Updates About Restaurants I’ve Reviewed

Howdy, howdy!  Happy November!  Is everyone getting ready for the holidays?  They’ll be here before you know it.  I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving and the month where everything is peppermint flavored.  Are you looking forward to anything?  Anyway, Dad and I recently went to a restaurant I reviewed a long time ago and it was kind of blah.  So, I thought I would take the day to look back on past reviews and see if there is anything I need to update about them.  Let’s just go in chronological order from the beginning.

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1. The Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro.  I honestly have no idea how this one is holding up since I haven’t been back to Maine recently.  It’s still open according to Google, so if you’re in the area, check it out and let me know how it is.

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2. Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill.  This place is still one of our favorites.  We don’t get out that way as often as we’d like, but we still recommend it to anyone in the area who loves seafood.

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3. Big Shucks Oyster Bar.  This place is still the best when it comes to scallops.  We haven’t gone recently (we’d rather go to Half Shells most of the time), but we still love it.

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4. St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin.  We haven’t been to any of the Deep Ellum restaurants in a long time because of all of the stuff that’s been going on (violence and the scooters of doom mostly), but we always enjoy St. Pete’s when we do go.

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5. The Free Man Cajun Cafe.  Same as St. Pete’s.

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6. Real Mexican Tacos.  It’s still our go-to taco place.  We usually end up here once or twice a month since it’s so close.  Say hi if you drop in and we’re there!

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7. The Mansion Restaurant.  We haven’t been back and have no plans to go back.  It’s a wonderful experience, but not something that needs to be done every year.  Splurge if you’re celebrating something big.  Otherwise, there are less expensive places where you get more food.

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8. Zenna.  Everything has gone downhill here.  The food is always disappointing and the service, while friendly, is always a little messed up.  It’s not really a place I’d recommend anymore.

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9. On the Lamb.  They shut down a long time ago.  I kind of miss them, but didn’t really expect them to make it.

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10. Texas de Brazil.  Still awesome.  And it’s our new Thanksgiving tradition!  Dad, our neighbor, and I already have our reservation for turkey day.  So much yum.

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11. Seafood Shack Mariscos.  We’ve only been back a couple of times, but we enjoy it.

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12. The Schooner Restaurant.  Haven’t been back and don’t want to.  Even if we were in the area, we wouldn’t go back.

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13. Crispy ‘N’ Puffy Taquito.  They are closed.  It’s no surprise.  But they blamed the city of Mesquite and its strict regulations regarding signs.  It had nothing to do with awful food.

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14. Trinity Hall Irish Pub.  We’ve been back a couple of times and it’s still great.  Go and enjoy!

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15. Yoshi Shabu Shabu.  We haven’t been back, so I don’t know how it holds up.

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16. Fritzl’s Euro Grill.  Still recommend it.  Maybe we’ll make it back some time before Christmas.

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17. Burger Style Cafe.  Still go here every couple of weeks or so.  It’s delicious and nearby, so what’s not to love?

There’s my update.  Most of them are still good, a couple are closed, and one is meh.  Life goes on and things change.  What are some of your favorite places to eat?  As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

A Look Inside Zenna

Hi again!  I haven’t done a restaurant review in quite a while, so I figured it was about time.  Dad and I tried Zenna, a relatively new Thai and Japanese restaurant in Mesquite (I have no experience with the other locations, just to be clear), again on Sunday.  We tried it once before when it first opened and the food wasn’t that good, but we usually give places a second chance unless something drastically bad happens, so here are my thoughts on our second try.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures, so you’ll have to deal with the couple I borrowed from their Yelp page.

A reminder of my rating system:

MMMMM = Everything is magnificent!
MMMM = Great, but something is off.
MMM = Pretty good, but a couple of things could be better.
MM = The bad’s starting to outweigh the good.
M = Definitely more cons than pros.
… = I couldn’t find anything nice to say.

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The front.  It’s where Bikini’s used to be over by Kaze’s and Chili’s for those familiar with Mesquite.

 As usual, I’ll start with accessibility.  Other than the semi-tight squeeze to get out of the way so Dad could open the second set of doors (not unusual at all around here, thus the norm), it’s pretty easy to manuever around this place.  Where there are steps, there’s also a ramp.  They have some half-booths available so I could sit on the side with chairs and Dad could’ve had a choice, but we sat at a regular table instead.  Table height was perfect for me, but I did run into the central table leg.  It wasn’t a major inconvenience, though.  So, A+ for accessibility.

Service.  The waiter was pretty good.  He was a little iffy when it came to whether or not he thought he should talk to me, but after a couple of reminders that I could indeed order for myself, he seemed to get more comfortable.  He was good about not rushing things and brought everything we asked for in a timely manner.  Dad did have to ask for a refill on his seltzer, but that’s no big deal since the waiter was always nearby and quick to respond.  He did forget to ask us about the spice level we wanted, but after our first experience (my level two came out more like a level four), we were fine with adding the chili paste ourselves.

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The menu.

 And, of course, we must discuss the food.  This was where things went wrong on our first visit.  Everything was either bland or burn-your-taste-buds spicy.  This trip was much better.  We had the sashimi seaweed salad (the fish tasted fresh and the seaweed was weirdly delicious) and basil chicken wraps (definitely recommend) to start.  We also shared a bowl of Tom-Kah Kai.  This is one of those things that we have at every Thai place we go to and basically judge everything else based on our experience with this soup.  Some places have amazing Tom-Kah and some don’t.  We don’t usually go back to the ones without it.  Zenna’s Tom-Kah Kai is really good.  It’s not my absolute favorite, but it’s close to home and satisfying.

For entrees, Dad had the combination Sweet Basil and I had the chicken Pad See-Eew.  Both dishes were yummy and had really nice flavors.  Dad actually said his needed more vegetables.  MORE.  The carnivore that is my dad wanted more veggies.  That’s saying a lot.  Other than that, we enjoyed our meals both that night and the next morning with poached eggs on top.  We also split a Midnight Roll (smoked eel, cucumber, avacado, salmon, and some other stuff), which wasn’t bad, but if I want sushi and the like, I’d rather go a few restaurants over to a place called Kaze’s.

Dessert… Dad got the sticky rice with mango and I had the black rice with coconut custard.  Both were good in their own right, but not my favorite.  I’m used to the black rice being more of a pudding than this was, but otherwise it was tasty and I have nothing to really complain about.  It was simply not what I was expecting.

Lastly, the price.  It actually wasn’t too bad considering portion sizes.  Dad and I have easily dropped $100 on that amount of food.  This was about $70 (pre-tip.  Always remember to tip your servers.).  Not bad at all.

So, overall I was happy with this experience.  We’ll go back.  There are better Thai places, but they’re all a half-hour or so drive for us.  It’s nice to have a place ten minutes down the road.  My official rating:

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