SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas

El Topo

Peruvian sea scallops

Kanpachi, yellowtail and yellowtail ceviche

Pumpkin spice old fashioned for Thanksgiving!

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Very good sushi with a slight Peruvian spin, such as the sauces used for the sashimi preparations. Fish quality was good, and service was friendly. Chill vibe.

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 607-0700
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushisamba-las-vegas-las-vegas

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas

El Topo

Peruvian sea scallops

Kanpachi, yellowtail and yellowtail ceviche

Pumpkin spice old fashioned for Thanksgiving!

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Very good sushi with a slight Peruvian spin, such as the sauces used for the sashimi preparations. Fish quality was good, and service was friendly. Chill vibe.

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 607-0700
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushisamba-las-vegas-las-vegas

Chinois On Main

Pad Thai

Scallops

Tuna tempura

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Chinois on Main has an interesting and eclectic decor, although the lack of any soft surfaces and its popularity make it very loud. All the food we had was good, but the emphasis on deep frying and stir frying with lots of oil tends to make it heavy. Somehow the menu seems like it is stuck in the 1990s. The wine list, however, is exceptional.

Chinois On Main
2709 Main St
Santa Monica, CA
90405
(310) 392-9025
https://www.yelp.com/biz/chinois-on-main-santa-monica

Urban Tide

*** (3.5 stars)

This is the third iteration of this space I’ve dined in, and is easily the least inspired. Considering it is in a Grand Hyatt, it’s shockingly mediocre.

Perhaps our experience was colored by our server, who was absent during most of a two-hour lunch, even after the restaurant cleared out. Ordering was problematical, refills were non-existent, and it tool 15 minutes just to order espressos at the end of the meal, then another 15 minutes to ask for a check.

As we were leaving, an entire duplicate set of entrees for our table arrived from the kitchen, so some inexperience was clearly evident here.

The food was only mediocre, too. The Asian salad was good, but the optional seared tuna had been coated in an overpowering seasoning that rendered the tuna completely flavorless.

This place fills up with business people during conventions at lunchtime, but you’d be far better off to walk up the street to Capital Grille.

Urban Tide
9801 International Dr
Orlando, FL
32819
(407) 345-4570
https://www.yelp.com/biz/urban-tide-orlando

SIRTAJ Hotel Beverly Hills

**** (4 stars)

This is both a hotel review and a restaurant review.

HOTEL

This boutique hotel bills itself as posh. It’s not quite that, but it is a great choice. The location is absolutely perfect, just south of Wilshire on a quiet residential street within easy walking distance of all of downtown Beverly Hills.

The rooms are clean, modern, with interesting fairly techy amenities. They’re not Four Seasons level luxurious, but for a third the price, they are a great deal. Even the minibar, populated with half bottles of booze, is reasonably priced. Parking, at $38 per night less so.

We were initially given room 102 (you do not want this room!) and it overlooked the interior of the bar, and was immediately adjacent to the kitchen, where you could hear every pot and pan, and every word the cooks said. When we asked to be moved, we were, but somewhat begrudgingly. Really, this room should not be used for guests.

RESTAURANT

The hotel’s restaurant serves three meals a day, and the evening focuses on Indian cuisine, although pizza and some other items are available. The Indian food was very good.

There are only a handful of tables, and early on a friday night we were the only diners, so it was easy for the bartender to also act as server, and he did an excellent job.

SIRTAJ Hotel Beverly Hills
120 S Reeves Dr
Beverly Hills, CA
90212
(310) 248-2402
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sirtaj-hotel-beverly-hills-beverly-hills

The Stubborn Mule

Tuscan flat bread special

Tuna bowl

pastrami sandwich

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

This was an odd meal, parts of it fine, others pretty much off the rails. It’s hard to judge how much of the experience was colored by a fairly dreadful server, but there were some issues in the kitchen, too.

First the good:

There is a nice outdoor seating area.

The menu is interesting.

The day’s special Tuscan flatbread was delicious, with a perfectly crisped naan crust and a lovely combination of toppings.

The rosemary fries were very good.

Now the not so good:

I would have been better disposed toward the experience if not for the server. We started with the wrong wine, and ended with the wrong entree.

I ordered the smashed salmon sandwich, but I got a pressed pastrami. I like pastrami okay, but this was fairly fatty, and there was an unappealing bitter spread.

Our server offered to correct the mistake, but at this point we were two hours into lunch, and it seemed futile. And that was also two hours without a water refill, so we were getting parched.

The tuna bowl had good tuna and avocado, but I suspect that consumption of the dressing (thankfully served on the side) would have made us sick, as it was pretty clearly spoiled.

I suppose if you’re looking for a burger that might be a good choice. Maybe you’ll have better luck than we did.

The Stubborn Mule
100 S Eola Dr
Orlando, FL
32801
+1-407-730-3400
https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/the-stubborn-mule-orlando-2

Casa Jimenez

Chips salsa and margarita

Beef nachos

Chicken empanada

**** (4 stars)

I’ve been hesitating to go here because the reviews have been so mixed, but I’m glad I did.

Service was excellent (of course it was early Sunday and I was alone) and so was the margarita, which was obviously made with fresh lime.

Because it was Sunday it was “happy hour” all day, and there are some deals. I had a chicken empanada, which had a nice flakey crust, and a huge plate of beef nachos. The nachos were made with an unusal combination of squirt cheese and unmelted cotija cheese, but they were good. And they were just $5. My whole bill was under $16. Definitely a great deal for a nice experience.

Casa Jimenez
15493 Stoneybrook W Pkwy
Ste 120
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 614-1438
https://www.yelp.com/biz/casa-jimenez-winter-garden

Maggiano’s Little Italy

***** (5 stars)

Our company has been using Maggiano’s to host our training sessions for several years, and they have always consistently delivered an excellent experience for our clients. The food is plentiful and tasty, and the service–even with a large group of up to 30–is efficient and friendly. Our customers rave about the trainings, and especially the desserts!

Maggiano’s Little Italy
9101 International Dr
Ste 2400
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 241-8650
https://www.yelp.com/biz/maggianos-little-italy-orlando-4

Imperium Food & Wine

***** (5 stars)

This is my favorite place to eat in Celebration. They have an eclectic selection of wines by the glass, and a nice sampling of small plates and sandwiches. The outside dining on the sidewalk is one of the nicest outdoor spots in Central Florida.

On a recent visit we enjoyed a bruschetta special the most

Imperium Food & Wine
606 Market St
Celebration, FL 34747
(407) 566-9054
https://www.yelp.com/biz/imperium-food-and-wine-celebration

Pizza Hut

Lunch pizza special

**** (4 stars)

This new location replaced the old tired building just to the south. Unfortunately the buffet didn’t make the move. It was the last surviving one in Central Florida. But the new location is bright and airy, and the service is friendly.

The food is, of course, standard Pizza Hut food.

Pizza Hut
12195 S Apopka Vineland Rd
Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 239-0205
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-hut-orlando-51