London Fish ‘n Chips

4 06 2011
Atmosphere: 1/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:4/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  I’d honestly rather go to Jay’s
___________

london fish 'n chipsLondon Fish ‘n Chips can be found across the street from Kennedy Park on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward. It’s inside a dingy, dated shopping center that characterizes miles and miles of territory along that route. I’d never even seen the place, much less heard of it; my friend Jon introduced us, touting it as an old family favorite of his. And so we went.

This place is pretty classic as far as fish ‘n chips go. Old, dark, not modern, no atmosphere to speak of. It’s very small, so I was able to photograph the entire place in just a couple shots; see for yourself.

front counter

Frount counter at London Fish 'n Chips

seating

Seating area in London Fish 'n Chips.

The menu was simple and pretty cheap. I was there with a few people and we all seemed to keep it standard and order some classic fish and chips. It’s an order at the counter place and they do actually have two beers, I believe, on tap. the entire place is so simple it’s almost hard to find enough to type about.

menu

Menu at London Fish 'n Chips.

The food was good, probably about on par with Jay’s; the only reason I’d choose Jay’s over London is that (a) the atmosphere at Jay’s is far superior and (b) there’s a choice of type of fish at Jay’s that far surpasses that of London. I think London was cheaper though, which was kind of amazing.

fish

Fried fish!

fish n chips

Fish 'n Chips from London Fish 'n Chips in Hayward.





Art’s Crab Shak

28 05 2011
Atmosphere: 2/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:3/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  Unlikely
___________
neon sign

Hayward Fishery neon sign.

Art’s Crab Shak, formerly the Hayward Fishery, can be found at the corner of Foothill and C Street in Hayward. The Hayward Fishery was an establishment from my childhood and was immensely popular locally. I don’t know when it changed hands, but it seems different than I remember from when I was a kid (granted, that was a long time ago), and, in short, I wasn’t terribly impressed. Let’s discuss.

A bit of confusion stems from the signage — they still maintain the “Hayward Fishery” neon outside (which is awesome, btw, see the thumbnail pic) and have both restaurant names scattered throughout different parts of the restaurant. Not sure what that’s about. The Fishery used to have a front area that was sort of like a covered patio, but had walls and felt more permanent but not totally like a part of the building. It had wood slatted floors, permanent tables and a sort of tarpaulin roof, if I recall correctly (which I may not). Anyway, at Art’s, this area was like a fossilized relic of what was previously there. It had weathered the storms of disuse, but not in a way I really wanted to see. It’s sort of a sad disused area that’s just sloppy and derelict now. And it’s the first part you walk through when you enter Art’s. Sigh.

sign

Confusing signage.

After making our way through the wasteland of an entry and into the proper foyer, we waited for someone to seat us. The foyer used to be a market of sorts, I believe, that had various seafoods for sale behind a series of refrigerated countertops; picture the Seafood area at Safeway but in a souvenir store. Maybe it still works like this in the day; but it was closed in the evening when we were there. Adjacent the foyer is a teeny tiny bar that seems to still be in use; a few stray stools allow a very limited amount of bar seating.

foyer

Art's foyer.

We were seated in the main dining area. The decor in this place is almost indescribable. I typically start “writing” blog posts in my head while I’m in a restaurant, but I was at a loss in Art’s. Ok: 60’s style fake veneer dark wood tabletops; padded chairs that were somewhat mismatched throughout the dining area; dark wood paneling halfway up the wall, trimmed green; turquoise paint for the rest of the wall height with odd sea-themed decor such as giant fake fish scattered around the walls. Dingy tile ceiling; scattered ceiling fans. I don’t think anyone else in there cared, but I found it depressing and a bit sad.

art's crab shak

Inside Art's Crab Shak, Hayward.

art's crab shak

Inside Art's, Hayward.

Menu has a variety of items ranging from casual to fancy-ish seafood, and priced quite high in some cases. Which may be good; you don’t exactly want to each cheap seafood. Crab is, assumingly, a specialty, but I hate eating things that require manual labor to consume, so I stuck with a fork and knife dish. Though all kinds of other people were eating the crab — yet another mildly appalling spectacle here at Art’s. Watching people slurp and drip and crack crab with greasy mouths and shiny fingers is probably one of the more sickening things that I am easily able to view in my daily life. I don’t like it; it’s gross.

Fish dinner

Fish dinner.

tuna melt

Tuna melt.

The food we ordered was actually decent, however. It was heart-attack food (at least mine was), but it was not bad. Fried sole with asparagus and hollandaise sauce (how could it be bad with hollandaise sauce) and a side of fries and veggies. Can’t say I was hungry after. The Caesar salad was mediocre, and boyfriend’s tuna melt was diner-good. The service was friendly, but seemed understaffed. We could not get any face time with our smiley waitress. Too bad. I don’t feel like I will return.





Dark Horse Lounge

26 03 2011

Shameless plug for my baby sis’s new bar Dark Horse Lounge in Hayward, NOW OPEN!!

Formerly the Whiskey River Saloon at Hesperian and Winton, Jenny has transformed this old-west style bar to a more contemporary version of your local watering hole. With a new coat of paint, some new light fixtures and a hell of a lot of scrubbing, the Dark Horse Lounge is ready to serve you a drink starting today!

dark horse lounge

They’re not serving food other than small nibbles at the moment, but come by for a cold beer, a cocktail or just to say hi to the pretty lady behind the counter (unless my dad is bartending… he’s not quite as pretty as Jenny). I’ll be stopping by today and I’ll keep everyone posted about any Grand Opening events or upcoming specials!

Yeay for opening a business, see you at the Dark Horse Lounge!!!

Dark Horse Lounge on Urbanspoon





Family House of Fish & Poultry

12 03 2011
Atmosphere: 1/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:2/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  Boyfriend likes it… so, yes.
___________

Family House ExteriorDude. Family House of Fish & Poultry. Let’s not even begin to think this place has its own website. Or that you’ve ever heard of it, even if you’re a Hayward local. Since we went to FH a few weeks ago, I’ve been asking friends if they’ve ever been there. Not one of them even knew the place existed.

Family House is located centrally and prominently on Mission Boulevard in Hayward just south of Carlos Bee. Anyone who knows the least bit about Hayward could easily find it. Yet no one knows about it. It’s the quintessential example of an Overlooked Establishment.

Nothing stands out about the exterior. Actually, while I had noticed this place before I went (I do have a food blog, after all), the exterior only really discouraged me from ever setting foot in the place. It’s beat up, run down and the main signage consists of a bar of soap scribbled on the windows*.

Not my type of place.

I do, however, have a food blog (as mentioned) and therefore a duty to boldly go where no one has gone before. And so we went.

Because I could type about this forever, let’s quickly get to the main points of Family House:

  • Order over the counter, to-go only.
  • No decor on the walls or counters.
  • Old, crummy, run down interior.
  • Folding chairs in the tiny lobby area are placed for you to wait for your order.

    Inside Family House

    The view of the front counter from the folding chairs waiting area.

They’re clearly not banking on atmosphere in any way, so how about the menu, food and service? Obviously something must appeal to someone since they’ve been in business quite a while.

Family House Menu

Menu on the wall at Family House of Fish & Poultry

The menu is mostly fish and some chicken, and includes lots of combos. The food is surprisingly expensive for the locale, patronage and decor. A 6-piece fish and/or chicken combo runs about $17, though it can feed 2 “normal” eaters. Combos include whatever meat you ordered (they offer fish, shrimp, oyster and chicken combos), 2 slices of bread (like, white Wonder bread), and 2 sides (fries, macaroni salad, potato salad, or cole slaw). It’s not freaking health food, ok?

The service is ok; the lady at the counter was nice enough. And as for the food: we have mixed reviews. I thought it was ok. The fish really tasted like chicken to me, which was sort of strange. The batter they use is totally not the English batter I’m used to (go to Jay’s for that), but was more like the spiced, dense batter on Burger King chicken nuggets.

The boyfriend loved it though.

Fish 'n Chips

Fish over Chips from Family House

The sides are fine: fries are the fat steak kind, salads come in tiny plastic ramekins and are probably from Costco. And I totally do not want Wonder bread with my dinner, that went to the birds.

Bread and Macaroni Salad

Bread and Macaroni Salad with our Family House Combo meal

All in all, Family House seemed like the kind of place that certain people absolutely love and the rest of us really have no reason to go to. Take your pick if you want to try it out.

Oh! Do note that they sell Sugar Mommie cupcakes at Family House, which are fabulous. It’s almost worth stopping in just for that.

*Or whatever they use to write on windows, but FH is all in crappy handwriting and not done nicely like you might see at a Walgreens or whatever.

Family House of Fish & Poultry on Urbanspoon





Buon Appetito — Revisted

7 03 2011
Atmosphere: 5/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  A Few* ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes, please
___________

Buon AppetitoHello again, Buon Appetito. My first review of Buon Appetito in Hayward followed my first visit about this time last year. Since then we’ve been back a couple times and I wanted to report on the growth of this place for those who haven’t been in a while.

Last time I commented on the new addition of the bar area to the main restaurant. They have now added a third space as they attempt to take over that entire tiny shopping strip. Sandwiching the bar area is a second seating area that could probably seat another 50 people easily. I didn’t ask who their interior decorator is, but it’s clear that they spared no expense — the place looks fabulous.

Buon Appetito

The newest dining room at Buon Appetito, Hayward

They’re also adding what appears to be a small patio area on the parking lot side of the main dining room, which seems to be almost finished. It’s really impressive how they keep expanding and using their profits to grow their space and, undoubtedly, their business.

A couple more dishes that we tried recently which should be mentioned:

  • Fried Calamari: Crispy and delicious but a bit heavy (as you might imagine from a deep fried dish). A good portion for the price. Comes with two dipping sauces, yum!

    Calamari

    Calamari

  • Chocolate Tart: I actually can’t find this on their online menu, but it’s a little chocolate cake-y thing served hot and filled with liquid chocolate goodness in the middle. It’s amazing. I should have taken a picture with the chocolate pouring out of the center, but I didn’t because I was too busy stuffing my face and pretending to offer a bite to my boyfriend even though I wasn’t going to relinquish any piece of this little blob of heaven. This is worth the trip to BA alone.

    Cake

    Chocolate Tart!

*As this is a “revisited” post subsequent to a previous post about the same restaurant, any changes in my ratings at the top of the post are shown in bold. Otherwise, they remain the same as before.





Crepes de Art

11 02 2011
Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited: A few  ♦   Will I Return?:  Most likely, sir
___________

Crepes de ArtCrepes de Art is a creperie — yes, a creperie — in Hayward. You read correctly, the forces of the world have combined in statistically improbable ways and delivered a slice of French chic right smack in the middle of downtown Hayward. And I accept this benevolent gift with promises to keep crepe-ing it up so long as they stay in business.

So, crepes. Have you met me before? It’s going to be hard for me to muster a complaint about anything crepe-related. Fortunately, I have no complaints about the crepes from Crepes de Art to date, they are quite good. The price is right (two crepes for around $11) and they are full of delicious foodstuffs as ordered.

Crepes de Art

Interior of Crepes de Art.

Crepe

Egg, mushroom, cheese crepe from Crepes de Art.

There is a variety of choices — both sweet and savory — including all the usual suspects: strawberries, bananas, apples, lemon, Nutella* and chocolate for the sweeties, and ham, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, turkey and veggies for the savories. And much more, actually, they get a bit creative with the combos (see menu). Plus you can always do a mix and match situation for all the crepe-control-freaks out there (you know who you are).

Crepe

Strawberry, banana, nutella crepe from Crepes de Art.

Crepe

Oh yeah, pose for the camera, you delicious crepe, you.

The presentation is nice (and well captured in my photos if I do say so, thank you for the nice lighting CdA), and the crepes are well crafted and just plain tasty.

Complaints: The times we’ve been here there were a few hiccups that bugged me a bit.

  • On our first visit they were closed. A sign on the door indicated that their water had been shut off. What was that about?
  • On our second visit the woman who worked there kept having to retrieve something from the refrigerator at the back of the space, which is right next to the tables where we were eating. I felt a bit like I was in her house.
  • The last two times we’ve been there the espresso machine has been broken. Our visits were two weeks apart, can we get a repair guy out here, please?
  • While the service is generally very good and the employees are kind, a couple of our visits found only one staff member present. This meant delays for ordering, busing tables and cooking food as one person had to “man” all the stations at once.

All in all, I do keep going back because I just plain love crepes and theirs are really good. I wish they would get it together a bit on the restaurant peripherals because it makes me wonder if they’re in for the long haul or not, but overall a totally great find in Hayward.

*If you don’t know what Nutella is: A) we should probably not be friends, and B) you should try some as soon as humanly possible (then we can be friends again).





Kokyo Sushi Buffet — Revisited

5 01 2011
Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  Two* ♦   Will I Return?:  For Sure
___________

Since Kokyo Sushi Buffet does not have a website, my previously posted Kokyo Sushi Buffet review has been receiving a lot of traffic, no doubt from potential customers. As my offer to create cheap websites for local restaurants has gone thus far unanswered, I feel obligated to update readers and google searchers about my findings regarding Kokyo Sushi Buffet.

A second visit to Kokyo has yielded some information about their lunch buffet. My previous post was regarding the dinner buffet only and the lunch is slightly different.

Much of the same food is present for the lunch buffet and in generally the same format. Notably, there is no sashimi at the lunch, as there is with dinner. There is sushi (fish on rice), and sushi rolls, but not just the fish by itself (sashimi). Also, there are no crab legs at either the hot seafood bar or the salad bar, which there were for dinner. As I’ve only gone once to each of these, I’m not sure if this is always true, but these changes seem in line with the relative costs of the lunch versus dinner. Prices are reviewed again below:

  • Lunch $8.95 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday
  • Dinner $14.95 4-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
  • Sunday and Major Holidays all day $14.95
  • Children ages 3-11 Lunch $2.50-$6.50 ($0.50 additional every year), under 3 free
  • Children ages 3-11 Dinner $3.50-$8.70 ($0.65 additional every year), under 3 free
  • Senior Citizens age 60 or above receive 15% off
  • Soft Drinks $1.25 with free refills
  • Buffet To-Go (excludes sashimi) $4.25/lb for Lunch, $5.95/lb for Dinner
  • Catering trays also available, menu at front counter of restaurant

Additionally, I would like to further comment on the soup available at their buffet. I have now tried both the miso and the hot and sour and both were extremely bad. I love this place and I think it’s a great value if you love sushi. But I have no idea what they’re doing wrong with their soups. Both were inedible to me and I thought that was very unfortunate.

hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup from Kokyo Sushi Buffet in Hayward

Also, the awesome donuts that I raved about last time weren’t as good the second time around; the magic was gone. I think last time the batch was fresh out of the oven and was far better for it. But, I ate one again this time anyway as they are still good.

For the full picture run-down and descriptions of all the food at the buffet stations, see my original post.

Have you gone to Kokyo Sushi Buffet? Tell me what you thought of it with a comment below! I’d love to hear how everyone’s liking (or not liking) Hayward’s latest addition. Also, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask with a comment, I try to respond to every comment within a couple days. Thanks!

*As this is a “revisited” post subsequent to a previous post about the same restaurant, any changes in my ratings at the top of the post are shown in bold. Otherwise, they remain the same as before.

Kokyo Sushi Buffet on Urbanspoon








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