Wednesday, December 5, 2018

the Sushi Review - 18 and Asian Sushi Bar

The Sushi Review:
18 Asian and Sushi Bar

9935 Rea Rd Charlotte, NC 28277 
(704) 845-1801

The location of this sushi spot is ideal for those living in or around South Charlotte. Located at 9935 Rea Rd. near the Blakeney area, it is in the perfect place for an early dinner or an after-shopping unwind. The d├ęcor is very attractive and the staff is friendly. My main divochka and I sat at the bar because it looked very inviting and cozy in a display of contemporary style. It is also typically the best way to get faster service for 1 to 3 people and ask any questions about the menu to get an immediate answer.

We ordered several different varieties of Maki rolls, including the infamous "Soundboy Roll" (ask for the Philly roll - tempura) and they were all above average. The tempura was done in the crispy-crumble style as opposed to the overly-rich batter fried style, which is healthier I'm sure. The negative reviews that I read about their sushi prior to my visit were about the rice being "mushy". These were from people who were probably used to dried-out rolls or pieces with under-cooked rice. However, that is how some people actually enjoy their sushi and I say to each his/her own. Much of the material we (especially as writers) share about our experiences is subjective. Opinions will of course vary from one individual to the next, so it's best to identify with the author as much as possible.

The beer selection was good and the house Sake was great - when it was hot, so don't fool around and let it cool off too much. The big can of Sapporo can split 2 ways and chases the Sake with ease. My recommendations are the "Green Monster Roll" if you are an avocado fan, or play it safe with the spider roll and the shrimp tempura. Overall the sushi was good and the atmosphere was very inviting. The ambient music was not bad, but a great soundtrack could really turn this spot into a "must try". The prices are slightly above average compared to some other places in the area but that is a reflection of the area itself. Compared to Uptown, Midtown or SouthPark however, the prices are very reasonable. Overall, I recommend it.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Where to Find Cheesesteaks in Charlotte NC - Part One

Cheddar Provolone Cheese steak with seasoned fries
When I am on the go on a weekend evening, I want to eat something substantial that can be prepared quickly, yet still relatively whole and unprocessed. Types of fats and calories don’t really concern me at that point, because I am just looking to assist my stomach with soaking up various excess macro-brews and cider. Cheese-Steaks fit squarely into my overlapping agendas. I decided to check out a few places around town and give you my thoughts. Here is part one of a two-part list.

Luigi's Pizza
Shops at Whitehall Commons 
8170 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28273 
(704) 504-2015
I heard these guys didn’t fool around when I comes to subs and so forth and this intelligence was most definitely confirmed. I ordered my sandwich and sat through a considerable wait, due to several gigantic pizzas being made. But when it arrived, the wait was worthwhile. The sub was ridiculously hot, but that also means it's fresh and once it cooled down I sprinkled some Parmesan on it and tucked in like I was waiting on a bedtime story. It was authentic NY style, just like the pizza. I recommend stopping by.

Steak & Hoagie Shop
903 Eastway Dr. - 3401 South Blvd. - 1542 Stallings Rd.
This place has been an old standby location since Time immemorial. They have an entire Greek menu as well, formerly known back in the day as “Greekos”, which has now been absorbed into the unified Steak N' Hoagie name. I always customize my order, even though they have a lot of sandwich options, and I typically order the Chicken Philly but I stuck with the steak format and ordered a small “south street” and a small “New Jersey” so I could flip the ingredients around a little on either. Both were good and worth the moderate wait. 

Letty's on Shamrock
2121 Shamrock Drive Charlotte NC 28205
(704) 817-8702
I heard about this place from some friends who live in the area and it looked so down-home comfort style that I decided to give it a try. I read that they had a cheesesteak on the menu and when I called to order it I spoke directly with the cook who described it very well. The wait was moderate, but the atmosphere is old-school and pleasant, so I enjoyed a bottled domestic beer, which was on special, while I waited. I have to say that it was one of the best cheesesteaks I ever had. The cheddar cheese on top of the provolone set it off straight like that. Even the fries were good (they were seasoned) and I don’t usually eat fries. If you are in the area I highly recommend them for takeout or stay for a quiet casual meal for two. 

Jack Beagles
3213 N. Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 334-5140
I was strolling around NoDa after some meetings and was looking to cop some lunch with a cold beverage. I walked into Jack Beagles and sat at the bar. It was very inviting and the staff was friendly. As I checked out the menu, I noticed that they gave many of the dishes colorful nicknames. That could really go either way, I thought to myself, just as I saw the cheesesteak they had called “the stugots”. Italian slang for a variation of “stu cazz” or “stu cazzo” i.e. “My d*ck” or “my balls”, or “my d*ck and my balls” used interchangeably to express defiance or disbelief. It featured grilled pepperoni in addition to the steak. How could I pass on that? I asked the chef to add green peppers as they were not listed in the description. The result…sha-boong. It kicked off like a loose forward. JB's has a good beer selection as well. Highly recommended.

American Deli
3126 Milton Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215
(980) 585-1237
This place is near my house and it's almost always busy. It's located in East Town Market, which makes it a destination location for me unless I need sneakers or baby clothes or overpriced domestic beer from Compare Foods. Traffic is always nuts and people drive and park like a blind monkey with no arms. But none of that matters when you cop hold of this mid 90's meat-fest they call a sandwich. I actually felt bad for my colon. But that's the way the news goes. The wings are pretty good too.

3124 Eastway Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 568-7933
There are several Portofino's locations around town, but to get the best cheesesteak, visit a location in a more ethnically diverse area (Sorry, gentrified slapsters). To get the full effect you have to visit a location where the pizza literally sticks to the box. If they hand you a bag with grease spots on it, you know you have something there.

All of the places mentioned have chicken-philly sandwiches and they are just as good as the steaks.
Stay tuned for part two!

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