Tuesday, March 27, 2012

KellyO's Diner

  KellyO's is a small diner located in a strip mall off of  Rt.19 in Ross township. KelllyO's came to my attention when it was featured on the wildly popular food network TV show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. So for breakfast one day I headed out to KellyO's to see if it warranted such national attention.

  The interior of KellyO's is how should I put this ... confusing. It has the traditional diner layout with booths along one side and a sit down counter on the other, which is fine. However you have this harsh fluorescent lighting shining down on you, which takes away any of the charm. You feel more like you're eating in a prison cafeteria than a cozy diner. KellyO's also has these Parisian style drawings adorning the walls that just seem out of place.
 We were taken care of relatively quickly once we sat ourselves down at one of the booths. The server was quick to give us our menus and serve us some pretty decent coffee.

Blah Interior

     The menu has your typical diner fare including omelets, burgers, salads, sandwiches, soups, etc. However it has some items that you don't see everyday including haluski (Polish cabbage and noodles), and polenta (Italian corn meal cakes).

Click for bigger pic
Click for bigger pic

  For our breakfast I ordered the Outrageous Breakfast Sandwich, and my eating companion ordered an omelet with ham, peppers, onions, and cheese.

Outrageous Breakfast Sandwich $6.79
 The Outrageous Breakfast Sandwich is really not all that outrageous. Its two scrambled eggs , American cheese, and your choice of meat, between two pieces of grilled Mancinis bread (famous Mckees Rocks bakery). I ordered mine with sweet Italian sausage. This was a pretty decent no frills sandwich. Th Italian sausage had a nice spice to it, yet the bread was a tad on the greasy side. All in all not too bad of a breakfast to fill you up in the morning.

Omelet with ham, cheese, green peppers, and onions. $6.59
   My eating companion who had also gone to Isalys which I have previously reviewed, was not too happy with his omelet. He kept pretty much saying how much better the Isalys omelet was compared to this one. The biggest complaint was that the peppers and onions were on the burnt side, and had spent a little to much time on the grill. He also didn't like the fact that the toast that accompanied the omelet was from the ends of the bread loaf.

 In the future I will go back to KellyO's to try out some of their lunch  items. Hopefully it will be a little more impressive than the breakfast. Their breakfast was obviously hit or miss depending on what you ordered. While I thought my sandwich was OK, my eating companion was not at all impressed with his omelet. 
 KellyO's according to their web site is supposedly opening up another diner in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. I will let you know as soon as I hear more.


Outrageous Breakfast Sandwich: 6/10

Omelet with ham, cheese, peppers, and onion: 4/10

Kelly O's Diner on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse

    Hard to believe, but somehow I have never been to a Japanese steakhouse before. This all changed one night when my friend and neighbor, Epic Beard Man and his wife, invited me and some of our friends to Ichiban in Wexford. Ichiban has 4 locations throughout the Pittsburgh area and word of mouth had been pretty positive.

Ben Roethlisberger on the right > (Trust me, he is over there)
    While waiting to be seated we got some drinks at the bar and lo and behold there was Ben Roethlisberger sitting next to me. Needless to say he was speechless and a little taken back to be suddenly confronted with his favorite food blogger in Pittsburgh. The wait time was only a few minutes once all of our friends showed up.
The Zombie
   As some of you know I am a big fan of Tiki style drinks (my recipe for a proper Mai Tai is here). So my eyes lit up when I saw the classic Tiki drink, The Zombie, on the drink menu. They are called Zombies for a reason and after a few of these I was lit like a Christmas tree. So I apologize if the photos are not of the best quality.
Crab Rangoon $5.95
   We all ordered a bunch of appetizers to start us off. The Crab Rangoon was deep fried won tons filled with a cream cheese and crab mixture. Crab Rangoon is one of my favorite oriental appetizers and Ichiban's was very good. The cheesy crab mixture was plentiful, and had a nice onion and sweet flavor.
sushi something or other

A lot of Sushi
Hell if I know
 We also shared some sushi, and to be honest I had no idea what the hell I was eating because the Zombie had started to take hold of me. The good thing was that none of it made me gag and I didn't get sick later. High praise indeed.

Shogun Crispy Chicken $14.95
  My favorite dish of the night was the one my friend had ordered sitting next to me. Of course he let me sample in the name of research. It was Ichibans take on General Tso's chicken and it was near perfect. The chicken coating was light and crispy while the sauce was spicy and not overly sweet.
Hot water soup
  For my main course I ordered the Chicken Hibachi dinner. The dinner comes with soup, salad, fried rice, vegetables, noodles, and chicken. The soup had barely any flavor at all. Just tasted like watered down chicken broth.
Lettuce with crappy dressing
  The salad was pretty much just iceberg lettuce with a pretty bland ginger/sesame dressing. Meh.

Fried Rice and Noodles
  Then the fireworks began when the chef wheels out his cart and starts cooking on the flat top hibachi everyone is gathered around.  Along with the fried rice and noodles they give everyone two dipping sauces. The one is a ginger sauce and the other is a mayo based sauce that the Japanese use for dipping seafood in. If anyone wants the recipe for the seafood sauce, send me an email and I will send it to you.
Fire Fire Fire
  After cooking the rice and noodles, the chef starts cooking the meats and veggies. He cooks everything in sesame oil and teryaki sauce.

  All of the ingredients that they used looked fresh. For the chicken they used all breast meat, and who doesn't like breasts. The steak was a NY Strip, and the fish was red snapper. 

The food tasted ok, yet it was nothing that you couldn't do at home with a wok. The prices for the actual meals were not to bad, being around $17.00-$19.00. Ichiban is very family oriented and there were a lot of families there with their kids. Also beware of the way they celebrate Birthdays. The lights go dim, all of a sudden 1980s techno music is blasting. A volcano starts to spit out fire and sparks, and disco lights are everywhere. So dont do any drugs before you go, or you might freak out or go into convulsions or something.

 Would I go back to Ichiban? Sure. Its a great place to get blasted on tiki drinks and socialize with your friends. The food is pretty mediocre but really it takes second fiddle to the whole experience of watching some Japanese guy with mad knife skills, cutting meat really fast. The service was below average. They seemed to have a hard time getting our drinks out to us fast enough. Of course that might have had something to do with the amount of drinks we were ordering. Plus its damn hot sitting next to these hibachi thingies and you need to stay hydrated.
 All in all a pleasant experience that was made better by having good friends to share it with.

PS: Congrats to my friends Leah and Dan who announced during dinner that Leah had been successfully impregnated by Dan. Just knew my advice on standing Leah on her head would pay off.

 Rating: 6.5/10 

Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon