Saturday, December 22, 2012

Royal Coffee Shop - Narita Airport


Location:  Narita Airport Terminal 4th Floor.

I'm writing this from Narita Airport where I had a terrible meal.  It was so awful that I left most of it on the table, something I don't ever remember doing at a restaurant.  But it was worth paying the 580 yen to not finish it.

I know airport restaurants usually don't receive Michelin ratings, but I didn't expect it to be this bad.
And I ordered something simple:  the Chicken Basket.
I didn't think it was possible to screw this up, but they did.
The fries were soggy, limp, and tasteless.
The chicken nuggets, though looking as if they were over-fried, were bland.
I only ate one of the two miniature onion rings and that was the lesser of the three evils.
And when I complained they merely came out with the standard, お申し訳ありません.

I don't come to the airport often, but I know I won't ever be returning here.

**UPDATED:  Here are the photos I wanted to post.

This they couldn't do

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dec. 14th - 16th: Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck

Please read my previous posts on Happy Happy Melon Pan Truck HERE and HERE.

Location:  In front of Daiei Department Store on Chuo-dori.

Just a reminder that hot, fresh, mouth-watering melon pan will be available from tomorrow, Friday, December 14th till Sunday, December 16th.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ganesh Indian Restaurant - Nagamachi ガネーシャ 022-247-0071

Address:  仙台市太白区長町5-3-1.   This branch is located in the shopping complex above Nagamachi Subway Station and next to the Nagamachi Library.  There are other branches in Kamisugiyamadori, Tagajo, Izumi, Ishinomaki, and Sanuma.
Map:  Scroll down below.
Open:  Everyday 11 am to 9 pm.  Lunchtime is stated to end at 3 pm, but more on that later.
We discovered this franchise of Ganesh by accident while taking a stroll in Nagamachi a couple of months ago.  I had been familiar with the name of this Miyagi chain of Indian restaurants as my friend, Helen, had recommended the Kamisugiyamadori location to me some time back.  I had also passed by their old Route 45 restaurant in Tagajo almost everyday on the way to work twenty-one months ago.  But sad to say, that Tagajo restaurant was wiped out by the tsunami.
On our first visit, my wife and I both ordered the Ganesh “A” Set for 1300 yen that comes with your choice of curry, tandori chicken, saffron rice, salad, pickles, and naan.  My wife chose the vegetable curry and I, the chicken curry.  I thought it was a nice feature that we were also able to choose the degree of spiciness for the curries, with five different levels ranging from sweet to spicy.  We both went with the regular level.

Ganesh "A" Set w/Chicken Curry

Ganesh "A" Set w/Vegetable Curry

First off, I want it known that I highly recommend Ganesh, but on this first visit my first impression was that everything was good, but not great.  The tandori chicken and chicken curry both were adequate in their flavorings but they didn’t wow me.   My wife held the same sentiments for her vegetable curry.   The naan had just enough taste to hold its own, but this, too, was not an attention-getter.  We walked out of Ganesh satisified, but not exactly tickled pink.
On our next visit, we were pleasantly surprised as the waitress kindly told us, “You may order the lunch set if you’d like,” despite it being well after 4 pm when we walked in.  
I obliged with their lunch set that offers a choice of any two curries, naan, saffron rice, salad, cubed pickles, a papad, and a drink, all for 1200 yen,  while my wife stuck with the Ganesh “A” Set.  For my choice of curries, I went with the chicken curry and the chicken butter marsala curry, which is made from a tomato and cashew base.  

Lunch Set w/Chicken Curry and Chicken Butter Marsala

On first bite, I fell in love with the chicken butter marsala!  It was creamy, sweet, and delicious!!!  I couldn’t stop eating it.  I felt bad for the regular chicken curry, while although tasting better than the last time, it just couldn’t compare with the butter marsala.
The naan was also better than on our last visit, with a deeper, rich tasting flavor. I enjoyed the salad and the cubed pickles, but not so much the papad (a cracker made from lentils) nor the saffron rice.  But those are on me, as I don’t like lentils and have yet to eat a serving of saffron rice that I thought was good.  It must be my pickiness, yet again.  
I requested an orange juice for my drink and was rather disappointed that it tasted like the orange drink Tang, rather than real O.J.
My wife was also more impressed with this visit and stated that her veggie curry and naan were better than the first time.  Ganesh was starting to look promising.
Now on to our latest visit.  We entered just before 5 pm and again were told that the lunch set menu was still available.
Both my wife and I ordered the same thing we had asked for on our last visit, but this time the tables were turned on the curry front.  On this day, the regular chicken curry was the star of the show, while the butter marsala, while very good in its own right, took second billing.
And the naan just kept getting better and better.  I love great tasting naan that can be eaten by itself, and this third time was the best of the three.  
Another nicety was afforded to us on this day.  My better half is a chai lover and was going to order it as an after dinner beverage.  The waitress asked my wife if she would like a drink as サービズ.  We thought she meant that a drink from the lower priced beverage menu would be given as part of the service, so my wife thanked her but declined, stating that she would rather pay for the higher price chai.  The waitress said, “Chai, it is.  No charge.”  Actually, she said something else in Japanese, but that’s what she meant.

Complimentary Chai

Unfortunately, the chai wasn’t the best my wife has tasted, but it was the best free chai she's tasted, so that's say something, I guess.
Although Ganesh’s flavors have not been consistent, they do satisfy and seem to keep getting better and better.  If you are not a big eater, the chicken curry from their “Naan Set” for 600 yen might be a good bargain.
There is no free parking available, but you can park in the library’s underground parking lot for 100 yen per thirty minutes.
This review is only directed towards Ganesh’s Nagamachi branch, but I look forward to trying the others soon.  Hope you do the same!

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