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Just a collection of posts containing restaurant reviews, videos, and articles about the restaurant industry. Most of my reviews are of Saskatoon restaurants but when I travel I get inspired to post about what we have eaten on the road, both good and bad.

How Jiro Dreams of Sushi’s Apprentice is Making His Mark as a Sushi Chef

Chef Daisuke Nakazawa, who appeared in the film ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ while working as an apprentice (for many years) under now legendary sushi master Jiro Ono, had been living in Seattle, until Bronx restauranteur Alessandro Borgognone picked him up and dropped him off in New York’s West Village.

Four months in when Pete Wells dropped a full four stars on the place—good luck ever scoring a seat, now.

So, how perfect is Sushi Nakazawa’s nigiri? Eater’s Kat Odell scores a bar seat to find out. And just for the record, Nakazawa’s tamagoyaki is on point.

How America’s First 3 Star Michelin Sushi Chef Serves His Fish

Rarely does chef Masa Takayama of Manhattan sushi shrine Masa allow cameras into his restaurant. But Eater’s Kat Odell scored a seat at his bar to taste through America’s best omakase.

Like Madonna, chef Masa Takayama is a mononmyous character known by fans simply as “Masa,” also the name of his eponymous restaurant in New York’s Time Warner Center. And after three decades of cutting fish and helping to shape (and refine) America’s sushi culture, it’s a moniker well-deserved.

At Masa, the show is sushi, and it’s one that has received countless accolades for Chef’s near-perfect, and extremely pricey fish. Actually, Masa is the single most expensive restaurant in the country and one that replicates, in many ways, a classic Japanese omakase experience. While dishes many not always be entirely traditional, the service, energy and overall thought behind the meal is totally Japanese.

The Toxic Saga of the World’s Greatest Fish Market

More than 16 years and 600 billion yen later, the fate of Tokyo’s Tsukiji market is still up in the air

Tsukiji is the most exalted fish market on earth, the sort of humbling place that causes the likes of globally worshipped god-chef René Redzepi to deem it one of the “seven culinary wonders of the world.” With nearly 671 licensed wholesale dealers selling more than 500 different kinds of seafood — $17 million worth a day, and more than 700,000 tons a year — the 23-hectare market is so vital to the global commercial flow of fish that it’s almost impossible to imagine how the international sea critter industry would fare without it.

But the occupants of this oceanic oasis have been dancing to a slow swan song. Last November, after more than 80 years in its current location, Tsukiji’s inner market, the fish-slinging heart of the operation, was supposed to move to Toyosu, a man-made island about 1.5 miles south, where a freshly constructed, state-of-the-art space had been built. Tuna wholesalers scheduled the shutdown of their refrigerators; new contracts were arranged with outside shippers; shrimp mongers tied up loose ends for delivery routes. A stunning film about the market, Tsukiji Wonderland, was released to commemorate the historical moment. Nostalgia was in the air.

The move never happened. Today, Toyosu sits empty, and Tsukiji teems with life, its fate still hanging in the air. This is the, er, fishy story of what happened.

Florida Pizza Hut Threatens Employees Fleeing Hurricane With Discipline If They Miss Work

From Eater

As Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida, a restaurant in the storm’s path warned evacuating employees they could face disciplinary action if they missed shifts. Management at a Pizza Hut in Jacksonville posted an employee memo demanding that employees not evacuate more than 24 hours before the storm and return within 72 hours, the Washington Post reports.

The memo, a photo of which began making the rounds on Twitter over the weekend, specified that evacuating workers who missed a scheduled shift would be considered a “no call/no show” and would be written up.

Twitter users quickly took the restaurant to task, accusing the company of putting profits ahead of its employees’ safety:

MTL Blog Suggests Restaurant Pay For Replacement Article Correcting Its Writer’s Errors

“A sponsored article…starts at $2500, and varies depending on your objectives”

Massumi received an email from Draicchio, which he published Tuesday night. The email calls his Facebook post “offensive”, noting that “I didn’t mean any harm”. Massumi’s Facebook post and later comments, while blunt, didn’t contain any personal slurs.

Dracchio said the major errors were due to mistakes by other sources (although no sources were cited in the article). She named review site Resto MTL as a source of the bad information, but there’s no trace of Epicerie Pumpui ever having been mentioned on that site, and Massumi says Resto MTL never contacted him or his co-owners.

But after Draicchio’s explanation, things get weird, as she suggests Pumpui’s owners contact MTL Blog’s sales team for a replacement story — at a cost of $2,500 and up, “depending on your objectives”. Such articles typically carry a small “sponsored content” tag on MTL Blog.

Restaurant Review: Smoke’s Poutinerie

Before it closed, I discovered and reviewed the Smoke’s Poutinerie in Moose Jaw.  I was excited to hear that one was coming to Saskatoon and I checked it out shortly after it opened.

Smoke's Poutinerie in Saskatoon

Smoke’s Poutinerie is a Montreal based chain that is slowly taking over Canada and North America.  If you have never tried it, it offers unique combinations to go along with the poutine that keep bringing people back.  That and the portion sizes are huge.  No matter how hungry we are, I don’t think we have ever finished a bowl of it.  There is an even larger version called the WOW size.  I can’t even imagine eating that much poutine.

We’ve tried the Philly Cheesesteak Poutine, the Pulled Pork Poutine, Perogy Poutine, Rainbow Poutine, & the Chicken Fajita Poutine and have been impressed everytime.  Sadly the BBQ Mac & Cheese Poutine was a limited time only offer but I hope they bring it back.

The poutine is always delivered quickly and hot.  The servers are pleasant and whether you are grabbing takeout or dining in, the experience is a good one.  If you are looking for a fun and unique take on fries, check it out.

Smoke’s Poutinerie
307 21st Street East
Saskatoon S7K 0C1

Smoke's Poutinerie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Last Days of Wylie Dufresne’s New York City Restaurant

On Nov. 30, 2014, many of the food world’s biggest names arrived at 50 Clinton Street in the city’s Lower East Side. David Chang was there. Daniel Boulud too. The chefs were among the 72 diners who ate foie gras in the round, scrambled egg ravioli and nine other courses of Wylie Dufresne’s avant-garde, era-defining cooking.

They came for the last supper at wd-50. Dufresne’s playful, challenging restaurant closed its doors for good that night. The restaurant was a victim of his own success: by bringing three-star cuisine to a once gritty neighborhood Dufresne helped drive up the area’s prices and welcome in luxury development. His landlord had decided to turn the restaurant into an apartment building.

wd-50 opened in 2003 to head-scratching reviews, its style of molecular gastronomy viewed by many of the city’s top critics as not much more than a whole lot of foam. But over the years, Dufresne won admirers, taking his namesake restaurant from underestimated to beloved. New York’s chefs and most avid eaters were losing a landmark institution. Where could they go now to get wild inventions like noodles made from meat and grits made from shrimp?

During its last days, wd-50 opened its doors to TIME’s cameras, providing a rare glimpse into its final service and its dismantling. And earlier this month, Dufresne announced plans for a new restaurant to open in Manhattan’s Financial District in 2016. He’s still cooking at Alder, his restaurant in New York’s East Village.

“Our goal was to add to the dialogue, to add to the body of knowledge,” Dufresne says of wd-50. “There are things that we’ve been a part of that are gonna be in kitchens from here on.”