by Norma M. on
No shame in my game. It was my first time partying it up in Alhambra (April 2010) and I had the time of my life at Ambiente. What's the big fuss about? What more could you want in a place? The music was great, the drinks were strong and not 15 bucks each, there was enough room to dance until you were sweating gallons...I don't see the problem here. I'm a big believer in the saying "it's not where you go, it's who you go with." That being said, perhaps that's why I had such a blast. We were celebrating a friend's birthday so I was already in a great mood upon arriving. The dress code for the fellas wasn't too bad and since we were on some kind of fancy schmancy list, we didn't have to pay. The music is what won me over, man. Hip hop, salsa, cumbia, merengue, old school hip hop...I was in bailarina heaven there. I definitely wouldn't come here if I wanted to check out hot men, BUT it's a cool spot to dance it up with friends.
by Lanie Mcmorries on
I've been here twice, and the quality of the fish was superb each time. The first time, a friend and I did the omakase ("chef's choice"), but I think the mistake we made was that we chose to do omakase even though we were given a table (the place was packed and no sushi bar seats were available.) Omakase is really meant to happen when you're at the sushi bar, when the interaction that you have with the sushi master can help guide him to your "eating level". He can gauge whether or not you're just the salmon/tuna/crunch roll type--not that there's anything wrong with that--or if you're comfortable enough with those things AND stuff that's a little less pedestrian. And if you're the latter, it basically gives a great sushi chef carte blanche to serve you what he wants, what he knows to be special, fresh, and delicious. Perhaps the monkfish liver. Or decapitated ama-ebi and the fried heads follow-up, eye balls staring blankly at you (groan! so good). Or freshly grated wasabi, as opposed to out of the tube, with a seriously sharp horseradish bite, and non-pasty texture. Unfortunately, since we were at the table, there was no such interaction, so what came out were...well, pedestrian. Some shrimp tempura. Some yakitori. Some not-too-interesting salad. A sashimi plate of tuna, salmon, red snapper. Stuff like that. Everything was fresh and delicious, but the types of things coming out weren't wowza. There weren't any silken pieces of toro, no scary-looking but delectable fried yellowtail cheek, no scallops in yuzu juice with a little roe ontop. I mean, he didn't send out a California roll or anything like that (again, nothing wrong with that if that's your thing, but if you really REALLY love sushi, you love the "nasty bits" too.) We should have just ordered off-menu, and would have--in addition to the omakase--but the bill was getting too high. It was already $65pp for omakase, not counting alcohol, tax and gratuity. And I was picking up the entire check, so I was paying almost $180 for just omakase and drinks. I know, I know...my friends are deadbeats. Moral of Trip #1: Omakase NEEDS to be done at the sushi bar. Then, we went a second time, at Saturday night, fourtop at a table. Place was packed again, waited about 25 min. Fine. We ordered off menu, and this time got to eat the monkfish liver (only a half order by then since they ran out) and the sweet shrimp (with fried heads!). We got some crunch rolls too, which were yummy. And the agedashi tofu was really good as well. Hamachi kama (yellowtail cheek), hamachi sashimi, both superb. Everything, again, was of super fresh quality, and delicious. Again, kinda expensive, in this SoCal girl's eyes. Maybe because I'm used to living near water, and thus also lower prices for high quality fish? But then again, I've had great meals at Sushi Bar Yu-ka in Buckhead and the quality of the fish was comparable. Oh, one great thing was that Haya-san came by to talk to us personally, and asked us about our meal, which was really nice of him. He's seems like such a fun and warm guy. He passed us some New Year's postcards with his smiling face on it, saying "HOHOHO". Hilariously awesome. And also, pointed out that since he opened this place on Feb. 29 last year, he won't have a one year anniversary until 2012...hee. It's such a little but much-appreciated thing to have your chef come out and greet you personally. Great touch Haya-san. Anyways, Moral of Trip #2: Great place, great heart. A little expensive even with respect to comparably good places, but you know it's gonna be fresh and yummy everytime.
by Lori Wyker on
Another great pub from the folks who brought you Monk's and Nodding Head. Great beer selection, quality food, friendly vibe. Try the spicy green beans. People eat them like French fries here...so good. But the real fries are good, too. And the burgers. The Philly 'gastro-pub' scene is a bit richer thanks to Grace.