Contrary to the rumors I have not been spending the last couple of few weeks in a Turkish prison. A large home tiling project has taken up a majority of my time and energy over the last two weeks, leaving the blog to its own demise. I am back now and ready to get my review on. To celebrate the last day of school for Steph we went with my Mom and sister to a newer Sushi restaurant for lunch. Getting to Sakura is actually quite a challenge with all the road construction at Rock and Harry. Left hand turns in and out of the parking lot are rather hazardous.
Sakura does not meet your stereotypical Sushi environment. It is located in an old strip mall (the restaurant itself is in the building that once housed the original Felipe’s Jr), there are no fancy water features or sleek modern furniture inside, but you don’t really need all that junk when you serve great sushi. Sakura has ample seating inside, but during our visit only 3 tables were occupied by patrons. Our waitress quickly brought us menus and listed several new sushi options not on the menu. Their menu is rather expansive with an impressive list of sushi, traditional Japanese noodle dishes, and other Asian favorites. As far as maki rolls go, Sakura has all the typical varieties and since the chef once worked at Kwan court he offers his variation of the Kansas Beef roll. They also offer some different choices such as sweet potato tempura, baked scallop, octopus, and red clam. Steph and I decided to go with the California, sweet potato, baked scallop, and the special crunchy shrimp tempura. My mom and sister went with the California, sweet potato, and salmon with avocado. We also ordered a tasty bowl of edamame(boiled and salted soy beans). Everyone at the table enjoyed their sushi choices. Steph and I especially loved the shrimp tempura with spicy mayo, scallions, and lettuce. My sister was a bit intimidated by the elegantly wrapped salmon and avocado roll, but we managed to help her finish it off.
We were all impressed with the quality of Sakura’s sushi and I would say that the shrimp tempura roll is one of the best sushi rolls I have ever had. When talking about good places to get sushi in Wichita this place should certainly get some consideration, it is easily as good as Kwan Court or Sumo.
Everybody has a place that they have driven by for years and never bothered to try out. Harry’s Uptown Bar and Grill is one of those places for me and I finally got around to checking it out the other day. This place has been around for as long as I can remember, which isn’t saying a whole lot given my age, but in this day and age of fly-by-night restaurants 20 plus years is a good run.
For those of you who have never driven down east Douglas, Harry’s is located just west of Hillside right next to another Wichita institution, Margarita’s Cantina. From the outside this place looks like it could be a sketchy bar that serves 3.2 beer out of mason jars with a plat de jour that consists of a new batch of pickled eggs. But looks are deceiving my friends. One step inside Harry’s and you are met with a decor that can only be described as everything that TGI McSuckeys tries to be. There are old time bicycles juxtaposed on exposed rafter beams and quaint Tiffanyesque light fixtures adorning each green linoleum table. It is clean and respectable, a place where one could take the family after Sunday services, if you didn’t mind stepping over a few regulars who couldn’t quite come to grips with reality on a late Saturday eve. I was expecting some dimly lit abyss and instead was met with flashbacks of Bennigans (Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about, we all loved that place).
Anyway once my strange and terrible deja vu moment passed, it was on to the important thing, food. Through my intelligence gathering I had learned that people liked their burgers, so that is what my mom and I went with. Scanning the burger section my eyes focused on a meat disc that offered a slice of Canadian bacon as accompaniment. Why yes, I think that pairing will suit my fancy. My mom went with the classic mushroom and swiss. All their burgers are advertised as being made from a 1/2 pound of Angus beef, which is fine, but I would be surprised if anyone could tell the difference between ground Angus beef and any other cattle breed.
Overall I would say my burger was decent, but nothing to get really excited about. The Canadian bacon was a nice touch and as advertised it was a thick piece of meat. I did have a sneaking suspicion that it was a preformed patty though, it was too perfectly round. Preformed patties make me sad. How hard is it to order basic ground hamburger from your supplier and form it into meat discs yourself? It tastes so much better if you yourself take a 1/2 pound of certified Angus beef and mold it into something ever so delicious. My “famous steak fries” were also a bit lacking. They could have used seasoning of some sort. My mom seemed to enjoy her mushroom and swiss burger, although she would have liked it cooked a bit more medium. In this day and age it’s asking a lot for someone to serve you a medium hamburger though. Although contrary to what servers will tell you the Kansas Health Code does allow patrons to be served undercooked meats as long as they assume the risks involved.
Harry’s Uptown offers slightly above average bar hamburgers that are reasonably priced. For $6.50 my meal was more than enough to fill me up. I would imagine that their sandwiches are also decent, but nothing to get overly excited about. Still Harry’s has withstood the test of time, in large part due to a strong crew of regulars I assume. So go check out this bastion of Americana, the noble neighborhood bar, and get the feel of an authentic bar and grill.
A few weeks ago Steph told me about a new Mexican restaurant that a parent at her school had just opened and I was instantly intrigued. We finally made it down to 31st and Hillside to check out Los Compadres the other day. It was everything I had hoped it would be.
We were the only customers in the restaurant when we arrived at 1130 on a rainy April day. As it turns out we were just the first of the lunch time crowd. Inside, the restaurant is good sized with little in the way of interior decorating, which isn’t a big deal for me. I’m there for the food and don’t really care about the atmosphere, unless of course they are blaring some terrible music. That might be grounds for me to go into some type of wild public display of anger.
After being seated we asked what the kitchen would recommend to eat. We were told the barbacoa served at Los Compadres was their specialty as well as a shrimp dish with cream sauce. Since I was just recovering from a Lent induced seafood indulgence I went with the barbacoa tacos. Barbacoa, for those of you scratching your heads, is basically traditional Mexican shredded beef. I was feeling adventurous and ordered a lengua (beef tongue) taco as well. Steph went with a barbacoa quesadilla. We also ordered some guac and frijoles charros. The minute we were served our salsa and chips I knew it was going to be awesome due to the presence of large slices of cilantro and it did not dissapoint. Our guac was tasty as well. The tacos were a nice change from the typical Tex-Mex you would normally get at a restaurant in Wichita. They were small masa tortillas served with the meat of your choice, cilantro, and onion. Simple yet delicious. I enjoyed both the barbacoa and lengue tacos. The frijoles charros were nearly a meal themselves and reminded me a spicy chili. Steph’s quesadilla was very good as well and also contained a fair amount of cilantro.
We were both very impressed with our experience at Los Compadres and will definitely go back when we need a cilantro fix. If you like reasonably priced, authentic, delicious food then this is the place for you. If that isn’t enough to get you down there how about the fact that this is a nice family run place?