The Backyard Cafe - the 2009-2010 Columbia Cheeseburger Crawl

May 1, 2011

The tenth place on our cheeseburger crawl was The Backyard Cafe, a relatively new restaurant (by cheeseburger crawl standards - it only opened up in the last three years) in West Columbia.  The first thing to note about this place is that it is really far away from the center of downtown Columbia, about a solid 20 minute drive...I really wish it was closer, because I would probably be going there much more often, but it is a bit far away for lunch if you want a quick bite to eat and you are in downtown.  The second, more noticeable thing about this restaurant is that it is in a small converted one-story ranch house - basically, the outside still looks like a regular ol' house (and is in a residential neighborhood), but the inside walls were all knocked out to provide a homey locale for the Backyard Cafe.     

This place was also the source of some drama among our cheeseburger crawl denizens.  Yes, you may ask, rightly so:  how in the world can you have drama over the rating of cheeseburgers?  Well, it can happen - mainly because some of our venerable cheeseburger raters believed the cheeseburger offered at the Backyard Cafe violated our original competition rules - the patty was a lot bigger (more like the places we excluded from our list like Pawley's Front Porch) and it didn't really qualify as a dive or established local place because it has only been around for a couple of years.  But, this was one of those times where I decided to put it on the list anyway because I felt that the cheeseburger was just within the bounds of the rules - I call my choice "editorial discretion."  =)        

At the Backyard Cafe, they offer a whole bunch of other lunch dishes other than the burgers (including homemade ice cream, which is absolutely delicious, btw!), but their burger menu is also pretty varied, with bacon cheeseburgers, chili cheeseburgers, and even a garden burger for vegetarians out there.  They don't automatically put ketchup and mustard in the cheeseburgers though - a problem which lowered the scores of Flarké particularly.   

A couple of general comments about the cheeseburger: almost everyone who ate the burger (or other sandwiches) raved about their food.  I ordered their pimento cheeseburger (pictured above), and thought it was the best I've had in Columbia so far - great quality meat, the patty and the burger bun were just big enough to make for a good-sized burger, without being too hard to eat (a problem I sometimes have with Pawley's Front  Porch, but that is another post entirely, I suppose).  They also provided a side of dill sauce, which added a great dimension of flavor to the cheeseburger which I liked.  Andy excitedly commented: "Clearly, this is the best burger we've had so far - that's what a burger should be like."    

-Here are our ratings on the cheeseburger and fries:
Average Rating: 4.125

Epicurious E.: 4.5
Flarké: 3.0
Hambone: 4.5
Andy: 4.5

-And a breakdown of each of the components of the cheeseburger:
Bun: The bun was a regular white burger bun, not toasted.
Meat: It was a thicker patty, nice grill marks, juicy, with a tasty, meaty flavor.  Evidently they make handmade patties each day.  
Cheese: They have a good variety of cheese toppings - from cheddar to bleu cheese and a homemade pimento.  I lived the pimento cheese a lot - it was a really high quality cheese, lots of flavor, yet not too strong to be overpowering, and they melted the cheese well on the burger.
Fries:  Slightly thicker-cut steak fries; they were fried perfectly, salted just right.  
Presentation and condiments:  Because this was a restaurant, they had a leg up on the presentation - a large, black plate for the burger.  They did provide ketchup, but as Flarké noted, they didn't automatically put ketchup or mustard in the cheeseburger.

The Backyard Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Kingsman - the 2009-2010 Columbia Cheeseburger Crawl

May 1, 2011

I know, I am incredibly late on finishing these cheeseburger tour posts, but fortunately, I took notes right after we ate the cheeseburgers at each of these places in 2010, so all the ratings and comments were still preserved for memory, even though it is now 2011.  Better late than never, I guess?  =P  But I will finish up these last couple of posts, if only to make sure that I can declare a winner in the Columbia Cheeseburger Crawl!    

The ninth place on our cheeseburger crawl was the Kingsman, a local restaurant on Knox Abbot just over the Blossom St. bridge in the Parkland Shopping Center.  It has a wide menu of sandwiches and other lunch fare, but I came here specifically to try their pimento cheeseburger (which is not that easy to find, even around here).  During their lunch hour, it is really full and busy with locals - they have a counter up front, as well as two large busy rooms in the back.    

At the Kingsman, they offer a whole array of different cheeseburgers, from their "Famous Pimento Burger" to a bacon/mushroom cheeseburger, and a curious-sounding "Kingsman Pizza Burger".  

A couple of general comments about the burgers: Flarké said "It's a commentless sort of place...this is the kind of place where you should only have the burger simply with mustard and ketchup, because adding stuff on it messes it up."  Both Hambone and I ordered their "Famous Pimento Burger", but noted was that our buns, burger patties, and the pimento cheese were both cold, which was really odd, especially considering that I knew that they were cooking up burgers fresh, because I walked past their cooking area where they were flipping patties.  Maybe they were just really busy or having an off day, but it definitely negatively affected the ratings of the cheeseburger.

-Here are our ratings on the cheeseburger and fries:
Average Rating: 2.83

Epicurious E.: 2.0
Flarké: 2.5
Hambone: 3.0

-And a breakdown of each of the components of the cheeseburger:
Bun: The bun was a slimmer white bun, not toasted.

Meat: It was a slimmer patty, and again, the meat was kind of cold. Strange, because it is cooked fresh. Only slightly flavored.
Cheese: They offer a lot of different kinds of cheeses (cheddar, mozzerella, and of course, pimento). The pimento cheese had an interesting flavor – even though it was cold, and not really melted, it had that a sharp pimento as well as a slight cheddar component as well.
Fries:  They offered steak fries, which weren't bad, but they could have been crispier.

Presentation and condiments: The burgers came on a simple large white plate; it was appreciated that the burger was already cut in half!  They had a nice variety of condiments on the table – both ketchup, A-1 sauce, salt and pepper.

Kingsman Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Jestine's Kitchen - Charleston, SC

May 1, 2011

      After living in the South for awhile, I figured it was time to try Jestine's Kitchen because I wanted to see what the restaurant's true identity was - a massive tourist trap with tremendously overrated Southern food, or a venerable Charleston institution that was worthy of the label and the long wait in line.  Just reading the reviews made me kind of curious, just to find out if this restaurant was more Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, because at a certain point, food is either good or not, isn't it?  Unfortunately, the answer to that is actually no, it depends on how much experience you have eating a certain food (i.e. have you grown up with a particular cuisine your entire life, or is it your first time eating it?).  And yes, there is a long line and wait for this restaurant, especially on the weekends, so if you feel like eating here, unfortunately, it isn't as simple as "let me just show up and try their food."  

     So, if you're interested in going to Jestine's Kitchen for the first time, I am going to offer two different answers (they are kind of tongue-in-cheek, only because I figure I might as well have some fun with this), depending on which group you fall into, but y'all are first going to have to answer one question:  Have you grown up in the South, or lived here for more than five years?  If yes, go to answer #1.  If you said no, because you are a visitor from the Northeast, Midwest, West coast, or possibly overseas, I suppose, or you haven't lived in the South long enough to be have tried any, or very little, Southern food, then go to answer #2.  

Answer #1:  You like Southern food.  A lot.  You don't go outside to go and bbq hot dogs or hamburgers, etc., because you know that bbq is properly used as a noun, not a verb - you obviously go and grill out, or cook out.  Sweet tea runs through your veins.  You say "Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir" or  "No Ma'am, No Sir" and possibly "Bless Your Heart" without thinking twice, and will smack your child silly if they don't do the same thing.

     Thus, because you have lived a true Southern life, you are going to be EXTRA irritated by the wait for Jestine's Kitchen.  You are going to grouse about it, complain about all the tourists who don't know any better while waiting in line, and then when you finally eat their food, you are going to be able to easily name five or more different restaurants (either meat-and-threes, or southern buffets) off the top of your head that have better Southern food than this place, which you wouldn't have to wait long for.  So my advice, if you really still want to see what the big hubbub is about, I advise only trying their food in the wintertime during the low tide of tourist season.  Because a long wait isn't worth what you are going to eat, because you have undoubtedly already eaten something better some time during your life here.  And Jestine's Kitchen does offer decently good Southern food (although a bit more expensive than usual), just not enough to justify all the craziness you are going to have to experience just to eat it.            

Answer #2:  You are a visitor that isn't from the South and wants to visit Charleston because you heard it is a nice, charming Southern city (and it is, btw).  You do go out and bbq hot dogs/burgers on the weekend or Memorial Day, and have never been corrected on your usage of the word "bbq".  When you order "tea" at a restaurant, you expect it to be just regular ol' iced tea without any sugar, or maybe hot in a china cup, but definitely not so saturated with sugar that it could possibly put a diabetic person into an instant coma.  If someone says "Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir" or  "No Ma'am, No Sir" to you, you are probably going to look at them quizzically and then ask them to call you something else, because when they say that to you, it makes you feel kind of old.               

      Because you are what Southerners label as a "Yankee" (or even worse, if you are from the crazy West Coast, and don't even get a label), you should go to Jestine's Kitchen for your visit to Charleston whether it is fall, winter, spring, or summer, because it is likely going to be among the best Southern food you are likely ever going to get outside of the South.  You will be ok with the wait, because you probably have waited in line for an hour to eat something before, and it really isn't going to be that big of a deal for you, especially because you are on vacation and don't plan to visit Charleston/the South again for a little while at least.  The food at Jestine's Kitchen will definitely be the most authentic Southern food that has ever entered your mouth, and you will come out of the restaurant happy that you went.        

Ok, now onto the important stuff - the food.  =)  I came with a bigger party for this meal, and so I got to try a lot more food than I usually do.  We ordered an appetizer for the table, an order of fried green tomatoes.  It was decent, but I wish the fried batter coating was a bit thicker, because it flaked off it a bit easily.  

An order of cornbread - there is no more important accompaniment to any Southern meal than cornbread, and it was decently good here - not dry, and I liked that they put honey with the butter.  

The first of several entrees we ordered for the table - a meatloaf sandwich, with some fried okra (yum, I always enjoy fried okra!) and cole slaw.  

One of the daily specials that Jestine's Kitchen offers - a shrimp and sausage gumbo.  I liked it a lot - it was thick, slightly spicy and very flavorful.  

The entree I ordered for myself - some fried chicken.  The first thing that caught my eye about this fried chicken platter was how GIGANTIC the fried chicken pieces were.  They were seriously the biggest I had seriously ever seen - the photos really don't convey how large it was.  Regardless, the fried chicken was good - it was crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, decent amount of salt and other spices.  Not the best fried chicken I've ever had, but definitely within the second tier of good, quality fried chicken.   

The last entree we ordered, the fried pork chop plate, with a side of green beans and mac and cheese.  This pork chop was pretty delicious - I loved the breading on the pork chop, and it was decently juicy on the inside as well.  

For dessert, we ordered a slice of Jestine's Kitchen's coca-cola cake.  This was an excellent slice of cake - admittedly, I didn't taste the coca-cola really, but it was rich, moist, and sweet.  Definitely something you must order if you go.   

Jestine's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Bowen's Island Restaurant - Charleston, SC

April 16, 2011

To me, nothing epitomizes the food of Charleston, SC more than an oyster roast, and if you don't know anyone locally who will throw an oyster roast for you, then the best choice for you is to go to Bowen's Island Restaurant.  I know there are lots of good Southern restaurants in Charleston, but honestly, I feel like if you are a tourist from somewhere else in the United States, a local, or a visitor from somewhere else in South Carolina, you gotta go to this place at least once, especially if you've never been to an oyster roast before.  And even if you yawn because you've been to oyster roasts your whole life, Bowen's Island has great, local oysters that they grow locally, which makes the experience even better because the oysters are that much fresher.  For those of you that don't know what an oyster roast is, look below at the second photo and explanation.

Before I jump into the food, I will note one REALLY important thing:  the wait at this restaurant is really, really long.  Seriously.  They open up at 5 pm - 10 pm, but if you don't come at opening on the weekends, be prepared to wait at least an hour to an hour and half on the weekends before you can even reach the cashier to get a table - it is really popular with the locals!  I heard the wait is not nearly as bad on the weekdays, but I haven't independently confirmed this yet.

Second note:  They have a system going on, which is kind of confusing if you just show up for the first time and don't know what is going on.  What follows is a complete explanation in case you need it - it really isn't as complicated as all the following text implies, but I'm trying to be a little helpful, people!  ;)  

1)  If you look at the above photo, the restaurant is split into two floors - the ramp leads up to the top floor, where you order and can also sit down (there are also larger tables next to the actual oyster roast area on the bottom floor).  Go and line up - if you are lucky, the line will still be inside the restaurant.  And if not, be prepared to be waiting on the ramp outside.  

2)  After you line up, you will probably be passed a plastic menu by the last person in line.  The menu is not long - just about a page.  Basically, what you are ordering is how many oysters you want for your group (you can get all you can eat oysters if you are hungry, which is worth ordering for the table if y'all enjoy oysters), as well as what kind of fried seafood you want (they have a fried seafood platter - it is an assortment of fried fish, fried shrimp, crab cakes, french fries, and hush puppies...gotta love that fried Southern food!).  Bring a book, a good conversationalist that tells great stories, or some knitting if that's your thing, because you are going to be waiting awhile.... =)

3)  When you get to the front of the line, you will finally be able to order your food/drinks, pay the cashier, and give them your name (if you ordered the fried seafood).  They do accept credit cards now (they only accepted cash before, but the restaurant has changed its policy now).  If you are ordering oysters (which you should, why else would be going, anyway?!), the cashier will give you a plastic tag, which indicates how many oysters (or all you can eat) you ordered.  The cashier will also give you some cotton towels and oyster knives to crack open the oysters, just in case you didn't bring your own.  

4)  Walk to the bottom floor to pick up your oysters (you can go out the main door you walked in, or you  can go the easier, less-crowded way - walk to the other side of the restaurant, and walk out the side door to a set of stairs on the side).  The bottom floor is pretty simple - just two large rooms made of cinder blocks - follow that hissing sound and you will find yourself at the oyster roast area (photo below).  Wait in line, show the guy your plastic tag, and he will give you a tray of oysters (based on the # of oysters you ordered, of course).  And remember to tip the guy, they are doing important work in that oyster roast area!  =)

5)  Walk back to your table and enjoy your oysters!  Btw, one last tip:  if you are a large party and ordered all you can eat oysters, you might want to sit on the bottom floor, that way, you won't have to walk up and down from the oyster roast area to your table multiple times - it is a pain to walk up the stairs and open the door with a tray of oysters, trust me.  The tables downstairs also have a built-in bucket area in the center of the table, which makes it more convenient for everyone to toss out their oyster shells.  If you sit upstairs, you might have to find a plastic bucket for your table to toss your empty shells into.        

So this is the oyster roast area that Bowen's Island has on the bottom floor.  Pretty simple, but oh, the deliciousness that comes out!  =)  Fresh, locally harvested oysters are constantly being tossed on the grill and steamed until they are cooked.  Oysters roasts only exist in the southeastern part of the United States, and they are a delicious way to enjoy oysters if you like seafood.    

Here is a tray of the oysters that we ordered.  Sooo delicious!  Yeah, it's a little bit of a pain to crack open the oysters, so if you're lazy, you at least better bring someone else to open them for you, but I think it is fun to do - part of the experience of an oyster roast is to open up a freshly steamed oyster with your oyster knife and eat it, the oyster tastes much better when you've put forth all that effort to get to it!  =)  

Lastly, a photo of the regular sized fried seafood platter we ordered.  If I remember correctly, you can also order the fried fish/fried shrimp/crab cakes/french fries/etc. on its own.  The large seafood platter is pretty much the same as the regular, except they have one extra fried fish piece, I think.  They also offer a small little cup of cole slaw...I kind of wish they gave more of the cole slaw!  All the fried foods were fresh and good - not great really should be going for the oysters, if you come here - but it provides a nice variety in between eating all those oysters.      

I can't yet say that Bowen's Island is the best place for an oyster roast in Charleston (there is another famous place, The Wreck of Richard and Charlene, that I definitely want to try in the near future, but they don't have the selection of fried foods that Bowen's Island offers), but even having been to a couple of local oyster roasts after moving to South Carolina (as well as the gigantic yearly lowcounty oyster roast Charleston throws in the winter), I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here, and suggest that everyone go at least once!

Bowen's Island Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monza Pizza - Charleston, SC

April 16, 2011

      As a big fan of Neopolitan-style pizza, when I visit Charleston, I almost always find an excuse to stop by Monza Pizza at least once during the trip.  Neopolitan-style pizza is not your average American slice of pizza - the base of the pizza, the dough - is thinner and comes out crispy, but it is also soft if made well.  It's usually topped with slices of fresh mozzerella, and if it comes out good, it is uber-delicious!  =)      

      A random side note:  I haven't really taken the opportunity to write about pizza so far on this blog, mostly because my experience with pizza growing up all the way to a couple of years ago was probably like most of America - a mix of the basic chain pizza offerings (pizza hut, dominos, papa john's), your basic local mom-and-pop pizza joints (I feel like everyone growing up here in the U.S. must have memories of at least one greasy pizza joint that they frequented during high school and/or college), with a sprinkling of more upscale-types of pizza - often cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven, and some deep-dish pizza.  All of them were decent, but nothing really ever stood out in my mind (with the exception of Mulberry St. Pizza in Los Angeles, home of the most authentic and delicious NY-style pizza in the Southland - they import their water from N.Y. which is taking things seriously, I must say!).  Some ingredients were more fresh, some less so, some pizzas were greasier, some tomato sauces more spicy, some more bland, get the picture.  I never really got excited about pizza - not until I tried my first Neopolitan-style pizza place (at some random place in NY, I don't recall the name).  After that, I realized I found my pizza match - my pizza soulmate, if you will ;), and I have been hooked on finding good Neopolitan-style pizza ever since.            

Of course, I forgot to take an outside photo of Monza Pizza, *sigh*.  So, although I can't help you find the restaurant (hopefully I can add a photo some other time when I get back to Charleston), I can point out the most important thing in Monza Pizza - their wood-fired oven.  Although it isn't essential (Varasano's in Atlanta, the best Neopolitan-style pizza I've had in my life so far - and a place that I will definitely write about soon - uses an electric oven), something about the wood helps a lot, for some reason....I think the wood imparts a slight smokiness that adds an additional dimension to the flavor of the dough.          

Monza Pizza doesn't just serve pizza...they also serve pastas (I never tried, but then again, the pizza here has been so tasty, why would I want to?), as well as decent selection of antipasti and small salads that serve as a nice addition to the main pizza meal.  The photo above is of their antipasto plate - a selection of salami, prosciutto, cheese, pickled vegetables, and olives.  

A beet salad - just a simple mix of arugula, beets, some ricotta, and balsamic vinegar.    

The first photo of some of the great pizzas they have at Monza - this is called the "Fangio" - a pizza for those who like it a little spicy, with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, housemade sausage, jalapeños, and onions.  A random note - each of the pizzas (and theme of the restaurant itself) has a fun, interesting name centered around Italian motorsports, which I find amusing =).        

Up next is my favorite pizza at Monza, mostly because I love myself a good slice of prosciutto - the "Volpini", made with tomato sauce, prosciutto, a generous helping of arugula, and dusting of pecorino romano.

Lastly, another favorite of mine at Monza - the "Count Louis".  It is made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, and pepperoni, and the fact that I find it delicious with the pepperoni is pretty unusual for me - I usually hate pizzas with pepperoni, because the quality of the pepperoni is usually not the best, which makes the pizza really greasy because the pepperoni releases all that grease when it is baked.  But, they use good quality pepperoni here, and so no greasiness, yay!  I wish they put more mushrooms on the pizza, but that is the only complaint I have for this one, and that is a nitpicky one, at that.    

All in all, I definitely enjoy Monza Pizza - while it isn't the best pizza I've ever had (I have a definite Varasano's addiction...), it is definitely the best pizza I've had here in South Carolina so far.

Monza Pizza on Urbanspoon

Food for Thought - Random Thoughts of the Week

April 6, 2011

Ok, so I've been accumulating a whole bunch of random news about food and the world in general these past couple of weeks, and I figured now is as good a time as any to post it up: 

  • A rare story about when the intersection of "good for the environment, good for your stomach" hits:  I kind of want to wander down to the Florida Keys to try some lionfish now...

  • On a non-food note:  I know this girl has been splashed all over the web, but I kind of feel bad for her in a way: Just in case you haven't seen it yet (doubtful, but you never know), the music video for Friday is is one of those situations where the lyrics are so horrible, it is just hilarious ("Yesterday was Thursday, Today is Friday, Tomorrow is Saturday" still cracks me up). But she didn't write the lyrics, so don't blame her, blame Clarence Jey, the co-writer of the song. He evidently was trying to cash in on the whole teen Mylie Cyrus "Party in the USA" thing, but missed the target really, really badly. But, instead of him being associated with this crap-tastic song forever and ever, everyone is going to think of this poor girl's face instead!

The original music video for Friday:

And a really funny parody of the video by Conan O'Brien:

  • While on the topic of parodies, here is something extremely funny, but also food related - only Stephen Colbert could get Ben and Jerry to come on his show and shoot a homicidal ice cream cone (I also find Jon Stewart walking out with a bat really hilarious as well):

Part I:

Part II:

Onto other food-related news:

Cypress - Charleston, SC

March 29, 2011

Cypress definitely is one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston.  It is run by the same owners as Magnolia's (posted earlier), but in terms of the cuisine it offers, it is a whole world away than the more traditional Southern food dishes offered by Magnolia's.  Cypress was recommended by a good friend of mine who lived in Charleston for many years, and as is usually the case, you can never go wrong with the experience and knowledge of the locals!  =)  Because this restaurant is in the South, you can definitely see a Southern inspiration in some of the dishes they offer, but like a lot of new "american fusion" restaurants these days, the menu also is inspired by flavors from lots of other locales as well.  So why do I like Cypress so much?  Frankly, every time I have had a meal there, at least one dish has been fantastic - in general, the dishes have been consistently cooked well, always balanced with both great flavor and texture, and I also love the vibe of the restaurant.      

I don't usually take photos of the interiors of restaurants, but for me, the interior design of this restaurant adds a lot to the enjoyable vibe of the restaurant.  For instance,  the lights on the ceiling change colors occasionally - blue in this photo - but it isn't intrusive at all.  The restaurant dining area has several large open areas, yet the feeling is also intimate - I suggest reserving for one of their booths if you are on a date =).  Lastly, the lighting is fantastic - it is dark enough that each table is private, yet each table is also illuminated with a light discreetly set in the ceiling above the table, which makes the food easy to see and photograph as well.  Yay, no dark photos!  =)

Our first set of appetizers, sashimi tuna & oysters on bottom (with a cilantro-lime glaze and pineapple wasabi), and a carolina cup oyster on top (garnished with green tomato and wasabi, served with a horseradish-lemon mignonette)   To be honest, I don't usually make a habit of trying japanese-style dishes when I am not in a japanese restaurant, but the sashimi tuna & oysters were surprisingly good.  I enjoyed the contrast of the raw tuna with the raw oyster, the seafood was quite fresh, and the cilantro-lime glaze added a nice subtle tang to the dish.    

Our second appetizer, a roasted beet salad.  Now, I'm not sure if I will ever find a beet salad as fresh and delicious as the one that I had at Marche Moderne, but this one was pretty tasty as well.  The salad was served with a goat cheese mousse (from Split Creek Farms, a local farm in the area), toasted hazelnuts, mache, and a red wine vinagrette.

This pork chop was one of our two main courses, and it was a huge highlight of the meal.  This photo doesn't come even close to doing justice to the dish - it was a bone-in, thick-cut fresh pork chop from a local farm, Eden Farms, who evidently supplies FIG as well...FIG evidently isn't the only sustainable cuisine game in town ;).  The pork chop was extremely juicy and flavorful, perfectly seared and simply seasoned with some sea salt and other spices (possibly some paprika and fresh pepper, I didn't ask though).  In fact, this pork chop was the BEST pork chop I have eaten in my young-ish life so far - if every pork chop was as good as this one, I would be ordering it everywhere (and slowly getting fat and broke).  I particularly enjoyed the thick cut of the meat (like a really thick ribeye steak).  Ha, I have been rhapsodizing so much about the pork chop that I almost forgot about the sides served with the dish: brussels sprouts, bacon, chestnuts, and sage.  

P.S.  As a side note, although it isn't photographed here, I also recommend the rack of lamb offered at Cypress.  They definitely cook their meat well here!

The second entree we ordered was a crisp wasabi tuna glazed with a ginger-garlic sauce, served with edamame and shiitake mushrooms.  Unfortunately for the tuna, the pork chop was so awesome that it completely overshadowed this dish.  It was fresh and well cooked, but not even close to as good as the pork chop.  

Err, here is dessert.  Sorry, I can't be more descriptive than that, but I forgot to write down what we ordered, so you can just make up a name for it - I'm just going to call it "chocolate hazlenut yummy-ness", not that I actually remember what it tasted like - and acribe whatever your favorite dessert flavors are to the dish.  Sometimes, your imagination can be better than the real thing.  =)

Cypress on Urbanspoon