September 21, 2007, Volume 7 Number 38
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It's truly remarkable that we have so many restaurants on Guam and Saipan. Our current data indicates that there are 537 restaurants on Guam and about 180 on Saipan. The breakdown of ethnic cuisines on Guam is astonishing with 61 Japanese restaurants, 52 Chinese, 42 Korean, 29 Italian, 26 Vietnamese, 26 Filipino, 13 Thai, 2 Indian, and 2 French. One of the largest segments is considered "American", which includes the major fast food and quick serve restaurants (like Denny's) as well. There are 85 in this category. The trend is that the number will continue to increase just as the economy keeps expanding with the population increasing.
By this time next week many of you will have had an opportunity to visit or hear about Tumon's latest addition, the long-awaited and much-anticipated "King & I Thai Cuisine", which will be opening early next week. Located in the Blue Lagoon Plaza, King & I represents a significant investment by owner Sue Richardson and demonstrates her confidence in Guam's bright future. The King & I will feature an authentic Thai dance troupe, along with a lunch buffet and an extensive a la carte menu of your favorite Thai food.
Another new restaurant that is opening soon is the second location expansion for the Java Hut Cafe, which will be in Tamuning's Oka Plaza. A novel Japanese eatery opened recently in Tumon called Kyo-Bu, that specializes in okonomiyaki, which is a cross between a pizza and a pancake and is featured in today's issue.
There's just no end to new restaurants coming our way. I guess you could say that we at GuamDiner.com have our work cut out for us. I'll have to take smaller bites if I'm going to cover these new eateries! As I constantly say, it's a tough job and somebody has to do it!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Former Guam Residents Congregate
at Island Roots in Arizona
I had a pleasant surprise this past Sunday while watching the movie "3:10 to Yuma" at the MicMall Theatre. It came in the form of a cell phone call from my brother, Lee, who lives in Glendale, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix). He then put former GuamCell executive Jay Shedd on the line, who was followed by his lovely wife, Sheila, who was at the Guam Hilton before the family relocated to the "Valley of the Sun." They were having dinner with a group of other former Guam residents at a Chamorro restaurant called "Island Roots", located in Tempe. This restaurant specializes in island-style BBQ and has such local favorites as SPAM Musubi, Chicken Kelaguen, Shrimp Patties, Loco Moco, Chicken Adobo, Pancit, Bulgogi, Kadon Pika and Red Rice! Island Roots has been open for about a year and is quickly becoming a magnet for those craving a "Taste of Guam". It is owned by Frank Santos. Now that you know where they are, you have another mainland place to go to for "red rice and kelaguen!" [Photo Front Row l-r: Terese Mendiola holding son, Zachary; Ann Marie Volta; Kayleigh Heather. Middle Row l-r: Sheila Shedd; Joe Mendiola; Lee Stewart; Barbara Stewart; Zane Heather; Alex Heather. Back Row l-r: Jay Shedd; Tom Ahillen; Deb Ahillen; Tony Cruz; John Heather; Ellen Heather; Frank Santos, owner of Island Roots.]
Park Arcade, 1st Floor (across from Hyatt)
This is another example of importing a piece of Japan to Guam, and in this case, it's a big piece of Kyoto-style Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese-style pancake that looks like a pizza (it's called a pizza on the menu). Open for just over a month, Kyo-Bu is owned by Yoshinori Okishio.
Kyo-Bu has large booths, small tables and a counter where you can sit. The menu is really simple, the Okonomiyaki aka pizza is $9 with beef or pork topping. Other toppings ($1.50 for each addition) include Spam, potatoes, cuttlefish, welsh onion (leeks), shrimp, and cheese. Other items include Yakisoba ($9), with the Seafood Fried Noodle priced at $12. The Yakisoba came plain and without meat so it could be considered for a vegetarian choice. It was pretty good. They have special noodles they make fresh.
We did have an appetizer of Spicy Bean Sprouts ($4.50), which came out on a mini-sizzling platter. These were certainly aromatic! And a bit "pika" too!
I ordered a Peach Chu-Hai, which proved to be the perfect compliment for our meal.
The Okonomiyaki is their pride and joy, and they have an assembly-line set up with griddles where they prepare the meals. Promoted on the window facing the parking lot, Okonomiyaki combines cabbage, seasoned vegetables, flour, and seafood or meat, and is complimented by a special Okonomiyaki sauce made without preservatives. There are sauces on the table you can add, as well as mayonnaise, which is what I've become accustomed to using when I eat Okonomiyaki.
Kyo-Bu is sure to become a popular hang-out, with lunch served from 11:30am- 3pm and dinner served from 5-10pm daily. This is Japanese Fast Food at it's best - Ita dake masu!
The Mermaid Tavern and Grille
The Great Deep Brewing Company is already well on its way to legendary status. There are people who will come back to Guam just to return to the Mermaid Tavern and there are plenty of local residents who are regulars too! The reasons for this loyalty are plenty. For me, it's the food! The Lamb Gyro ($9.50) just about does it all for me when I'm out for a Greek experience. I love pita bread, and they fill it up with delicately-seasoned, tender slices of lamb, red onion, cucumber, tomato, and tatziki sauce. It is accompanied by a salad that has Kalamata olives, pepperocini, cucumber, tomato, a little feta, and dressing.
The good news that the Mermaid Tavern is now open for lunch on Saturday! Now I can enjoy a range of options that weren't available in Hagatna or anywhere else (aside from Jeff's Pirates's Cove). The Greek Salad Topped with Chicken ($11.50) is a wonderful way to eat a lighter, healthier lunch. Other choices for toppings are shrimp and lamb.
The Tavern's Gumbo, Quesadillas, Gourmet Pizzas, Burgers, Fish Sandwiches (Blackened Ahi Sandwich), Po Boy's, Rueben and Falafel Wrap are just a few of the "big hitters" on the Tavern's Lunch Menu lineup. There are daily specials, too!. The Tavern's definitely here to stay. It's a "safe" bet!!
Hy's Steak House
Holiday Resort, Lobby Level
Hy's Steak House has gone Italian for weekday lunch - talk about a "Power Lunch!" This place has that classy atmosphere that makes even a casual lunch seem important. The lunch menu features a selection of Italian dishes that are prepared to both impress and satisfy.
We had the Carpaccio di Manzo alla Hy's, a cold beef carpaccio with shredded parmesan cheese and olive oil ($10) and the Carpaccio di Tonno, a lovely tuna carpaccio with lemon, capers and olive oil ($9), as appetizers, along with baskets of rolls. We all preferred the tuna as it's hard to beat that lemon and caper combination!
For a main course, I had the Fettuccine alla Contadina featuring Italian sausage, fresh tomato sauce, and fresh mushroom ($12). This was pretty good, with a portion size that was more than adequate. The recipes and taste definitely have an Italian authenticity to them.
I'll have to return for other entrees, such as Spaghetti Vongole, Penne Al Pomodoro, Cottoletta alla Milanese (beef steak Milanese-style), or Salmon al Prosecco.
It is really a very stylish menu, and is certainly in keeping with the high stature of the dinner menu's elaborate selections. Lunch service is from 11am-2pm, with reservations recommended.
Le Tasi Bistro
New Marina Hotel
"The pleasure of a fine table" This simple saying is their motto and exactly what you get when you eat at Le Tasi Bistro, which I consider to be one of the island's best restaurants.
Dinner doesn't have to be an elaborate affair - it can just be a series of small plate appetizers. One of them happens to be the Bruschetta con Tomate e Basilica ($6.50). This is the best I've had on island! Maybe because the local tomatoes were still full of life energy so that the sea salt brings out even more sweetness. Or maybe the fresh basil and garlic Chef Bertrand used with the olive oil and a dash of Balsamic vinegar brought out finer tastes that were hidden before!
Another divine appetizer is the Pate de Campagne ($7.50), which is home-made pate served with toast and gherkin pickles. The smooth consistency and rich flavor of the pate on the toast is edifying.
Though I've eaten here quite frequently, I don't recall having the salmon, so I ordered it. It is lightly sizzled and is served with a cream sauce ($18.75). The skin was left intact and grilled to a crisp. I was given an option of sauted vegetables by Chef Bertrand, who advocated a little healthier course for me (instead of the usual rich and extremely scrumptious scalloped potatoes).
Le Tasi Bistro is a place we consider "home." We love the food and the people who work there. If you've not yet been there for dinner, go for the Rack of Lamb or the French Onion Soup. Be sure to save room for desserts. Their cheesecakes, coconut cream, blueberry, and banana cream pies are superb!
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