zenlunch's Reviews Added

Reviews Added

McGinnis Landing Restaurant - February 23, 2007
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Another solid local restaurant that deserves some attention. There's nothing terribly special about their menu selections - most are typical meals that can be found on a number of restaurant menus across town - with the exception of their Crunchy Chicken Thai Salad and their Onion Soup (both quite delicious, by the way). This being the case one might think they're no better than your everyday Applebee's or TGI Friday's type of restaurant...this is not the case. Their food may be somewhat typical, but it's also quite good. Nothing to rave about by any means but on the Olympic restaurant podium of taste they'd probably come in a decent second or in some cases third place. And that's pretty good.

The atmosphere amounts to a fairly dim-lit interior with the walls full of sports memorabilia and three monster-sized TVs above the bar. Once the weather begins to grow warmer they offer outdoor seating which breaks up the monotony of eating indoors all the time.

So like I said, this place isn't spectacular but it's solid and it's local. Two characteristics that have made me a repeat customer through the years.

I recommend this place.
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La Mixteca Restaurant - February 22, 2007
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Don't let the look of this place (inside or out) keep you from trying their food. This is Mexican cooking "Grandma-style." It's not fancy, but it's real and the taste alone is well worth overlooking the poorly insulated interior and less than spectacular decor.

I love the idea of supporting small, local businesses and La Mixteca is no exception. They are in the process of painting some beautiful Mexican murals on their walls which will help liven up the place. I'm hoping it will stick around long enough to make other improvements inside and out. I'd hate to see a business like this with so much potential fall by the wayside.

I recommend this place.
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Sushi Ya - February 18, 2007
18 out of 19 people found this review helpful. After living in Japan for two years, I came back to Kalamazoo hoping that a decent Japanese restaurant would someday come to town. About four years later Sushi Ya opened and I was genuinely excited at the possibility of finally being able to enjoy some authentic Japanese food.

Upon entering, I noticed the atmosphere was quite modern though they do offer at least two tatami rooms (woven straw mats) that can be reserved for private parties. The waitresses working those rooms wear traditional Japanese kimonos which helps add to the authentic Japanese environment.

I thought the food was quite good. My yakisoba meal (fried noodles with pork, cabbage and ginger) tasted wonderful and brought back great memories from my time in Japan. The gyoza (fried dumplings) and tempura ice cream were excellent too. And though the prices were a little on the high end, I will definitely be returning to this place to try out some other dishes - their sushi menu was like a Sears catalog so there are plenty of options for anyone looking to get a taste of the real thing.

Keep in mind that they serve Japanese/Korean infused food, meaning each dish served may not be entirely authentic though it will contain at least some elements of the original dish.

I personally feel like this is just the kind of place this town needs. Enough with the steakhouses and generic sports bars. Say hello to Sushi Ya. It's the Pacific Rim...Kalamazoo style.

I recommend this place.
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Full City Cafe - February 1, 2007
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful. The family and I stopped into this place for the first time the other day not quite knowing what to expect. The place had two areas - one side looked like a small coffee shop with a wide selection of pastries and other baked goods while the other was the cafe where you'd go to have an actual meal. The place was clean and the service was great though the decor was quite simple and lacked style.

But we were there for the food and to our surprise this place didn't disappoint. Though we only ordered sandwiches - a black bean burger and a grilled chicken sandwich - they were both very fresh tasting. Fresh vegetables and fresh herbs made for a better than average meal.

One thing I should mention is that their entrées were a bit more expensive than we expected - in the 12-14 dollar range - though based on how well we liked the sandwiches, I wouldn't be opposed to coming back again to give an entrée a try.

Overall, we enjoyed Full City Cafe and were satisfied with our decision to give their food a taste.

I recommend this place.
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World Market - January 31, 2007
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Excellent, excellent store! I shop here quite often because of their great prices on high quality, solid wood furniture and their wide range of other home decor. Much of their decor is influenced by Pacific Rim countries - Malaysia, India, Japan, etc. though they also have a nice selection of modern, more Western style pieces. They offer a wide variety of wines and micro brews in addition to a gourmet food section.

I can't recommend this store enough especially for those looking for affordable and unique home decor that makes a statement.

I recommend this place.
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Martini's Pizza - December 23, 2006
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Folks, this what you'd call local dining at its finest. This newly remodeled restaurant and bar offers the best tasting pizza in town. Just don't expect your typical deep dish pizza fare. These eats are more on the gourmet side, but don't let the word "gourmet" scare you (unless you're partial to $5 pizzas that sit under a heat lamp all day). These zesty-flavored pizzas will inspire you to stand up and holla "Amen!" to the local congregation. And if you happen to eat it in-house you'll have the pleasure of enjoying it in one of the more unique dining atmospheres in Kalamazoo.

If you do plan to eat in the restaurant keep in mind that peak hours (6:30-8:30) can be quite crowded with waiting times up to an hour - mainly due to their comparatively small seating area. You should also know they serve up far more than just pizza. Hot sandwiches, calzones and more fill the menu. I personally recommend the eggplant parmigiana sandwich, which though considerably large, left me wanting more. Downside? They don't offer sides to go with their sandwiches and the pizza is a bit pricey.

I found the service to be average and I found the roaming busgirl to be a little annoying. She would grab items off the table without saying anything - like a circling vulture waiting for some living creature to take its final breath. Other than that this place has become one of my favorite spots in town.

I recommend this place.
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Great Wall Restaurant - December 9, 2006
0 out of 0 people found this review helpful. If you don't mind eating overly greasy Chinese food that lacks flavor, this is the place for you. It's true that their prices are extremely reasonable, cheap even, but this is one of the all-too-common instances where you get what you pay for. And there are far too many quality Chinese restaurants in town that should take precedent over this one. If you can't afford them, you'd be better off putting your money toward a quality Chinese food layaway plan than to waste your pennies here.
I do not recommend this place.
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Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant - December 9, 2006
0 out of 0 people found this review helpful. My family and I have been to Los Amigos several times and have never been disappointed. The atmosphere isn't terribly fancy but it's clean and the service is excellent. More importantly, we all love the food. The free tortilla chips are served crisp and warm and you can easily tell the salsa is fresh as well.

Go with the combination platters to try a variety of items in one meal as well as a sampling of their Spanish rice and refried beans. Other than the Spanish rice, which is a little bland, the rest of their food has great flavor - though nothing too spicy or overpowering - a negative for those who prefer a swift kick in the pants when they eat Mexican food. For those who don't need a spice-filled beatdown, this place should be all the excitement your taste buds need.

I recommend this place.
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Cheeseburger In Paradise - November 24, 2006
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Love the atmosphere in this place. Tiki torches outside and the inside walls were painted to form an awesome beach-side backdrop. There were wakeboards, life vests and other beach sport decor lining the walls and a few small TVs hung from the ceiling.

The music was lively and upbeat - the perfect combination for young kids (in particular my two-year-old daughter) and the customary crayons and color book place mat offered a much needed distraction while we waited for our food (yes I said WE).

We received excellent service from the waitress and twice we were asked by the managers if everything was OK. Very attentive to say the least.

The food was pretty decent. I ordered their signature mini-cheeseburger dinner while my wife got the pork sandwich. Both came with "real" shoestring fries that were seasoned with what tasted like Lawry's Seasoning Salt. My six mini-cheeseburgers had a bit of a White Castle vibe, but the taste was far better. And though my wife enjoyed the flavor of the pulled pork sandwich she commented on how it would have been better if it had been lightly dipped in their barbecue sauce.

Surprisingly, my daughter's chicken fingers ended up being the highlight of my night (along with their fresh strawberry lemonade with real chunks of strawberry). There weren't any processed chicken feet and feathers here - just tender chicken strips with a tasty, crunchy batter. To be honest, I'd walk through the pouring rain or a raging blizzard just to have another bite.

Chicken strips shouldn't do that to a person...but they did. What can I say, man? I'm weak. Juicy chicken just makes me all wobbly at the knees.

I recommend this place.
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Finley's American Grill - November 19, 2006
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Several friends of mine who happen to have young kids praised the Finley's franchise for it's kid friendly atmosphere and I'd have to say they were right - to an extent. A quick scan inside the place revealed they had a large number of booth seats which are great to keep the kids in check and helps you avoid any unwanted stares from those adults who are unsympathetic to parents dealing with the chaos that kids often bring.

Didn't really matter much though because the place was plenty loud enough to cover any whining from impatient youngsters who've grown tired of coloring with the four crayons supplied by the restaurant. I saw a lot of families with kids of all ages and that made my wife and I feel good as we sat down with our daughter and proceeded to look at the menu. Our waitress was both timely and considerate, which I found to be quite impressive considering how busy and full of kids the place was.

But that my friends, are where the niceties end. Since I'm reviewing a restaurant here, naturally the focus should be on the food. And indeed that's where the focus was, and I mean that in a bad way.

So where do I begin? Well, my side salad was pathetic. Iceberg lettuce, two slices of sad cucumbers and a few crutons sprinkled on top. McDonald's carries better salads than this place. Seriously.

Next, I ordered a hamburger cooked medium and it came back well and charred all over. As a parent there was no way I had enough time to send back my burger nightmare and wait for a new one. So I ate as much as I could stand, leaving at least a third of it on my plate. Kids just don't allow delays of that magnitude.

Do I even need to mention the fries? Alright, they were unimpressive. The folks in the back would be better off just serving whatever's on sale in the frozen fries section at the local supermarket. My wife's taco salad? "Not so great." The sweet potato for my daughter was likely the best thing on the table, but then it's pretty hard to screw up a baked potato.

Man, what a joke. I mean, at least give me something equivalent to what I might eat at my own house rather than something I'd be embarrassed to say I paid for. And I'm just that - embarrassed. I feel like I got duped into eating at some cheap family fare run by elementary kids. And what's mind boggling to me is that the place was actually pretty crowded. So I guess that means either we were terribly unlucky and the food is normally delectable, or everyone who frequents this joint lacks any viable taste buds.

You'll have to decide for yourself...but you've been warned.

I do not recommend this place.
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Panera Bread - November 15, 2006
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. I dig this place. It's a bakery/cafe that offers fresh breads, soups, sandwiches and a variety of other delicious baked goods. I love panini and Panera offers the best. There's nothing better than a hot sandwich made with fresh ciabatta bread and two of my absolute favorites are the Frontega Chicken and the Turkey Artichoke panini. No one else in town has anything like them!

Another great thing about Panera is their seating - they've got all types. From tables and chairs to private booths and comfortable couches, there's something for everyone.

And as if that weren't enough, their selection of fresh breads and baked sweets are simply delectable. Sometimes when I'm having guests for dinner I'll make a special trip to Panera to put together a sampler dessert dish of various cakes and pastries. The feedback I've gotten has always been great, which says a lot about the quality of food Panera provides.

I recommend this place.
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Kalamazoo 10 - November 14, 2006
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful. This theater has a couple of big things going for it.

First, their prices are simply unbeatable. Adult tickets top out at $6.50 and they even offer a "twilight" deal between 4 and 6pm where you can get tickets for 4 bucks a piece. Of course they make up for this with their concession prices which happen to be a little steep, but the trade off is well worth it.

And second, the actual theaters are in great condition. They offer stadium seating, cup holders and comfortable, reclining seats. Though the reclining function seemed a bit stiff and almost felt like the seat was pushing back at me, and I would have liked to have some more leg room. But those two minor drawbacks didn't take much away from my movie experience.

Oh, and if you subscribe to their email newsletter you can get coupons for free drinks and other great deals.

So this is definitely the best theater in town, but with the new Rave cinema opening in downtown Kalamazoo this month, I suspect they'll soon be facing some stiff competition.

I recommend this place.
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Panchero's Mexican Grill - November 9, 2006
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Disappointment is the best way I know how to describe Panchero's. I felt like the fresh-feeling, modern decor was just a cover-up to less than average tasting food.

During my visit I tried the chicken fajitas and was surprised to see the meat served separate from the peppers and onions. Allowing them to hang out together on the plate would have made for a much more happy and flavorful dish. As it stood, the bland chicken needed a swift kick in the tail feathers and just didn't have enough pizazz to satisfy my taste buds.

Though their claim to fame are their tortillas made fresh for every meal, I found them to be rather thin and rubbery. Nowhere near what a real Mexican tortilla should look or taste like.

The only thing good about Pancheros is that it's not far from Qdoba. Another Mexican restaurant with similar style and far better tasting food.

I do not recommend this place.
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Food Dance Cafe - November 8, 2006
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Located in downtown Kalamazoo, the Food Dance Cafe offers some of the best food in town. Though it's a little pricey, their fresh ingredients and welcoming atmosphere makes it money well spent. And the inside has an artsy, contemporary decor that's completely original and inviting.

For lunch, the Bossa Nova open-faced sandwich is one of my favorites while my wife loves the Zydeco Crab Cake grilled sandwich (it's hard to get her to order anything different).

They also offer a variety of well-selected wines that complement their meals very nicely. Though there are a lot of great restaurants downtown, this is usually one of the first that comes to mind when I'm looking for good food I know I can count on.

I recommend this place.
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Big Burrito - November 8, 2006
0 out of 0 people found this review helpful. Simply put, I love this place. It's a small, local dive that offers the taste of delicious, home-cooked Mexican food. Their shredded chicken burrito is packed with flavor and if they weren't so BIG they'd leave your stomach grumbling for more.

With this place being so close to the campus of Western Michigan University, it's extremely well-known among college students and consistently a late night favorite.

The atmosphere is not the least bit fancy, after all it's just a burrito joint, but that's what makes the place so great - it's no frills, casual approach provides a comfortable place for practically anyone to take a seat and enjoy a good meal.

And how could I forget their monster burrito that stretches a ridiculous 17 inches? It used to be referred to as the "burrito as big as your head," now it's simply called the "don't even try it" burrito. For 18 bucks, I can't say I'll be trying it anytime soon. But I will say this - this place has made an unforgettable mark on my taste buds that I'll be savoring for a long, long time.

I recommend this place.
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Gallagher's Eatery & Pub - November 7, 2006
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. When you first walk into Gallagher's it comes across as your standard sports bar. Giant screen TV surrounded by a multitude of smaller screens all showing the day's hottest sporting events; then there are the pool tables, dart boards, video games...it's all there. And the food? Well, a lot of it is pretty standard - deep fried dishes, tasty burgers and plenty of hot sandwiches. Where Gallagher's really separates itself from its competitors is in its amazing beer selection and Irish influenced meals. Their Guinness Irish Stew and Corned Beef and Cabbage are simply delicious. And their wide selection of roughly 300 beers will make you want to sing out loud and dance in your seat.

Beers range from Michigan micros to International macros. From Kalamazoo's famous Bell's Oberon to India's Taj Mahal Lager. There's something for everyone - literally. With so many beers to choose from, they've even set up their own "Beer Society", and for five bucks you too can be a part of this elite club - though you'll need to drink all 300 beers to be formally recognized. But don't worry, it's a lifetime membership so no chugging is necessary.

The only downside to Gallagher's is that it's usually pretty smoky. If you can get past the fog then you'll get along just fine.

All-in-all Gallagher's is a great place - fun, casual, and down-to-earth. In the realm of Kalamazoo sports bars this place is among the best.

I recommend this place.
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