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July 14, 2006, Volume 6 Number 28


Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,

One thing I've watched over the past six years of my doing restaurant reviews is the steady increase in the number of restaurants as well as in the variety of types. There are more coffee shop cafes than ever before, and there's never been a time until now when we've had both Greek and Persian.

We've got to remember that this is still a little rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and we're talking about having Indian, Greek, Persian, Italian, French, Mexican, and German, in addition to the cuisines of our nearby Asian neighbors - Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Filipino. Maybe it doesn't register with some of you, but if you were here in the early Sixties, you would have never believed that there would be such a diverse array of restaurants like we have on Guam today.

What's also interesting (to me, at least) is that there are several hotels that will be expanding their restaurant offerings, with some looking to really "raise the bar" on quality and elegance. I believe we are all going to be quite pleased with the future restaurant choices we'll have available. I'm sure you'll be seeing some nationally-recognized brands coming out this way. In the meantime, there's plenty of good eating to enjoy right now, and if you'd like a quick tour of the most recent recommendations, just check out the last five newsletters in the archives. I'm sure you'll find more than enough to satisfy your appetite for more and different things to eat!

Yours in great dining!
Ken, The "Guam Food Guy"

Notable Events & Mentions

La Mirenda at the Hyatt Guam celebrates Bastille Day (French Independence) on Friday July 14 with a 'Fete Nationale'. The restaurant will offer a savory selection of French delicacies from beef bourguignon and orange duck medallions to crepe suzettes and French apple tarts - all the fabulous flavors of France. Lunch ($22.50/adult) and Dinner ($37/adult), with Club at the Hyatt discounts available. Reservations at 647-1234 ext 4200.

Joinus Teppanyaki will be closing next week for renovations and refurbishment. Joinus is Guam's oldest continuously operating Teppanyaki restaurant and has been in business since the early 70's. It's closure has much to do with the expansion of the Tumon Sands Shopping Center, where Joinus is located. This popular restaurant is expected to re-open in October or November. We'll keep you posted.

Gan Day Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant opened this week in Tumon, next to Marty's and behind Chung Hae Korean BBQ, on Fujita Road. Gan Day is a Vietnamese word meaning "nearby". They are offering a Grand Opening Special Buffet every day, from 11am-2:30pm, for only $6.99, including Iced Tea. Their phone number is 646-5905.

Genji - Lunches that Impress

If you're looking to impress someone for a business lunch or just to treat yourself, you can't go wrong at Genji Japanese Restaurant, located in the Hilton Guam. I recently had the Steak & Seafood Lunch Combo ($24) since I wanted the best of both worlds. I should inject a word of caution...the Steak & Seafood Combo, as well as all the lunch entrees, include trips to a quite elaborate appetizer buffet replete with many Japanese specialty dishes. This means you should try to limit the number of sushi rolls, sashimi, etc. you eat so you can save room for the main course.

One thing I particularly enjoy about sitting at the teppan counter is how your order is displayed before it is cooked, which in this case had the seafood organized in rows of scallops, salmon, and prawns; then the raw vegetable line-up of red and green bell pepper strips, cabbage, and sprouts arrayed next to the beef strip loin made a treat for the eyes!

The teppan cooks then go through their grilling ceremony, working the food segment by segment, until it's all cooked and plated, ready for consumption. Of course, I like the photo opportunity of the just-finished dish...the only thing not captured by the camera is the taste. With fried garlic added later (they also make a mean garlic fried rice), I can't think of any thing else I could add to make this better. It is a quality meal, and when you include that appetizer buffet, you're matching quality with quantity. As I said earlier, it's a treat! Call 646-DINE for reservations.

La Brasserie's Asian Buffet - A Diner's Delight

One of Tumon's best-kept secrets for value buffets is La Brasserie's Asian Buffet ($10.95 + 10%). Located in the Holiday Resort Guam, La Brasserie's ornate and elaborate dining room is like sitting in the grand hall of a palace. They have done a really good job of using decorative plants to separate tables and create more intimate spaces.

The Asian food literally comes from all over the map with Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Thai all interspersed and changing every day. Today's feast included Poached Chicken, Pan Fried Noodles Korat Style, Beef Vegetables in Red Curry, Fresh Lumpia, Fried Squid Ring with Herb Garlic, Basa Fillet Marinara Sauce, Pork Ginger Saute, Tom Yun Kun (with lots of shrimp), Chicken Satay, Fried Egg Rolls, Vegetable Egg Fu Young, Grilled Short Ribs, plus salad bar, ice cream station, and dessert bar.

One thing that struck me during this meal is how authentic the individual flavors of each cuisine were. This is due to Executive Chef Philip Duong's mastery of Asian cooking. His satay and curries are genuine. The fresh lumpia was excellent as was the Pork Ginger, Tom Yun Kun, Poached Chicken and Beef Vegetables in Red Curry. La Brasserie's service staff are also very much on top of things, so you won't run out of iced tea and your used plates are removed efficiently. I can't wait for my next La Brasserie dining adventure. 647-7272 ext 214 is the number to call for reservations.

Manhattan Steakhouse - Steak Tartar Promotion

There are those who get nervous when they hear about Steak Tartar - this fear originated with the Mongols, since legend has it that these hearty warriors gained strength from eating spiced raw beef. Well, there's nothing to fear but fear itself, especially since the Steak Tartar served at the Marriott's Manhattan Steakhouse is Certified Angus Beef.

We recently stopped by for dinner at Manhattan with our visiting guest, Steven Candries, Export Manager for Guylian Chocolates of Belgium. The Steak Tartar appetizer promotion offers Traditional Steak Tartar for $12, as well as a Japanese, Chinese, and Thai styles of Steak Tartar at $12 each. We decided this was a good way to start the meal and ordered the Steak Tartar Fusion ($15) a sampler of all four.

This came with wonton wrappers are fried into crispy bread wafers on which you can spread your tartar blend. The Japanese version was more of a Steak Tataki, and the Thai and Chinese each had spice blends and accompanying sauces typical to their cuisine, with the Chinese using Chinese hot mustard. Since the secret to tartar is the use of spices, the flavors of the beef are enhanced by the spices, thus there's no "raw beefy" taste that you'd get if you'd eaten unspiced beef. It's close to impossible to get Steak Tartar on Guam with the closest is the Korean raw beef dish, yukhae, so I highly recommend to all foodies to get down to the Marriott for dinner to try this intriguing offering.

The main entree I had turned out to be more than I could finish. It was the huge 24 oz. Porterhouse Steak ($34). The presentation of this steak was notable, since the steak is literally "spruced up" with a fresh sprig of rosemary that's planted in the middle of the steak. This fabulous steak was enjoyed for two more days as leftovers!

The service at Manhattan was attentive and proactive, so we never ran out of nor needed anything. Dinner was memorable, and photos and positive comments about it have already crossed continents. There is also a new appetizer line up for Manhattan Steakhouse, which we will feature soon.

Dim Sum Wednesdays At The Marriott Cafe

There is no better dim sum value available on Guam than what you can enjoy at the Marriott Resort's Marriott Cafe, where I recently had the Lunch Buffet ($18 +10% SC). If you've been on island for more than six years, you will know of the famous husband and wife duo, Leland and LeFin Feng, who were noted for Guam's best dim sum at the Lotus Garden in the old Pacific Star, precursor of the Marriott. Fortunately for us, they are still creating magical dim sum at the Marriott Cafe on Wednesdays.

Since the review I did a few months back, they have added a variety of totally new dim sum dishes, such as smoked fish in Chinese wine sauce, marinated baby squid and baby octopus. I had a few extraordinary pieces, including scallop atop tofu, fried shumai, and a combination chicken roll that had ham and shiitake mushroom. My favorite is still the shrimp dumpling.

There had to be about 18 different dim sum offered, plus a full-on buffet of international fare including a live grilled seafood station, and a lineup of about 10 hot entrees including Beef Button Mushroom, Chicken Curry, Roast Pork, and Grilled Basa Lemon Butter Sauce. I should just say "plus, plus, plus", since there are salads, soups, sushi rolls, sashimi, breads, and desserts.

This Dim Sum promotion continues by popular demand! Once you go there, you'll really understand that it's a "dim sum fiesta", since you can return as many times as you like. If you are a dim sum aficionado, you won't be disappointed, for lunch or for dinner.

Bon appetit!

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