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Return to the Hibachi Bar July 2, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So I went back to the Hibachi Bar in Broad Ripple for dinner with my dad on June 30. (Don’t worry: despite the name, it’s not an actual bar. I don’t do those.) Broad Ripple being the area that it is, all the storefronts are right up to the street with parking behind. It was difficult to find parking. Eventually we just parked in an old office building closed for the weekend. We got in there around 7:25 and there was a bit of a wait. The odd thing was that there was enough table space to sit everyone waiting, but we weren’t seated for 20 minutes simply because it took the staff that long to clean off the table we wanted. Once that was taken care of, we were seated. It took the chef a while to arrive, but in the interim, the staff was very friendly and attentive. They got us drinks, salad, and soup, and they correctly took our orders. I ordered a chicken and shrimp combo while my dad ordered a scallop and shrimp combo. My dad and I started talking to this nice couple, Pat and Christine, who moved all over the country before settling in the Lawrence area of Indy. And to think, they nearly ate at Cheesecake Factory that night! (Just my opinion, but I prefer the Hibachi Bar.) Those two got Japanese sodas. The sodas looked interesting both in concept and design. Pieces of the cap popped off and fell into the drink! When the chef arrived, he offered us the chance to have zucchini tossed into our mouths. Amazingly, I caught it, and so did two other people at the table! The chef was very fun and engaging, though I have to admit he didn’t put on as showy a show as other hibachi restaurants do. Also, I had to personally request ginger sauce from the chef, whereas it automatically comes at other places. The food was pretty good, though. It was honestly just a little bit below food from Sapporo or Tomo in terms of taste. However, the price difference made it much more worth it! Fried rice was included with the entree. The full price for two would have been $40, as compared to Sapporo and Tomo’s $60. Note that I said FULL price- Pat and Christine told us about a Groupon discount with that app. My dad downloaded it and got us $30 off, so we only paid $10. Total steal! Overall, Hibachi Bar has some pretty good food, though it wasn’t quite as good as other hibachi restaurants and the service was a little slower. But at prices like these, I don’t mind!

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SoBro Greek’s now open! May 31, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Finally! The SoBro Greek’s Pizzeria opened at 49th & College opened on May 20. I’d been waiting a while for this. Also, it seems like whenever a Greek’s Pizzeria opens near my house, it closes soon after. There have been two attempts in Broad Ripple and one attempt downtown, all of which failed. I was excited when one opened at 71st & Binford in March 2016. This one at 49th & College features a taproom up above. The dining area, which is really nice inside, is open until 9:00 p.m. with the taproom usually open until 11:00 p.m. or midnight. The dining area is surprisingly spacious, and it’s nicely lit. I didn’t find it too bright or too dim. It also seemed to be very clean. Our waitress was always kind enough to check back with us for drink refills and plate removal. Of course, it helped that she was in constant view of us.

This Greek’s also had sauce options, which is something I’m completely unfamiliar with. Our waitress wasn’t sure what other options there were for sauces, so I’ll have to check that out on my next visit. Oh well. The basic sauce is good enough. It’s rich and sweet, but it still tastes like pizza sauce. As always, I love the cheese and ham at Greek’s. The cheese is chewy and flavorful, but it doesn’t stretch to infinity. And the ham is juicy and not spicy, unlike most other pizza places where I’ve eaten. It’s nice having a Greek’s close to me with their delicious pizza. I’ll definitely be back for more and I hope this location sticks around for quite some time!

Dinner at Tian Fu May 14, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Bridget, Ebony, Lauren, and I had dinner at Tian Fu at 86th & Michigan Road on Indianapolis’ northwest side. I had seen the place several times, but I’d never been. We checked it out and thought the food was pretty good. The wait staff seemed to have limited English, but they knew to clear plates, take orders, and get drinks. Everything was done correctly, and the manager even got personally involved on several occasions, not because we complained, but because he actually cared enough to make our experience there enjoyable. I got chicken egg rolls and wonton soup as appetizers. The chicken egg rolls really didn’t taste like chicken and weren’t that special. They didn’t taste bad, per se, but I probably won’t order them again. The wonton soup was MUCH better, and it came in quite the large bowl! I’ve had better wonton soups, but I WOULD order that again. For my entree, I got chicken & shrimp with broccoli. Oddly, it was the same price as chicken & broccoli. Anyway, it tasted wonderful, and it was covered in a sauce that was sweet, but not TOO sweet. It provided a nice accent to the taste, and it went well on my sticky rice too. Finally, when Ebony couldn’t eat her honey banana dessert, I finished it off. They had different criticisms about it; I thought it was just right. It had a crunchy thin layer outside with a gooey thick layer inside. It was mostly banana, but I could taste some honey. All in all, while Tian Fu wasn’t the best Chinese food I’d ever had, I enjoyed my meal there, and I give it a solid B. Also, their menu is quite extensive, so I have plenty of alternative entree options for my next few visits.

Meeting at Metro Diner December 30, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I tried Metro Diner tonight for the first time, thanks to a suggestion from Jessi. I can’t help but notice it appeared a mile down the street from Perkins a few months after Perkins closed and serving the same kind of food…coincidence? I think not…but anyway, back to my experience tonight. The place was a lot larger than I thought it could be from the outside. Most of the space was used for the dining area. The service was nice and the waitresses, especially ours, checked back quite often. Jessi had a problem with her rice not being cooked long enough, so they happily substituted a squash and zucchini entree for her. I had a hot turkey plate, which came with bread, mashed potatoes, squash, and zucchini. I also added a side of ham. I like how Metro Diner offers sides that are big enough to be considered entrees at other restaurants. Most of the items are between $10-14, and I chose one of the cheaper entrees, mainly because it sounded the most appealing. The portion sizes were large and very filling; I didn’t feel hungry by the time I left and I also felt quite nourished. I did notice the food was a bit blander than I would have cared for, but given the low prices and larger portion sizes, I’m more likely to let that slide. While Metro Diner doesn’t rank on my “must attend” list, I’ll freely admit that I’d go there again.

Going to Golden Corral West November 8, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in west.
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On November 7, I went to the west side Golden Corral. I hadn’t been there since May of 2008, and it was after a particularly annoying experience of drunken Indy 500-goers shouting at us because our car was overheating. Anyway, with the north side Golden Corral closed two months ago, I decided to check out the other two in Indy to see which one I would go to now. As I approached the west side Golden Corral at 38th & High School Road, the lights on the sign were out and I didn’t see any cars in the parking lot. Upon closer inspection, the sign was just shut off and there were a few cars in the lot close to the entrance. It wasn’t very busy there. The east side Golden Corral I went to last Monday night had five times the attendance. And when I first walked in, the first thing I find out is that the west side Golden Corral didn’t have root beer. Ironically, they did on my last visit in 2008, while the east side Golden Corral didn’t have root beer on my last visit in 2006 but they do now. The nice cashier informs me “no root beer,” and at first, I thought that meant they were just out. She said it three times before I figured out she meant they don’t have it, and I said “Damn!” quite bluntly, but not loudly. Another thing I noticed: the Golden Corral in Castleton was decorated and had dessert and a private section on the left, and salad and bathrooms on the right. The east side location had the same layout, but was not decorated. The west side location was just as decorated as the Castleton location was, but the layout was a mirror image, and as a result, I was constantly getting lost. Several of the employees from Castleton transferred to the east side location, and, as I suspected, none were at the west side location. That makes sense, seeing how Washington & Mitthoeffer is closer to Castleton than 38th & High School is. The service was VERY good at the west side location. The clientele was quiet and kept to themselves, though they made sure the wait staff got tipped. Two guys were about to leave when they didn’t realize they had any cash, and they went over to the cashier and waited five minutes to get some so they could leave a tip. Our waiter was upbeat, prompt, and polite. We rarely had to ask him for refills, and we even tipped him an extra dollar. The food was almost as good as the food at the east side location. It tasted like it had been sitting out just a little bit longer, but it wasn’t obvious or gross like that. I mean, I had five plates when I usually have three, so it was nothing for me to worry about and the chicken, broccoli, shrimp, turkey, and potatoes I had were delicious. I also noticed, oddly enough, that the east side location had no booths, while Castleton and the west side locations did. Strange. I worry about the west side location because there weren’t many people in there during my visit. Ultimately though, I’d choose the east side location over the west side. I like booths and colorful walls, but I like root beer, a familiar layout, and fresher food more, plus the employees at the east side formerly from Castleton know me.

Spotting Sakura November 7, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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After Covered Bridges, Ebony and I needed somewhere to eat. With our beloved Perkins, our usual after-Covered Bridges dinner spot, destroyed, we opted for Sakura off 71st & Keystone. I drive by this place literally every week and wonder what it’s like in there. When we got there, we had to park at the closed vet’s office next door due to insufficient parking. We got inside to find out that it wasn’t too crowded and we were seated immediately. I had a teriyaki chicken entree for $12. I really thought it would be a lot more expensive than it was, and I’m glad it wasn’t. Thankfully, they didn’t skimp on the portions. I almost had to resort to a to-go box, which Ebony actually used. The chicken also came with rice and vegetables, all of which were wonderfully tasty. The flavors were interesting. I have a hard time describing just what they added to their teriyaki sauce to make it unique, but it works. I feel like I got a good value for the money. The wait staff wasn’t the friendliest, but they WERE rather prompt and checked back frequently for drink refills and plate removal. I recommend this place and I hope to go back again. As I said, I drive by this place literally every week and therefore, I should be able to go back sometime soon.

Scotty’s Dawghouse gives close dining options November 3, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Since the Broad Ripple MCL and the Broad Ripple Greek’s both closed last year (and Boogie Burger gave me food poisoning), I’ve had a hard time finding good restaurants close to my house. Thankfully, as part of Butler’s new parking garage, they installed their own version of Scotty’s Brewhouse in the garage, named Scotty’s Dawghouse after the Butler Bulldogs. I highly recommend this place. The wait staff, comprised almost entirely of Butler students, gives great service. They’re happy, prompt, and helpful. I never had to wait more than five minutes to place an order or get soda refills. Their burgers are also very good- not as good as Red Robin, but close. The beef is thick, juicy, and tasty, and the fries with them aren’t half bad either. The menu has several options beyond burgers, and they offer upgraded beef options, but I’m happy with the simple stuff. I also had teriyaki chicken wings off their appetizer menu, which came only a few minutes before the meals came, so I didn’t even have to rely on the appetizer to tide me over before the main course! To end things, I had the nutella marshmallow milkshake. And yes, it’s as rich, sugary, creamy, and delicious as it sounds. It’s only available for a limited time, so I don’t know if it’s still there, but if it is, then get it immediately. Prices are a bit on the high side, but I consider it worth it. And it’s nice to have decent restaurants I like between downtown and Broad Ripple again.

Hibachi Bar Now Open! November 3, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I went to Hibachi Bar and Grill in Broad Ripple on October 19. The new restaurant occupied the space formerly occupied by La Jolla, a Mexican restaurant. Admittedly, I’m biased- going from Mexican to Japanese is about the biggest possible upgrade for me! And to add icing to the cake, the restaurant owners were giving their customers all 15% off without coupon in honor of their grand opening! We didn’t wait to be seated, and we were seated at our own table. I got the hibachi chicken and shrimp combo for $22, which was the full price before discount. Without the discount, this place is on par with others of its kind like Sapporo, Tomo, Benihana, Kazan, Fujiyama, Fuji, and Kumo. The staff was friendly and helpful, though I question whether our waitress spoke fluent English, as she struggled to understand our drink order. The chef was very fun though, and he cooked our food as specified. It tasted pretty good, though it wasn’t quite as good as Sapporo or Tomo. The chicken and the shrimp were succulent, flavorful, and plentiful, and they left a pleasant lingering aftertaste. All in all, we were in and out in under an hour. That’s the fastest hibachi service I’ve ever had!

Golden Corral on Shadeland closed September 27, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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Tonight, I found out that the Golden Corral off 75th & Shadeland closed last weekend. I’ve been going there since at least 2007 and it became my go-to place to have dinner with my grandma, especially since the Castleton Perkins closed. Why is the north side incapable of keeping a country-style buffet in business? We lost Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s, and Ponderosa before every other side of town. And further, how the hell is the one on West 38th street still in business? Golden Corral had been in that location17 years and no reason for the closing was given. They still have locations on West 38th street and East Washington Street, both of which are in worse areas of town and I wonder why those are still open, as well as locations in Greenwood or Plainfield. I took some photos to show the details. I feel bad for not going there much lately. I hadn’t been there since January 29. My dad’s the only person who went there with me most of the time, and every time the past few months I wanted to go, he always said he just went there with my grandma the previous week on a night where I was busy. And frankly, I’ve been to both the west and east side Golden Corrals, though it’s been years. Neither were as clean, and the east side one didn’t have root beer! I’d like to get to the bottom of this and find out why they closed.

Two tickets to Cheeseburger in Paradise September 4, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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I had a GREAT dinner tonight at Cheeseburger in Paradise! I had never been there, mainly because I am rarely at Southport & Emerson. This is the last Cheeseburger in Paradise in Indiana, as the 96th street one closed a while back. We got there and saw that the garage doors were opened up and they had outdoor seating, which we immediately opted to get. I saw THREE menu entrees I wanted to try before I even hit the cheeseburger page. And for the first time I can remember, I ordered off the menu with NO modifications! Our server, Jess, could relate to that feeling. She was so nice and personable, and she was quick removing plates and bringing refills. I had the citrus chicken with their island rice and teriyaki broccoli. The entree also came with a lime and an orange. They had better chicken than BJ’s, better broccoli than MCL, and better rice than Red Lobster! Jess asked if we wanted dessert, but we declined because we had a few soft drinks that day. Their food was on par with Yard House and better than BJ’s. And I’m definitely going back there again.
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