Mijori

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 5/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes, please!
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MijoriMijori is a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar just north of 580 on Grand Avenue. There’s actually a whole strip of good stuff right there on Grand that I’ve really never explored but looks fun. And, I don’t entirely fear for my safety right there, so that’s always good.

We hit up Mijori with friends on a Friday night at about 8pm. We found ourselves fighting through a mass of people just to get within arms reach of the tiny whiteboard posted just inside the front door where we could write our names on the wait list. This place has some serious followers, and we waited with them for the better part of an hour to get our chance at a table.

Mijori

Inside Mijori

The facility is small yet nice, and bustling almost to the point of bursting. When we sat down at our table of four, however, the atmosphere was intimate enough that we were able to hold pleasant conversation without yelling and weren’t being disturbed in any way at all, really, by the other patrons. Busy but not riot-busy; I like.

The menu is extensive and includes all the Japanese standard items, including appetizers, udon noodles, dinner combos, sashimi, sushi rolls and specialty rolls, among probably more meat-centric dishes that I happily ignored. At our table there was: a veggie gyoza appetizer, sushi/sashimi dinner combo, vegetarian roll, asparagus roll, sashimi deluxe combination and a bowl of tempura udon.

Salad

Salad from Mijori

Rave reviews came in for every morsel of food, which I suppose isn’t surprising based on the sheer number of humans attempting to simultaneously enter this restaurant. Still, sometimes a large volume of people are just crazy (like Scientologists, for example), so it’s always best to check it out for yourself.

Gyoza

Veggie gyoza from Mijori

The gyozas ($5) were delicious. Crisp on the outside, yummy nondescript mush on the inside with tasty vinegar-based dipping sauce. I love dipping sauce, by the way, just fyi. All four of us were also, notably, served miso soup before we even ordered which made me extremely happy. The soup was fabulous.

Sushi/sashimi combo

Sushi/sashimi combo from Mijori

My sushi/sashimi combo dinner ($17) came with rice and salad and was awesome. I think I could drink that sweet salad dressing from a glass: SO good. A six-piece California roll, six generous slices of tuna sashimi, and five pieces of assorted sushi came on my plate and filled me up before I even touched the rice. Delish.

sushi rolls

Veggie sushi roll and asparagus roll from Mijori

tempura udon

Tempura udon from Mijori

The veggie rolls ($4 and $5) were gone in a flash; the sashimi deluxe platter for two ($27) was easily consumed by a single very happy man, and the tempura udon ($10)—besides a bout battling the extremely high temperature of the broth—was deliciously satisfying. Mijori was a success; I see why it’s so popular.

sashimi

Sashimi Deluxe platter from Mijori

My only complaint was that the service wasn’t completely top-notch. We received everything we needed but didn’t get refills on our waters throughout the meal. I love water refills, it makes me think they’re on top of everything. And it would have especially helped when boyfriend was being burned to death from the inside out by his molten noodle dish. But, the place was packed so I forgive. I’ll still certainly come back.

Mijori Sushi on Urbanspoon

Tandoor

Atmosphere: 2/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Probably not.
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Tandoor HaywardTandoor is just across the street from Moreau on Mission Boulevard in Hayward…between Harder and Tennyson if you’re not familiar with my high school’s location. It’s the one that used to be Thai, then Indian, then Thai, then Indian, then Thai…

You get the idea. Now it’s Tandoor, another Indian Restaurant. Let’s dive right in. There are a few problems with this place that have probably affected each tenant. First, the location isn’t great. It’s on a run-down, industrial/commercial strip of Mission Boulevard and people don’t really go to that area for a nice dinner. That said, there is a ton of traffic that passes right by, so if the place were awesome, I bet the customers would come. Second problem: the facility needs a lot of work. The design is outdated, the single-pane windows allow little insulation against whatever temperature it is outside, and the interior is poorly decorated. It doesn’t have a lot of ambiance and there are varying degrees of improvements that could be made to spruce up the place.

Tandoor Hayward

The inside of Tandoor in Hayward could use a little work.

When we walked in, we had to wait to be seated even though there were only two other tables of people there. The two employees were so quiet—though they were polite—that it was hard to get anything from them. My opinion of the service increased throughout the meal a bit as one of the men refilled our water glasses repeatedly; I love that.

Matter Paneer

Matter Paneer from Tandoor Hayward.

Kadahi Shrimp

Kadahi Shrimp from Tandoor Hayward.

The food wasn’t anything particularly special; the cheese in the Matter Paneer seemed old and squishy but the shrimp dish that we ordered (Kadahi Shrimp) was actually pretty good, though it was not served in a personal wok as described on the menu. The rice and nan were standard.

Indian Food

Our meal at Tandoor in Hayward.

Basically, this place was ok but why go when Pakwan is just down the street and, even better, Favorite is just down the street from that?

Tandoor Indian on Urbanspoon

Los Dos Hermanos

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Wouldn’t be opposed but not likely.
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Los Dos HermanosEver drive down Mission Boulevard (in Hayward) and see the the droves of Mexican restaurants that line the street? There are a great many of them, it’s true. Los Dos Hermanos is one of the many choices on this lonesome, long strip of road and resides on the west side of the street between Tennyson and Harder.

While it fits in with the surrounding single-story, run-down buildings, everyone seems to know this place. The sign is big and the building isn’t really in bad shape, especially compared to the neighbors. But have you gone in? Doubtful. I couldn’t find anyone I knew who had actually eaten here, though rumors floated around that it wasn’t great. I decided to try it out for myself.

Los Dos Hermanos

Interior of Los Dos Hermanos, Hayward.

Inside the restaurant, the decor was meager but acceptable while the low ceiling and poorly lit foyer were a bit off-putting. Seats by the window allow in plentiful light during the day and the hostess/waitress was a nice woman. The menu was well done (I have a thing about poorly organized/presented/constructed menus) and includes plentiful choices of Mexican fare. It wasn’t the fresh-mex that I hoped for—creative (and often healthier) fusion dishes aren’t the specialty here. Not that I had expected this, but it would have been a nice surprise.

menu

Menu cover at Los Dos Hermanos, Hayward.

I ordered the ensalada camaron (shrimp salad), which was well-made (see the care taken in organizing the extras on the salad) but wasn’t really anything special. The shrimp were ok, the salad was fresh enough, but the dressing was bottled and the toppings were unimaginative. Boyfriend ordered the veggie burrito with cheese enchilada, rice and beans. All was well with this dish—they are certainly qualified to cook traditional Mexican fare.

shrimp salad

Ensalada Camaron (shrimp salad) at Los Dos Hermanos, Hayward.

mexican food

Veggie burrito, cheese enchilada, rice, beans from Los Dos Hermanos.

Overall, like I say about many Mexican restaurants and taquerias in the area, there are so many different places to try around here that there’s no reason to return to a mediocre restaurant. If LDH were the only place in town, I’d have no problem returning since the food was decent, the price was reasonable, and the service was adequate. It’s the abundance of fabulous Mexican places in this area that will probably keep me from making any more trips to Los Dos Hermanos.

If I do go back—or if you decide to try it—note that they are listed on Restaurant.com where you can buy a $25 gift certificate for $10 (with a $35 minimum purchase) so you can save a few bucks! Also, this is a rad picture of chips and salsa, both of which were good at Los Dos Hermanos:

chips and salsa

Chips and salsa from Los Dos Hermanos, Hayward.

Los Dos Hermanos on Urbanspoon

Wakamatsu

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes!
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WakamatsuGood Japanese in Hayward, what, what?!  We just went to Wakamatsu Japanese Restaurant on Foothill Boulevard between C and D Streets.  Where is that place, you ask?  Yeah, it’s, like, the definition of a hole in the wall and totally just blends into the background of crap on Foothill.  But it’s good!

It’s tiny and run down on the outside, but the inside is nice enough and the lady that works there is super adorable.  She squeaks little Japanese words at you while she politely takes your order, is kind and smiley, and refills your water like nobody’s business.  The menu was good–standard choices of appetizers, lunch specials, dinner combos, and sushi.

We ordered miso soup (one of my favorite foods on this earth), I got a salad, a Hayward Roll (represent!), and some salmon nigiri sushi.  Boyfriend ordered a tuna roll, a side of rice, and a sushi pizza.  Yes, I said sushi pizza.  I have to admit, when I see something called sushi pizza on a menu, it’s relatively impossible not to order it.

Sushi pizza

Sushi pizza, appetizer size, from Wakamatsu

Sushi pizza is a bed of rice with mayo sauce and seafood on top all baked with some sort of cheesy goodness.  It’s a fabulous idea and I admire Wakamatsu’s creativity and innovation in offering it to me on their menu.  Bonus points here for sure.  The appetizer size was about as big as a slice of bread; they also offer a dinner entree size which I assume is larger.

The Hayward Roll is deep fried zucchini and yellowtail in sushi rice.  I’m not sure what it implies about Hayward that our dedicated roll is full of deep fried vegetables, but I’ll take it as a compliment since it was delicious.  The nigiri was fresh and tasty, and the tuna roll was standard and delicious.

Sushi

Sushi! From Wakamatsu, Hayward

While it’s not much to look out from the outside, I’ll definitely be returning to Wakamatsu!

Wakamatsu on Urbanspoon

Pancho Villa

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Sure
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Pancho VillaPancho Villa is a Taqueria on B Street in San Mateo that I reviewed for my Examiner.com webpage. I’m not sure if any of my b&c readers have been following my Examiner page, but Pancho’s was so good that I think it should cross over.

Plus, then I can just point you to something I’ve already written instead of write something new.  Lazy?  Maybe.  It’s been a busy week, what do you want from me?

Anyway, PV is a magical place with an immense menu, extraordinary service, and yummy food.  If you’re in the area, check it out.  And, make me a few pennies by reading my two-part review with individual slide shows here:

Pancho Villa Taqueria review Part 1 of 2: The immense menu and juice bar

Pancho Villa Taqueria review Part 2 of 2: The food, the service and everything else

Pancho Villa Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Claim Jumper

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Sure
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Claim Jumper FremontAh, American cuisine.  Gotta love it sometimes, even when it threatens to clog your arteries and send you keeling over into your full rack of ribs.  Claim Jumper is a large chain restaurant, which doesn’t usually qualify for the old B&C treatment.  I thought I’d take the time, however, to just say a few words about CJ, since it’s a bit of a special place.

And by special, I mean ridiculous.  The facility is huge.  The menu is huge.  The portions are huge.  The desserts are…you guessed it…huge.  Claim Jumper really is a mockery of normal sized portions of food.  It’s a guideline for overeating and a tribute to gluttony.  Seriously, this place is almost too much.

Ribs

Small order of Ribs, baked potato, and veggies from Claim Jumper

Somehow though, CJ manages to raise blood pressure and stretch seams with surprising grace.  The place is decorated as an old west steakhouse; it’s not original but it’s well done.  The menu is enormous but plentiful and certainly smile-inducing.  And the portions, while unnecessarily large, are a good value if you take home half of it for lunch tomorrow or fast for the rest of the week.

Claim Jumper Fremont

The cooking area, fully exposed to the seating area, at Claim Jumper Fremont

Basically, it’s not really my style since the food is generally based on quantity and meat, but it’s surprisingly nice, they have a vegetarian section of the menu, and the food is pretty dang good.  If you’re not into the steak and the ribs and the home-style cooking, I’d say gather your friends and theirs and stop by to share a colossal-sized dessert.  The dessert counter–viewable upon arrival in the lobby–showcases only a few of their meal-sized treats including a variety of cheesecakes, the giant eclair, and the “Chocolate Motherload” 6-layer cake.

Dessert counter

Motherload cake in the dessert counter

They also have 4 flavors of mud pie…mocha was absolutely delicious.

Mud Pie

The "No, seriously, get your spoon away from my pie" Mud Pie at Claim Jumper Fremont.

Claim Jumper on Urbanspoon