretty tasty and the piping hot rolls were awesome dipped in it.
It was not long before our pizza came out. This was not your run of the mill pizza that you will get at pizza hut of dominos. This thing was obviously handmade; the crust was freshly made and was nice and crispy. The cheese was perfectly melted and extremely flavorful.  The same went for the vegetables; all of them were fresh, not from a can, and perfectly cook.  The roasted garlic brought all of teh flavors together without being overpowering. Needless to say I was more than impressed.
            I highly recommend checking out Sapori. I know that there are a million Italian Restaurants but they are not all the same and I might have to say that Sapori is one of if not the best in the area. I will admit that the entrees are a little more expensive than other Italian places around but if they are anything like the pizza, I’m sure that they are well worth it.  So this Christmas Season take a break from your typical Italian restaurant and check out Sapori, but what out you might not want to ever go back to your old spot.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Huzzah BBQ Grill

113 Visitor Center Drive
Wiliamsburg, VA 23185

One would not expect to find any decent food in the Visitors Center of Colonial Williams, especially not a good BBQ restaurant.  Huzzah BBQ Grille may not be the greatest BBQ restaurant in the world but the food, sides and sauces were not half bad. Williamsburg is known for a lot of things but BBQ isn’t one of them, so I was happy to see a new BBQ joint try its hand in the Colonial Capitol.

Huzzah is literally in the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center complex, I don't mean Merchant's Square, I'm talking about the real tourist area where the buses go.  Admittedly, the place is built for tourists, everything about it screams fake and for show.  But with that being said, it was extremely clean, our waiter was extremely nice, and they even had some really good VA craft brews on tap.  The only thing that really threw me was that they brought out popcorn for us when we sat down. I felt that that was a little tacky.

I ordered ribs and my brother ordered beef brisket. Both came with corn bread and two sides. The corn bread was very good served with sweet butter. The cole slaw and succotash were actually pretty darn good. It was not very long before we received our food.  The meat was surprising smoky and honestly melted in my mouth, both the ribs and the brisket. The BBQ sauce on both was a thick, sweet tomato based sauce but they had 4 other types of sauces that were on the table, including a mustard style and vinegar based one.  The ribs were actually too tender to have been smoked; I actually ate half of a rib bone without knowing it.

Over all, although Huzzah BBQ Grille was a definitely tourist spot the food was not half bad and very reasonably priced.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Andy’s BBQ

5233 South Laburnum Avenue 
Richmond, VA 23231

            As you may or may not know there are 5 things that I am passionate about: My Fiancé, my dog, the Republican Party, clothes and BBQ. I try to check out and review every BBQ restaurant I can find; some have changed my life, some have almost turned me into a vegetarian but most are just plain ol’ delicious. Unfortunately, Andy’s is not one of them.

            Nestled in a crappy strip mall on Laburnum near the Airport Andy’s is one of those places that most people will never stop at. Inside the place is dimly lit and looks like your typical BBQ joint; walls covered in goofy signs and what not. We went on a Friday and they had a buffet going on but it was like $15 a person, your whole table had to get it and there was a minimum of four people. I’ve never heard of something so ridiculous in my life. After standing around for about 5 minutes until a rough German lady came from the back to bring us to our seat. We then waited for another 5 to 10 minutes waiting on someone to take our drink orders.

            We ordered chopped BBQ sandwiches for $3 each and an order of hushpiggies for $2.95.  We were planning on eating there but plans abruptly changed so we had to get them to go. Because we got them to go I could not use my buy one get one free coupon, even though nowhere on the coupon did it say that, but oh well.  I’ll never get the chance to use that coupon because I will never go back to Andy’s again. The chopped BBQ was more like mush than it was BBQ and the woman did not put any BBQ sauce in the bag or on the sandwiches, not that big of a deal because their standard sauce was NC vinegar style. 

            I was really banking on the hushpiggies to be its saving grace. They are hushpuppies filled with chopped BBQ and served with their rib BBQ sauce (a tangy tomato based sauce).  These things just sound awesome because hushpuppies are awesome and BBQ is usually awesome. But I guess sometimes two awesomes make something weird. This was one of those times. They were mushy, salty, and for some strange reason tasted like Chinese food. The sauce was not good enough to salvage the hushpiggies.

            Stay away from Andy’s BBQ travel and extra 10 minutes and go to Alamo, your taste buds with thank me. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hokkaibo Japanese Steak House

 4217 Crossings Blvd
Prince George, VA 23875

            A couple of months ago a new restaurant opened in the Crossings Shopping Center in Prince George. In an extremely ballsy move, Hokkaibo Japanese Steak House opened directly across from long time Japanese hibachi steakhouse, Kanpai.  Because of its location in the shopping center I really didn’t expect too much from Hokkaibo but stepping inside I was actually blown away. The place has been transformed into a very nice Japanese restaurant with Asian decor and beautiful wood walls.  It was extremely clean and welcoming.

Unlike Kanpai, Hokkaibo has an extensive sushi dishes and very reasonabll priced lunch and dinner entrees for times when you don’t feel like spending the time or money on a sit down hibachi “show”.  I believe that this is where Hokkaibo will make most of its money. Amanda and I decided to go with the bento box. For under $9 you get your choice of meat, sushi, fried rice, fried vegetables, soup and a salad.  What a deal. I chose teriyaki chicken with a tuna roll. 

As soon was we ordered we were brought our soup and salad. I’m not in love with miso soup but it was cold outside and it definitely warmed me up and it was actually pretty good for miso soup.  The salad, while simple, was very good mainly because of the delicious Japanese salad dressing on it.  Not long after we finished our soup and salad our bento boxes arrived. I had a good amount of chicken and rice, a couple fried vegetables and 2 pieces of sushi. I put the teriyaki chicken and mixed it up with the rice. The rice was very good, extremely fresh and flavorful. The chicken was cooked well but the teriyaki sauce was not my favorite in the world. I was not bad by any means it just did not have the flavor that other teriyaki sauces I’ve tried had.  Tempura fried vegetables are always delicious; there is nothing like a deep fried slice of sweet potato. The sushi was a little plain but I asked for some eel sauce and that really brought out the flavor.

Overall, I really enjoyed Hokkaibo. I don’t know how its hibachi compares to Kanpai, all I know is that their prices are very similar which means neither of them can hold a stick to Hibachi Ichiban in Chester (still one of the best restaurants I’ve reviewed).  I feel that where Hokkaibo shines is lunch. It is quick, decently priced and tasty.  It is very similar to Seol Fusion in Petersburg but it looks much cleaner and more inviting.