Review: London Fish ‘n Chips

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
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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…. 

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Review: Art’s Crab Shak

Update: Art’s Crab Shak in Hayward is now closed.

 
Atmosphere: 2/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:3/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  Unlikely
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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…. 

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New Bar: Dark Horse Lounge

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

Review: Family House of Fish & Poultry

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

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Review: Buon Appetito — Revisted

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

… 

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Review: Crepes de Art

Update: Crepes de Art in Hayward is now closed.

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited: A few  ♦   Will I Return?:  Most likely, sir
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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…. 

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Kokyo Sushi Buffet — Revisited

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

La Imperial

Atmosphere: 1/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 2/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One  ♦   Will I Return?:  No, Thank You
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La Imperial* in Hayward has been around since the ’70s as per the dot matrix printing on the front of their menus. This is a difficult review for me because, like some other Hayward favorites (case #1, case #2), I don’t really like it. But some people are wholly devoted to this place, per their Yelp reviews. And since there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing, I’m going to tell you my side of the story.

La Imperial is on C Street in Hayward between Mission and Main. It is directly adjacent to another Mexican restaurant, Los Compadres, which is a bit odd. I have only been to the latter once, but I recall it being very diner-esque and nothing particularly special regarding food or service. But that was a long time ago. And it doesn’t matter because, given the choice now, I’d go pretty much anywhere besides La Imperial. Let’s discuss the pros and cons:

Pros of La Imperial:

  • It’s downtown and centrally located
  • Parking in front is easy to come by
  • The food is pretty cheap and/or the portions are huge compared to how much they cost
  • The waitress (at least the one when we were there) is extremely nice, friendly, talkative and good at her job.

Cons of La Imperial:

  • It’s on C Street which isn’t the nicer part of downtown
  • It’s a diner: leather booths; fake wood paneling on the back wall; old, hideous linoleum floors
  • The layout of the furniture is atrocious
  • The menus are from circa 1980
  • The patrons (at least when we were there) were… low caliber (is there a nice way to say white trash?)
  • The food was not great
  • The nachos had nacho cheese on them (this will be discussed further below)

Entering La Imperial felt, to me, like being magically transported to a diner in Nevada. It’s like they took a small, crappy roadside steakhouse outside Carson City and put up a few pinatas and a south-of-the-border-esque murals and called it a Mexican restaurant. It was the first time I’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant and not heard one single word of Spanish spoken (Australia included!). It was extremely eerie and not terribly faith-inspiring.

La Imperial

Inside La Imperial, Hayward

La Imperial

Looking toward the front door inside La Imperial, Hayward

So, the people who like this place DO NOT CARE about atmosphere. And some people don’t, that’s fair enough. I do care and I didn’t like it. So there. The people who Yelp up a storm are lovers of their food, however, and the service.

We ordered nachos, a bean/rice/cheese burrito and an enchilada combo. The entire meal cost $19.76 with tax (add $3 for tip). The nachos were just tortilla chips and nacho cheese like at a goddamn baseball game. This is so wrong in my opinion. At the very least, nachos should have regular shredded cheese melted over chips. I also submit they should have any combination of beans, salsa, sour cream, guac or olives. Jalapenos are also an acceptable nachos ingredient., though I always pick them off. Velveeta or whatever is not ok at a sit-down restaurant. Having said that, I do love movie theater nachos, so I partook. But not without judging harshly beforehand.

nachos

Nachos from La Imperial, Hayward

The burrito was ok, though the tortilla wasn’t yummy for some reason. The concoction was a bit plain and since boyfriend didn’t like the salsa (which he usually uses to drown a burrito), he didn’t enjoy it terribly. As a side note, I thought the salsa was tasty though a bit too spicy.

burrito

Burrito from La Imperial... should have gotten a pic of the inside...

I ordered a cheese enchilada meal (2 cheese enchiladas, rice, beans and a salad) for $10.50. It was an amazing amount of food and probably the best thing on the table. I liked that they gave me a bowl of salad with home made Thousand Island dressing as opposed to the tiny scattering of lettuce most Mexican places call salad. The enchiladas were fine but they had the most cheese I’ve ever seen in an enchilada. It was like eating a melted block of cheese with a thin covering of tortilla around it — a bit overwhelming. The rice and beans were solid, kudos to them on that.

salad

Salad with chips and salsa from La Imperial, Hayward

enchiladas

Enchiladas, rice and beans from La Imperial, Hayward. Look at the fork for scale -- so much food!

As for the service, the waitress was totally sweet, seemed to know everyone and was on top of her orders. She seemed neither lazy nor incompetent and was probably the very best thing that La Imperial had going for it in my opinion. If she had been a crotchety crone I would have been grasping at straws to compliment much of anything about this place.

Overall, La Imperial is not my kind of place. The atmosphere is grungy and the food isn’t the premium Mexican that I’ve grown to know and love being a native Californian. To those who love it, I’m glad you do. As for me, I’ll try someplace else next time.

*Yet another restaurant for which I could not find a website… come on people!

La Imperial on Urbanspoon

Kokyo Sushi Buffet

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  One  ♦   Will I Return?:  For Sure
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KokyoThat’s right, this is the new sushi buffet place in Hayward! If you’re a Hayward-ite, you’ve driven by this numerous times; it’s the corner spot on the 2nd floor of the new shops surrounding the movie theater on B Street. And if you’re not in Hayward often, now you know that we have something mildly awesome — buffet sushi!

Let’s talk logistics. How does a sushi buffet work? I was skeptical because if there aren’t any patrons, the stuff sits there. And that’s no good with any food, let alone raw fishies. We went on a Sunday night and it was packed by the time we left (we were there early), and it’s been pretty full every time I’ve driven by. So, that will keep the food fresh right there, as long as it’s fresh to begin with.

seating

Inside the seating area of Kyoko

Which brings up the second concern. Is the food fresh? The buffet is pretty cheap — $15 per person for dinner — which didn’t give me a whole lot of faith in the quality. I mean, sashimi is expensive and here I can eat all I want. How are they making money? I think I figured it out. The sashimi is good — not Genghix good, but way better than Safeway* — but I don’t think everyone is eating it. About half of the buffet is standard Chinese style hot dishes — chow mein, fried rice, broccoli beef, egg rolls, sweet and sour shrimp — which is considerably cheaper to make and more filling to eat. Add a bunch of cheap, fatty, greasy foods and, voilà, you’re back on budget with your sushi buffet.

buffet

"Chinese food" area of the buffet

Not to say that the food there is bad…everyone loves fatty and greasy. And if you’re not in the mood, that’s what the sushi is for. Boyfriend and I consumed a fair amount of sashimi (raw fish by itself) and a few types of sushi (fish on a ball of rice) along with a few other things (baked scallops, edamame, fried coconut shrimp, asparagus). We thought it was great!

Let’s go over the layout. There are 5 or so main stations of food:

  • Appetizers: edamame, seaweed salad, other stuff
  • Salad: green salad mix, crab legs, shrimp, hard boiled eggs, dressing, misc fixings
  • Sashimi: tuna, salmon, butter fish, seared ahi, a few others
  • Sushi: plain sushi (raw fish on rice ball), fancy rolls (California rolls with extra stuff inside and/or on top), and deep fried rolls (they sort of taste like donuts!)
  • Seafood: more crab legs, coconut fried shrimp, baked scallops, oysters, clams, grilled salmon
  • Chinese food: the stuff I mentioned before (chow mein, fried rice, broc beef, sweet and sour whatever, etc.)
  • Fruit & Dessert: variety of fruits (bananas, apples, melon, oranges, etc.), pudding, tapioca, jell-o, soft serve, donuts, cakes, tarts, etc.
    japanese appetizers

    Appetizer area

    deep fried sushi

    Deep fried sushi rolls taste like donuts

sushi

Sushi/sashimi area

seafood

Part of the seafood area: oysters and crab legs

fruit buffet

Fruit area

I love buffets because I love choosing things. Pictures of our plates are below. Summary of foods eaten: the edamame was good, though not warm (darn!); seaweed salad was really good; sashimi was great (especially considering the price); I didn’t love the sushi rolls I tried, so stuck with the sashimi; baked scallops were really just baked seafood and were ok; the veggies in the Chinese area were fine, didn’t try much else.

Sushi

Plate 'o fish, yummmm

sushi plates

I had 3 plates, bf had 4...notice a pattern?

And as for the best and the worst? The miso soup was the worst I’ve ever had, which was surprising. The boxed kind from Trader Joe’s is better, seriously. But, the donuts in the dessert area (sadly, this is where I focused at the sushi place) were amazing. I usually don’t even go for dessert at an Asian place (sorry to stereotype, but it’s true), but these were heavenly.

donuts

Best donut-things ever!

Overall, I think this place was nice. It was strange to get a view of Hayward from a 2nd story commercial building (see below), I couldn’t think of a time this has ever happened before. The patrons were a step up from the Hometown Buffet, the atmosphere was nice, the spread was exciting, and the sushi was definitely good. I recommend this place if you like sushi/sashimi and/or Chinese food!

view of hayward

View down B Street from a window seat at Kyoko

*Yes, sometimes I get the sushi packs at Safeway for lunch at work. They make them fresh, there’s high turn over and I’ve never felt ill afterward. The sushi they use just isn’t the best; it’s not terribly tasty.

Pepe’s Taqueria

Atmosphere: 2/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Possibly
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Pepe'sYou may have noticed Pepe’s Taqueria on one of your millions of trips down Mission Boulevard (if you’re a Hayward frequent-driver, that is); it’s on the west side of the street between Harder and Tennyson (across and down a few blocks from Moreau). It’s a smaller place, but it’s got its own parking lot and it’s painted bright yellow so that it blends in a bit less with the flooring stores, consignment furniture lots and appliance outlets.

The interior has a dated, fast-food feel to it; nothing special there for sure. But what did you expect from a taqueria in the bowels of Hayward? I was just excited that there was no bullet-proof glass between me and the cashier. The menu is posted above the counter and offers all the taqueria-style favorites (burritos, tacos and the like) for pretty cheap prices.

Pepe's

Inside Pepe's: the front counter.

Pepe's

Inside Pepe's: The seating (and a yawning man).

A duo of signs at the front door boasts the “best fish tacos” and “best Mexican food”. I beg to differ and suggest they re-think this strategy as I in fact ordered a fish taco. It was ok, but it was a bit dry and is nothing in comparison to Tacos Uruapan. Having said that, however, the wet burritos are something quite special indeed.

taco

Fish taco, rice, beans from Pepe's

Boyfriend ordered an “El Cheapo Burrito” which is essentially a veggie burrito with rice, beans, guac and sour cream. The zinger was that he ordered it “wet” meaning that they slather the burrito in enchilada sauce and cover it in melted cheese. This makes all the difference and their enchilada sauce was absolutely heavenly. I have no idea what was in there that would be so much better than other enchilada sauce, but it was indeed far superior.

burrito

Glorious "El Cheapo" wet burrito from Pepe's.

And the El Cheapo held true to it’s name at only $4.50. And it could have fed a horse* so this option was indeed a good value.

The rice, beans, salsa and chips were all pretty good; these are other items I use to gauge the quality of Mexican restaurants. As nothing was terribly amiss and that wet burrito was cheap and delicious, I would have to say that I may return to further investigate the wonders of the wet burrito.

robot

Plus, gotta love robot man inside Pepe's.

*If said horse enjoyed Mexican food, of course.

Pepes on Urbanspoon