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August 28, 2009, Volume 9 Number 18

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Last week I became a victim of one of those random robberies that have been occurring with an alarming frequency. My car was broken into while I was attending a Guam Girl Scouts Board of Director's Meeting at the Girl Scout Center in Tamuning. It came as a complete shock to find the passenger side's front window shattered and my briefcase missing. Having my digital camera stolen was bad, but not as bad as all the personal items that are irreplaceable. The photos of the lunch I had earlier that day at the picturesque Country Club of the Pacific will have to be taken over. Suffice it to say that Executive Chef Nick Celis has done a commendable job in preparing some very delicious and creative entrees and appetizers (the spicy chicken wings and hamburger steak) that are so good you'll want to come back and try again. To the perpetrator of this criminal act I have one thing to say: "Shame on you!"

In keeping with our recent meanderings about our past, I was delighted to re-read a passage from our August 25, 2006 GuamDiner Newsletter's intro that had some timely relevance to current restaurant news and events, which I'd like to share below:

"Over the past 6 years I've chronicled a lot about restaurant openings and closings, however, I don't think I can remember hearing more about new restaurant openings than I've heard in recent weeks. In the next 12 to 18 months, we expect to see several new restaurants like Proa in the old Ypao Store, Colours and national chains like Chili's, Hooter's, and Bubba Gump. There will be as yet unnamed new restaurants as the Sheraton takes over the Palace Hotel, and you can expect to see new outlets at the Guam Plaza Hotel, the Marriott Resort, and the Hotel Santa Fe. There will even be a new restaurant in the same Tamuning location near Cost-U-Less that previously was the home of Duangdee Thai Cuisine, which recently closed. And, there's much excitement at Chamorro Village where former PDN Lifestyle writer, Jojo Santo Tomas will be opening "Adobo". There are even rumors about IHOP coming to Guam - that's International House of Pancakes for those who don't know."

Well, IHOP and Bubba Gump's aren't here yet, and Andaman Thai Restaurant has since opened and closed in the Monticello Plaza housing Cost-U-Less. One of the most significant events that will be happening as soon as next week will take place in the heart of Tumon's Pleasure Island with the unveiling of a new steak & seafood restaurant that will replace the venerable icon, Sam Choy's Guam. Read more about this in today's newsletter. As I've said before, change is constant in Guam's dining scene.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

Sam Choy's Guam To Become Sea Grill Restaurant

On September 1, one of the island's most notable high-profile restaurants will become a thing of the past. Sam Choy's Guam will become Sea Grill Guam, a restaurant that will be offering succulent seafood and tender steaks. Executive Chef John Fernandez will head up the culinary team at Sea Grill Guam which will feature a menu that changes weekly. There will be some transitioning of the menu so that some local favorite dishes will remain, however, Chef John will have the benefit of using fresh herbs and vegetables from their own kitchen garden that will be augmented by fresh local produce whenever feasible.

The Tail of the Whale Bar & Grill will still serve local favorites and will continue to offer live entertainment, including Jessie & Ruby and Monica and Lingo.

A new tapas lounge will also open on the 4th floor of the UnderWater World Building, on top of the Tail of the Whale Bar. It will be called the Surface Lounge Tenbou (celebrating Guam's Spanish heritage). To stay abreast of these exciting changes and more, check out their website I'm looking forward to trying out those tapas that Chef John and his team have been perfecting!

Lolah's Restaurant
Day's Inn Hotel

When it comes to "bang for the buck", it's hard to beat the menu selection at Lolah's Restaurant during lunch, where for $9.95 you can treat yourself to an all-you-can-eat salad bar buffet with hot soup and dessert, including iced tea, and your choice of a hot entree. These "hot entrees" include Grilled Pork Chops, Pork Ginger, Fried Chicken, Chamorro Chop Steak, Homemade Hamburger Steak, Mahi Mahi Dor'e, Deep Fried Tilapia, Breaded Basa Fillet, Tempura Shrimp, Beef Steak with Onion, Chicken Cutlet, Pork Cutlet, Chicken Teriyaki, and more.

I had lunch there the other day with my pare Joe Barcinas. We enjoyed the salad bar, especially the local eggplant grilled in coconut milk aka finadene birenghenas. They didn't have the chicken kelaguen that's normally there, yet the salad bar has enough to satisfy regardless. We had the Grilled Pork Chops and the Fried Chicken. I appreciate the single scoop of rice with the main entree, as it is just enough - in fact - considering all the food that's served, it's plenty

The Fried Chicken was well-seasoned and cooked to juicy perfection. I think I've made the Grilled Pork Chops my favorite, since I seem to order it all the time. I guess I'm hooked on the grilled flavor of pork as opposed to the more typical frying, which is not nearly as healthy. I don't know why I talk about health when I also indulge in Lolah's Crispy Pata (Deep Fried Pork Knuckle, $12). Lolah's makes the best, and it is complemented with Mang Tomas dipping sauce. The food at Lolah's is ma serap!

Manhattan Steakhouse
Dine & Ride IV Revs Up
Guam Marriott Resort & Spa

The Dine & Ride IV Dinner Promotion has launched at the Manhattan Steakhouse, with the full dinner menu qualifying as items to enter to win the Harley-Davidson motorcycle grand prize. Appetizers like the Classical Style Steak Tartare, Oysters Rockefeller, Pan Fried Foie Gras, Homemade Gravlax, and Giant Shrimp Cocktail await your discerning palate. Or, if you prefer Lobster Bisque Surprise, Five Onion Soup, and New England Clam Chowder are all excellent choices.

Don't forget to peruse the family of high quality Certified Angus Beef Steaks just waiting to be seared to your temperature preference. This is fine dining galore!

Among desserts are such treats as their signature Baked Alaska, Raspberry Compote and Ice Cream, A Sweet Taste of Micronesia, Jack Fruit Cheesecake, and aptly named after dinner drinks like Wild Hog Irish Coffee and the Spanish Side-Car (made with Kahlua, Tia Maria, Illy Coffee and fresh whipped cream).

Go to the Manhattan Steakhouse for dinner and get the royal treatment - who knows, you could even win a Harley Davidson!

Sushi Ebisu -$10 Lunch Specials

I have to give a shout out to Chef Fumiya Nakamura, owner/chef of Sushi Ebisu for his consistently offering a high quality value-priced lunch from Monday-Friday, 11am-1:30pm. I had the Chicken Cutlet, which comes with maguro tuna sashimi, salad, pickles, steamed rice, and miso soup. There are other choices such as Grilled Salmon or Mackerel, as well as Pork Cutlet, Shrimp, Oysters, and Squid. You can order one of your favorite American-style sushi rolls such as the Rainbow, Spider, or Alaska. This is sushi worth sharing! Domo arrigato, Fumi-san.

Doraku Restaurant
Pia Resort 1F

I can't believe it's been 5 years since my first review of this great little izakaya! I was somewhat shocked to realize that I'd not been to Doraku for some time, either. Zee & I went (her first time) and we had a very satisfying experience. Chef/owner Hideyuki Otsuka has kept this restaurant open by serving fresh and tasty Japanese dishes that are affordably priced. For some people, it may be hard to locate since you have to drive up behind the DFS Galleria past R&C Tours to get to the Pia Resort. It's the parking that's more of a challenge than finding the place. Don't worry, though, the food will more than compensate for any inconvenience!

The first item we ordered was the Kawa-ebi Karage (Fried Fresh Water Baby Shrimp $6.50). This has only increased in price by $.50 since I first had it in 2004! You get a generous pile of these quick-fried crunchy crustaceans that are sweet and juicy to taste. You just have to get past the legs and antennae which are all edible. It's a lot of fun eating these with an Asahi beer. They come with a side salad. I think every table in the restaurant had an order of these crunchy delights. It's easy to see why they are a house favorite!

We ordered the Seafood Salad ($10) next. This is a fairly large salad suitable for two or more people to share. It had tuna, salmon, and yellowtail mixed in with the house salad dressing and sprinkled with tobiko and strips of nori. I don't know if it was due to a shortage of ingredients, as this version didn't have the squid and octopus that I had the first time. The server did inform that they were out of certain sashimi ingredients, so that could be the reason.

Our Sake Shio (Grilled Salmon $8) came next. This is something I just enjoy ordering when coming to any small izakaya. The local lemon wedge adds a unique taste to this full-flavored fish, to which I also add a little shoyu.

Our last item seemed to be proportionately larger. It was the Tonkatsu (Breaded Pork $7). This also came with a house salad. I enjoy this classic breaded, fried pork which I enjoy a variety of dishes with Katsu-don being my ultimate. The panko breading is golden brown crisped and encapsulated the pork, keeping the juices intact. The dipping sauce that accompanies it is called "Chuno", which is made from tomatoes, apples, vinegar, sugar, salt and caramel. I'm used to having the generic tonkatsu sauce, however, this sauce has more flavor and I really appreciated trying it with the pork cutlet.

Doraku is open Monday-Saturday from 6pm-11pm when the last order can be made. I promise not to wait so long to return for more tasty treats at Doraku!

Main Street Delicatessen & Bakery
130 Herman Cortez Avenue (next to Mandarin Restaurant)

I've been meaning to stop by the Main Street Delicatessen & Bakery for some time and finally made it happen! It's a delightful little restaurant, bakery, and cafe, which serves fresh, delicious, and affordable meals that are made to order. One of the key elements of this restaurant is that everything here is family. It was family that started the bakery in the beginning and the legacy and tradition of quality has carried on through generations. That's something that distinguishes this Hagatna eatery from the others.

I wasn't sure what I was going to order so I asked my server Bernie what she recommended and one of her suggestions was their signature sandwich, the Main Street Gigantium Burger ($7.75). This bad boy is an 8 oz. homemade burger patty cooked with a grilled portobella mushroom, sauteed onions, provolone cheese, and mixed greens. I was asked about temperature and also what my Cinda bread choice would be, white or wheat. The wheat was chosen and let me tell you, it was definitely a burger to remember. I also upgraded this to a lunch combo ($10) to include iced tea and spicy curly fries. The burger was very thick and reminded me of meat loaf, well-seasoned with a solid consistency. The sauteed onions imparted a sweetness that enhanced the burger.

I also ordered the soup of the day which was Aroz Caldo (Small $2). This came in a small Styrofoam cup and was quite good. I did taste this and brought it home, just as I did the burger. Why? Because the other sandwich Bernie recommended was the Monte Cristo ($7.50), which comes with Ham & Turkey, Cucumber, Jalapeno Aioli with a hint of mustard, and mixed greens, all squeezed between two pan seared slices of their Cinda Bread. This trademark Cinda bread has a lot of integrity - it doesn't fall apart and really makes these sandwiches great! I could only eat half of this superb sandwich as the turkey and ham slices were thick as was the provolone. I don't think any one here knows the meaning of "thin-sliced" and that's a blessing, not a curse!

Now I want to try all their other sandwiches, like the Main Street Steak Sandwich, the Pastrami, Roast Beef, and Chicken Sandwiches. They have wraps, too, like the Shrimp Scampi Wrap ($7), the Honey Shrimp Wrap ($9.75) and a Spinach & Chicken Roll-up ($7.25). For those with vegetarian preferences, they have the Veggie Stacker ($7.50), made with grilled zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, mixed greens, salt & pepper tofu, and sweet chili relish. Even that even sounds appealing to me! Salads here include the Asian, Spinach, and Caesar.

I also found out that they open at 5:30am, serve illy cafe espresso drinks, as well as Peet's coffee (house blend), and have breakfast items, such as French Toast with Egg ($4.25), Omelets, Croissants, and Breakfast sandwiches. I did buy a dessert item to take home. It was the Pecan Tarts (8pcs/$3). Did I tell you they were good? There's only three left and they're moving fast!

Main Street Delicatessen and Bakery is owned by Tina Perez and is a partnering of the Perez and Toves families. The chefs cooking my lunch were Ralph Balajadia and Art Hopkens. My other server and general advisor was Jay Toves who is a reservoir of knowledge about their many products, including their popular CindaBread Pantostas. They have Wi-Fi here and very comfortable leather seats and over-sized tables. It's the kind of place you don't want to leave. They say it's "A CindaKid Production". Bravo!

Bon appetit!

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