Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Restaurant: McCormick and Schmick's, Bethesda

Similar to others in the chain, except this one is now closed.  I think the space at Woodmont and Montgomery Lane is cursed.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Restaurant: National Pastime Sports Bar & Grille, Gaylord National Harbor

Restaurant: National Pastime Sports Bar & Grille
Web Site: Gaylord Resort
Address: National Harbor, Maryland (Gaylord Resort)

Emphasis is on “sports” and “bar”. Pricy, as you would expect at a Gaylord facility, but its very clean, very good service, nice look, and pretty good food as long as you are not looking for too much variety. I had the grilled salmon salad; very good despite forgetting “dressing on the side”, but they corrected their error with grace. The service staff was more than apologetic (more than I needed), and there efforts were very appreciated.

The Gaylord Texas outside DFW is a more impressive sports bar (see http://lschofieldtravel.blogspot.com/2009/10/restaurant-gaylord-texan-resort.html), this one seems a little jammed in there and just an uncoordinated collection of projectors. The picture of Lance Armstrong on the wall is now humorously inappropriate, but given the very custom rotating picture frames I’m sure its expensive and time consuming to change it.

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National Pastime Sports Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Restaurant: Great Waters Brewing Company, St. Paul

Restaurant: Great Waters Brewing Company
Address: 426 St. Peter Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55102
Phone: 651-224-BREW

St. Paul isn’t really a town with a lot of nightlife, the sidewalks get rolled up around 6 PM in the downtown area. On the edge of the park is a microbrew place called Great Waters. Simple on atmosphere, its a bar looking place with windows out to the street. Behind the bar is a windowed area where the brew kettle is. And, it was actually a working brewery, not just hardware placed out for show like a lot of these kinds of places. Someone was actually busy away cleaning the kettle.

Food was a little upscale from your normal bar food. Had a small pizza which seemed hand-crafted and put together with some thought and care. It was the special of the day, a “Philly cheesesteak pizza”. A little too saucy to be like a cheesesteak on a pizza, but it was nice cheese and steak on a pizza with some peppers.

Others had burgers, all seemed happy with their selections. Onion rings were given a thumbs up.

The beers we all had were made on site and were on tap, Octoberfests and Stouts, all good.

Urbanspoon seems to have some haters for this place, but I couldn’t figure out why. It would probably be noisy in there if it was crowded since it was all glass and stone, but the people working there were nice (as everyone in the Twin Cities area are, grumps don’t seem to be allowed).

There was outdoor seating; not in use, a little damp the night I was there.

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Great Waters Brewing Company

Restaurant: Naked Fish, Salt Lake City

Restaurant: Naked Fish
Address: 67 West 100 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Phone: (801) 595-8888

High end Sushi joint downtown, across from the Marriott.

Was in town for several days for meetings, but all were held in the hotel with included meals. So, not a lot of chances to see the local places. But, two dinners were on my own, and felt pressed for time and without a car, ended up being lazy and going across the street.

Enjoyed it so much I ended up being there twice. The first night with a fairly large group of 7, the second night with a colleague and we sat at the bar (the sushi bar). I liked the first night so much went back for seconds.

The large group was seated in a main room, in what appeared to be the traditional Japanese way of the low dining table and sitting on the floor. However, it was an illusion; the table had a sunken section in the floor so once you were down on the floor your legs were below your body - somewhat bench style seating. And frankly, a welcome relief for joints that are not of a younger man. The table service was very polite, and we spent the meal trying a number of things, just passing the artistic plates around the table. Very spicy edamame was different, not too spicy but enough heat to get the point. Some of the pieces were very different, including one where the fish, rice, and fillings were placed into a rectangular mold and pressed into a perfect thin brick shape and then cut into pieces. All was extremely artfully presented, with lots of specific garnishes and sauces.

The second night, back for more and sat at the bar. The sushi work was done by what seemed to be the head chef, and we not only had a more purposeful tour around the different pieces, but also got quite an education in the fish used, the preparation, and the business of a sushi restaurant. Not only tasty, but we learned something, too! It was also fun to watch the food being prepared, as the artfulness was the result of very meticulous use of tweezers, squirt bottles, and slicing. Unless you are with a number of people, sitting at a sushi bar is always preferred to a table. I guess this goes for the non-sushi style of bar as well.

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Naked Fish Japanese Bistro on Urbanspoon