Friday, October 19, 2012

Mamma Viva マンマ・ビバ   022-249-9008

Map:  Scroll down below.
Open for lunch Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.  Open for dinner Monday thru Saturday, 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
We happened upon this small restaurant by chance while strolling through this Nagamachi neighborhood, and we are so glad we did.  I’ve driven by this area countless of times but never noticed it before this day, yet, this restaurant has been in the same location for forty years. According to their website, Mamma Viva specializes in homemade dishes, sauces, and dressings using only organic vegetables, and this seems to translate well into their meals.
My wife ordered the hamburger patty lunch set for 1000 yen, which came with a carrot salad topped with sesame seed dressing, egg flower soup, rice, and dessert.  The beef patty was rather sizeable and thick!   I sneaked a quick bite and found it to be astonishingly creamy, something I wasn’t expecting in a beef patty.  My wife noticed the same thing and loved it!  Picky me that I am, didn’t find the creaminess something I wanted in a beef patty, but it was still flavorful, and I could see where a person with normal tastes buds would be quite pleased with this.

ハンバーグ ランチ

I went with the beef curry lunch set for 900 yen, which also came with the above sides.  The sesame seed dressing on the carrot salad was delicious, although the egg flower soup could have used a bit more seasoning.   The beef curry platter had nice big chunks of beef with some pickled veggies.  The curry was deceptively sweet, as a couple of spoonfuls into it the sauce became quite hot and spicy.  Overall, I’d say this was top-notch curry, somewhat reminiscent of Curry House Sakura.

カレー ランチ

Carrot Salad w/Sesame Seed Dressing & Egg Flower Soup 

The dessert was a delicious slice of roll cake.  We ordered their advertised 100 yen siphoned coffee which was well worth the price.

Roll Cake

Siphon Coffee

There was a third option available for lunch which was a salted seafood pasta for 880 yen that came with garlic toast, but since I don't do seafood this wasn't an option for me.  I thought it was interesting that Mamma Viva sells spaghetti sauces and salad dressing for take out.  They have a couple of parking spaces available but you'll have to run in and ask where they are.  

If you happen to be in the Nagamachi neck of the woods, I highly  recommend Mamma Viva.  We are definitely looking forward to sampling their dinner course soon.

View マンマ・ビバ in a larger map

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gyuumao Yakiniku 牛魔王焼き肉 022-246-0054

Address:  仙台市太白区長町南3-3-30扇ビル1F.   Located across the street from the Nagamachi-minami Subway Station on the other side of the bus pool.  
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open:  11 am to 1 am.  Lunch is from 11 am to 3 pm.
If you've ever exited Nagamachi-minami Subway Station by the escalators that lead to the ward office you've probably gotten a whiff of the succulent meats being grilled  at Gyuumao.  I’ve been coming to this place off and on for the past ten years.  It’s really nothing extravagant but I do like the lunch specials:  a variety of inexpensive lunch yakiniku sets, as well as lunch ビビンバ and ramen.  
I’ve become a creature of habit and always order theミックス定食 ”A” for a low 787 yen.  This comes with a small salad (that has a great tangy salad dressing), rice, kimchi, a very nice egg soup, after meal coffee, and the yakiniku platter of ハラミ、みそタン、豚ホルモン.  For those readers in the States, the Japanese above is harami beef (tender meat around the diaphragm.  miso tan (beef tongue marinated in miso sauce), and pork offal.  But I really don’t like the 豚ホルモ all that much, so I wonder why I don’t splurge for an extra 50 or 100 yen and get the all ハルミ or the all カルビ定食.

Yakiniku Lunch Set "A"

It’s not a lot of meat, and I’m not too sure if it’s of the highest quality, but with all the fixings’ it manages to satisfy.   

Close-up: Harami on top, Miso Tan on the right, the white on the bottom left is the Offal.

They have regular tables where you just plop yourself down and about four booths where you have to remove your shoes to enter.   There are a couple of parking spaces in the nearby parking lot, but there are five more on the street behind the restaurant.   Just run in and ask where the parking lot is.  They’ll give you a stick of gum as you pay which I always thought was a nice gesture.
I’ve never been here for dinner but I do recommend Gyuumao for its lunches.  So if you happen to be at The Mall and want to do yakiniku, this might be the place for you.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Update: October 8, 2012

Just got back from another great feast at Saint Marc’s where I devoured three mini-croissants, two cocoa rolls, two melon pan rolls (my favorite!), a goma pan (sesame roll), a crispy goma stick, a yomogi roll, and a basil roll.  Yeah, I kind of took it easy today as I passed on the caramel rolls, the dinner roll, and the spicy chapata stick.           
This was all part of the 1290 yen女王 set lunch menu.  The appetizers included gobou soup (I don’t like gobou but this was good!) and a sliced roast duck salad with a tangy dressing (also quite nice).  For the main entrée I ordered my usual grilled chicken with mustard sauce, topped with a heavy dose of red onions that produced a wonderful aroma.  In choosing dessert I paid an additional 350 yen for the gateau chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.  The chopped frozen fruit (apple pear, raspberries, and kiwi) that was used as a garnish was just so-so but the raspberry sauce drops went well with the cake.  The Jersey ice cream was rich and flavorful!

My wife went with a fish dish that she was satisfied with and for dessert went for the simpler custard pudding with vanilla ice cream.
Yesterday’s lunch was fantastic fare at Bistro Ampoule.  They were very hospitable as we arrived a bit late in the day for their lunch set but they were still more than happy to accommodate us.  I went with my standard steak and fries while my wife ordered the pepperoncino and shrimp pasta.  She was quite surprised with the generous amount of big shrimp on her plate.
On Saturday before catching a glimpse of the Yosakoi festival, we gave Sasebo Burger yet another try.  I’ll be writing more about this visit soon but I must say we walked out of there stuffed to the gills.
But about five hours later we felt like having a snack, so we wondered down to Casa del Sol’s for a Mexican treat.  Luckily, we were able to get a table, unlike our two or three previous attempts within the last four months.   Of course we ordered the guacamole and chips that we love, while my wife went with the tortilla soup and I the Mexican tacos.  As usual, everything was good and the food brought back memories of my life back in the States.
All in all we had some great food this past holiday weekend.  And I wonder why I can’t lose any more weight.