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April 8, 2011, Volume 11 Number 7

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Due to an unexpected, though not bad, event, this week's newsletter will be abbreviated. We will send one next week with additional write-ups that were scheduled for today's run. Truly, there is a never-ending list of great places to write about on Guam and we are indeed fortunate for that fact. Not every place is so blessed!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday April 9, 2011

Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-Noon. Our first hour guests will feature James Park, General Manager of Sushi Rock Guam, the brand new sushi restaurant in the Micronesia Mall's theatre wing.

In our second hour, we'll welcome Jimmy & Gemini of Izaka-Ya By Jimmy, followed by Gary and Sue Huck of Pier 65 Pub & Grill.

Feel free to participate by calling *57 on your cell phone or 477-5757. I'm sure we are going to have a lively conversation and restaurants and food are things about which everyone has an opinion!

Jazz Up Your Night!
14th Annual Auction & Wine Tasting Event to benefit the Guam Girl Scouts
Hyatt Regency Guam
April 29, 2011

Marriott Cafe Launches Friday Indian Lunch Buffet
Guam Marriott Resort

The Marriott Cafe has recently added a spicy new lunch buffet on Fridays to augment their successful Dim Sum Wednesday Lunch Buffet. With the launch of this fabulous buffet, diners will enjoy an introduction to one of the world's greatest culinary traditions, the flavors and tastes of India. At $15+SC for locals, you can sample a variety of popular Indian dishes such as Palak & Tomato Paneer, Chicken Tikka Masala, Andhra Fish Curry, crispy Pappadam flat bread, various chutneys, and more with a menu selection that changes weekly.

Everyone must try a refreshing Rose Lassi (a yogurt-based beverage) that will soothe the palate while your taste buds are being tantalized by all of the richly aromatic and spiced entrees. This specialty buffet is part of the Marriott Cafe's regular International spread of salads, with a live grilling station, hot food entrees, appealing appetizers, soups, breads, and desserts. It's definitely a value well worth savoring!

Vitale's Italian Ristorante
The Plaza, 2nd Floor

We recently dined with a friend from off-island at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Vitale's. Serving more than 34 different spaghetti and pasta dishes, Vitale's has something for everyone, including Ravioli, Tortellini, Cannoloni (with or without meatballs), Manicotti, Lasagna, Fettuccine, Lasagna, Linguine, Clam, Veal Parmiagana, and a family of Spaghettis. They also offer up serves pizzas and a fantastic, belly-busting range of submarine sandwiches---try the "King" with pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, sausage for $7.95.

We shared one of Vitale's Deluxe 10" Pizzas (a "small" in Vitale-world) for $17, which was topped with cheese, ham, onions, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers and mushrooms. It is a delicious combination of ingredients with the right amount of marinara on a perfectly baked thin crust.

For my entree I had my regular Spaghetti Pepperocino & Garlic ($12.95) simply tossed in olive oil. This is as flavorful as it is colorful, and the red and green peppers are sweeter than they are fiery. You'll have to add some red pepper flakes to bring the temperature up on this dish! I also had a Side Link Italian Sausage (house made no less!) smothered in a rich chunky marinara ($4).

Every entree at Vitale's comes with a basket of oven fresh garlic bread. Everything here's so genuinely delicious and so filling you gotta take some home. Try Vitale's---you can't go wrong!

Revolving Restaurant 360
8th Floor Marianas Business Plaza
Susupe, Lauru Loop
Saipan, MP

I recently visited Saipan and one of my stops was at Revolving Restaurant 360 where I met my old friend and colleague, Chef Hubert Friedle, who has been a consulting chef for the restaurant.

I was in the mood for a good steak and Hubert had arranged an appetizer salad that one of his promising understudies had prepared. It was a toasted sesame seed encrusted Salmon Filet on a bed of fresh greens with a wasabi dressing.

This was quite good, however, I was truly overwhelmed by the 16 oz. CAB Ribeye Steak ($36) that followed including baked potato with all the fixings plus steamed vegetables and fried zucchini wedges. This was a magnificent cut of beef, optimally marbled and grilled to perfection. Hubert was amazed that I ate the entire thing!

He then introduced me to his young protege, Redentor "BHOIE" Hernandez. Not surprisingly, Hubert is very pleased with the energy and skill sets of this talented chef. It's not everyday that you get someone as experienced as Chef Hubert sharing his knowledge and skills in developing this next generation of chefs.

Sushi Rock Guam
Ground Floor Micronesia Mall (across from Cold Stone Creamery)

Sushi Rock Guam has landed on island and I believe the people of Guam will love it. With the profusion of "wanna be Sushi" restaurants flourishing locally that are not traditionally enough Japanese for us "purists", it's about time that someone got serious about the issue of quality and came up with a workable concept combining the best of traditional sushi with some new twists that will earn the begrudging respect of us sushi die-hards while pleasing those who love to try new things.

Located in the space formerly occupied by Chili's, Sushi Rock Guam is owned by David Pak (American Vintage at GPO) and operated by General Manager James Park. James is the secret ingredient to the success of this restaurant, as he brings with him the requisite experience of having owned a Sushi Rock restaurant and others in San Francisco. Sushi Rock Guam was developed in California as part of a culinary trend to meet the demand of a sophisticated yuppie population's appetite for unique and diverse dining adventures. Guam's Sushi Rock is sleek with appealing visual graphics and signage, as well as t-shirts with colorful logos. The booths offer privacy and there is a sushi counter where you can see the sushi chefs work their magic.

Sushi Rock Guam, according to Park, offers diners a "California fusion of authentic Japanese inspired cuisine" with a special twist. The sauces used are balanced and not overwhelming like some of the thick pasty mayo-based sauces that abound at some other sushi-focused restaurants here. Sushi Rock's sauces definitely complement their rolls rather than overwhelm them.

I had the opportunity to have lunch at Sushi Rock and was greeted by owner David whom I've known for years. I was seated and attended to quickly by a very pleasant server, Lyra. I ordered a small Sapporo ($4) and began the task of browsing through an overbearingly large menu selection. Frankly, it will take time and several visits to get familiar with this menu, but it's super and they mean business. I went on the conservative side and ordered some standards to get a feel for the quality and execution of classics like Salmon Maki ($4.95), Hamachi Yellow Tail ($5.95), Tempura Roll ($5.75), and the not-so-typical Flaming Dragon ($14.50). The Salmon Maki was six pieces which were good and I was later informed that I could have substituted smoked salmon if I'd requested it. The Hamachi came from the Nigiri sushi section of the menu and these were two over-sized pieces of fresh yellowtail.

The Tempura Roll was so-so, only because I don't know why I ordered this and ended up picking out the insides (vegetables and shrimp) and leaving the rice having consumed too much rice from my other orders.

The main event was the Flaming Dragon, which Lyra brought out on a platter. It was foil wrapped with flames coming out the bottom - talk about a spectacle and presentation! Once you opened it up, you can see the shrimp tempura, crab topped with eel and avocado, which had been flamed with vodka! Far from traditional, this was an interesting and different way of enjoying sushi.

My neighbors had two lunch Bento Boxes, one a 2-Choice Combo for $9.99, and the other a 3-Choice Combo ($11.99). You select your combo from several options. They had also ordered the Lion King ($11.95), which had crab and avocado in the center layered with salmon and baked spicy mayo tobiko. It was also foil-wrapped from baking. I had a piece that literally melted in my mouth like butter!

Sushi Rock Guam's menu is loaded with specialty rolls with names like Elvis, Vegas, Hon, Hollywood, Oh Yes, Mango, Crispy Alaska, Summer Breeze, Dynasis, Drunken Tiger, and Kappa Sashimi. The menu features Noodles, Sushi Plates, basic Rolls (reasonably priced), Nigiri Sushi, Dinner Sets, Appetizers, Sashimi Salad, and Sashimi. They serve wine by the glass or bottle, shochu, and sake along with beers and other beverages.

All things considered, Sushi Rock Guam seems to be solid as a rock and with this amazing menu supported by a vital pipeline of quality food sources and suppliers, they are here to stay. As for taste and quality, you can be the judge of this yourself!

Ita dake masu!

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