December 22, 2006, Volume 6 Number 50
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
I don't know how many of you remember how I used to marvel at the constantly changing restaurant scene. I would guess at the number of new restaurants that would enter the "food fray", which would usually coincide with the demise of eateries that couldn't sustain themselves. It (the restaurant business) is not an easy existence, but with sheer determination, personal sacrifice, hard work, and little bit of luck, a restaurant can succeed.
Something new is taking shape in Guam's restaurant world. I say "world" because we truly have an abundant diversity of ethnic cuisine options. The new thing is how restaurants are branching into "families", which happens when established eateries expand into an entirely different food concept than the original one they still operate. One example is how The Samurai Seaport is a "sibling" to Shirley's Restaurant, another is the Tony Roma's and Capricciosa family - which have been together so long that people believe they're co-joined.
Future examples are the folks at Lone Star opening up a Chili's, and the House of Brutus team opening up a new concept called Colors as well as Hooters. One of the most recent actual examples is a restaurant called The Blue Plate, which is located in Tamuning's Imperial Suites. This place is the latest venture for restaurateur Lory Tydingco, who owns The Brown Bag Cafe. Read about this amazing addition to Guam's list of must-try outlets, which is a part of a growing trend of what I see as quality establishments with key elements that are raising the bar on standards. Restaurants are getting classier, and you'll start seeing more young local chefs with culinary training working in the kitchens. I don't think the menu selections and quality of the meals being served have ever been better what are available now. It's an exciting time...you can sense it, see it and taste it if you just open your eyes!
On behalf of the staff at Guam Diner, we want to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas! Thank you for the gift of your confidence and loyalty! We appreciate this very much!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
The Blue Plate
Imperial Suites Hotel, Tamuning
"Lory Tydingco is one determined lady who knows what she likes and is on a mission to share this with a growing number of loyal customers..." This excerpt was taken from my June 2004 review of The Brown Bag Cafe, Lorie's other restaurant and it also applies most aptly to Lorie's new venture, The Blue Plate, though it is a complete departure from the healthier choice dining served at Brown Bag. Still brand new, this place has a charming, sophisticated, and appealing ambiance, with cuisine Lory calls "comfort food with a twist"! That "twist" is the brilliant ingredient combinations comprising the menu items.
I stopped in this morning and had three fantastic breakfast entrees starting with the Stuffed French Toast ($6.95). This was stuffed with juicy blueberries but you can also choose Nuttela Spread. The Stuffed French Toast was one of those eclectic items, and the thick battered bread planks had the pleasantly honeyed taste of allspice. By the way, the coffee was Illy, which is synonymous with excellent.
Next up was the Omelette Florentine with Bacon ($7.95) stuffed with spinach and potatoes and topped with a light Hollandaise sauce.
Finally, an authentic "Blue Plate Signature Dish", the Blue Plate S.O.S. ($7.50), which is their version of the classic "creamed hamburger" only it has bits of chorizo throughout. The Blue Plate S.O.S. should be a big hit with local resident and military since this is a true comfort food that mostly everyone had at one time or another. The giant slices of thick toast made from their housemade bread here are buried under this rich, creamy meat blend...it really is addictive.
The three dishes I had were representative of the limited but impressive breakfast menu offerings. All dishes were served on blue plates. There's even a blue plate outside above the entrance. I also met one of Lory's chefs, R.J. Balajadia, who attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Breakfast & lunch are served from 7am-2pm and dinner is served Monday-Saturday, from 5:30-10pm. The Sunday hours are from 7am-2pm. As with every brand new establishment, you should allow some time for them to settle into an efficient working routine.
As a teaser, I'm going to share one of their lunch items, Southern Chicken Tonkatsu ($9.95), a chicken breast rolled in Panko bread crumbs, deep fried, served over sun-dried tomato mash with white gravy on top! Or how about dinner trying out their dinner dish of Fresh Salmon Alfredo with Salmon Roe( $16.95)? See why I'm excited?!
Lone Star Steakhouse
Lone Star Steakhouse has re-opened after about a week's closure for renovation. The new floors are all shiny and the restrooms have been refurbished. Upgrades have been made in the kitchen as well. To celebrate their re-opening, they have some terrific special offers this week, such as Lunch for Two for $15, as well as all Kendall Jackson wines at 50% off!
It just so happened that the night I was there I had a craving for their 20 oz. T-Bone Steak ($28.99). Part of the promotion is a free Texas Tumbleweed with the purchase of an entree. That tumbleweed's simply too big for one person...but I did manage to put a dent in it. Then I had to eat my Caesar Salad along with those famous and delicious Lone Star hot rolls! All this before my steak arrived. I had a glass of Zinfandel followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, which was perfect with my steak and baked potato with all of the toppings. The steak was thoroughly enjoyed....it looked as if I'd used a scalpel to get all of the meat off the bone! Try to get to Lone Star to advantage of these wonderful offers.
Dhonson Plaza, Tamuning (near Josie's Tavern )
If you've not been to Sichuan Kitchen, you are missing something! I've become a regular there since I've started getting my "tastes" aligned with the Sichuan pepper. This unique, aromatic spice is used in some of the dishes served here. Though not on the menu, one of my favorite appetizers is a cold appetizer of cut long beans drizzled with a red pepper oil-based sauce and topped with chopped garlic. These are about $5 or $6. I also ordered Yang Chow Fried Rice ($6), Salt & Pepper Shrimp ($8), and Fried Half Chicken ($6.00). I bought this meal since I could make a complete meal from the leftovers.
Sichuan Kitchen is the only restaurant on Guam to serve genuine Chongching Hot Pot. Be sure to ask specifically for this when you go there to dinner with a group of friends...it is a dining adventure you will always remember! For more information on Sichuan Kitchen, read the review and check out their menus.
Ground Floor, Central Plaza Building
It's really become a task to keep up with all of the restaurants in Tumon! Now that there are about 55 Japanese restaurants (with still more on the way), you have to try to find a place where you can eat and enjoy food prepared fresh for you. One such place is a new one call Musashi, on the ground floor of the Central Building adjacent to Chuan Fu Chinese and formerly home to Simple Teppanyaki. The sushi bar is the first thing to greet you on entering and has two chefs meticulously preparing fresh sushi.. You can sit at the sushi counter, sit along the long Teppan counter, or at a free-standing table. The restaurant is run by Chef Jiro Harase who worked at the Reef a few years ago and most recently at Leo Palace.
Typical specials they've run are Kanpachi Teriyaki ($3.25), Edamame ($2.50), Shime Saba ($4.75 vinegared mackerel), Katuo Tataki ($5.50), and Aburi Sushi ($8) which is slightly grilled. From the a la carte menu, I ordered the Assorted Sushi C ($16) an assortment of Nigiri sushi, Tuna Roll, and California Roll. Little did I know this was a meal in itself!
I also ordered from the Teppan menu and opted for the Musashi Special ($12.75, for $3 more you have the set menu with salad, rice, and miso soup) which was a New York Steak, sprouts, bell peppers, and two sauces, one of which was just fantastic, made with crushed daikon radish with a kind of barbecued smoky sauce. The other was a finedene variation and a third well had rock salt. The teppan cook was really focused on the food and didn't resort to any theatrics...he was very calm and took his time preparing everything. The beef was tender and I really enjoyed being seated at the counter watching the people walking by outside. This is a cute little place with a unique personality, They are open only for dinner. Ita dake masu!
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