Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On hiatus, but returning soon!

Hello lovely readers! 

We are so sorry to have abandoned you without an explanation for our hiatus or with a projected return date.  Last year MD had surgery on her foot (twice!) and was out of commission.  A year and three days later she's still on crutches, but very much on the mend.  We're hopeful that once she's regained some mobility we'll be able to resume our reviews and blogging.

Thanks to everyone who sent messages checking in and letting us know we were missed.  We didn't realize how many faithful readers we have!  Keep checking back in or follow us on Twitter for updates.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Sophia's Place

Sophia's Place
6313 4th St NW
Los Ranchos, NM

You know how on Christmas morning how disappointed you felt when you opened up that beautifully wrapped box under the tree only to find two pairs of new socks in it? That’s what it was like for us when we had lunch at Sophia’s Place. You might know that this restaurant was featured on the Food Channel’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” and got a rave review from the host, Guy Fieri. We saw that episode and were excited to go to Sophia’s and have a wonderful meal. Unfortunately, our experience and Guy’s were not the same.

The first thing you must overcome when entering the restaurant is the EXTREME rustic nature of the place. It’s small, unorganized, absent any sort of décor, has a soda machine in the dining room, and the bathrooms are outside around the corner – rather like the bathrooms at a gas station. It was clean, but that really is all you can say about the ambience. There were several small Formica tables sitting haphazardly around the small room, the walls need paint and except for the gorgeous beamed ceiling (go figure) the place had no redeeming esthetic qualities.

When entering Sophia’s Place, you walk up to the cash register and order your meal from offerings written on blackboards posted on the walls. After you place your order you may get your own drinks from the soda fountain using a plastic cup (ugh) and find a seat. There is seating outside, which would be preferable, but it was a cool day and we chose to sit indoors.

We ordered the Lamb Enchiladas and the Baja Tacos with salmon. Service was relatively quick and soon we had our plates, which looked appetizing.

The Lamb Enchiladas were a huge disappointment. The lamb was ground lamb, which would have been fine had it not been cooked into oblivion and crunchy. Overall it was like the leavings left in the frying pan after you make hamburgers – those small, hard, pebbly pieces. All the lamb in the enchiladas was that way – tasty, but truly offensive. And there wasn’t much of it between the corn tortillas. There were diced potatoes mixed into it and the whole thing was covered with green chili. The chile tasted sweet and not spicy, and was not delicious. It came with a fresh mesclun salad that had a nice, refreshing vinaigrette, and was very good, and there was a serving of black re-fried beans that were spicy and delicious. The beans were the highlight of the plate and would be the only thing we would want again. 

Under the sea of chile and cheese are lamb enchiladas 

The Baja Tacos were filled with salmon that had been deep fried, had pico de gallo that was fresh and good, but the avocado slice looked old with its black pock spots and stringy texture. On top of that was a scoop of coleslaw and pickled onion. The coleslaw was thick with mayonnaise and way too heavy for a fish taco. It would have been nice if they had just added some cabbage instead. The taco itself was okay, but needed salt and we’ve had better fish tacos many times. The plate came with pinto beans and rice, both of which were dry and flavorless. And it came with the same mesclun salad that was the highlight of the plate.

Baja Tacos with salmon

Twice while were eating Native American hawkers came through trying to sell us jewelry, which was uncomfortable. As we ate we noticed that the empty tables weren’t being cleared and there were several dirty tables awaiting service.  There was only one other party inside and a couple outside. 

Our lunch – without tip – was over $31.00. That’s pricey for lunch, but worth it if the food is really good. Sadly, the food was not, the experience was not fun or even pleasant, and we don’t plan to return. We were so disappointed when we left Sophia’s.  After the stellar recommendation of the Food Network, we can see that things must have changed. There is no way Mr. Fieri would have highlighted what we got on his show!

Sophia's Place on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tiffany’s - Frankenmuth, MI

656 S. Main
Frankenmuth, MI 48734

Located on Frankenmuth’s delightful Main Street, Tiffany’s was originally the Hotel Goetz in 1904 and has been revitalized many times in the last century. With a diverse menu featuring seafood, Italian and American fare, and pub specials, it is uniquely charming and quite popular among tourists and locals alike. Traces of the original architecture and design elements from the Hotel Goetz are still present from the tin ceiling (now painted gold) to the polished woodwork and tiny tile mosaic flooring to the Tiffany chandeliers that gave Tiffany’s its name, old meets new and creates a distinctive atmosphere.

We were drawn to Tiffany’s after hearing about their pasta pizza. Curious about this combination, we elected for the Chicken Portabella Marsala Pasta Pizza as our shared entrée and the Cajun Crawfish Salad to split. Because we were chilled from the persistent rain outside, we also got a cup of French Onion Soup and an order of Pierogies to start.

The pierogies (not pictured) were out first and were filled with potato and cheese. We enjoyed them, though we really liked the potato and cheese filling more than we liked the exterior. It was bland and basically served as a vessel for the filling. The French onion soup was good, but much like the pierogies was devoid of any depth of flavor. The broth had a semi bitter flavor to it and while it served its purpose of warming us up, it wasn’t the best French onion soup we’ve ever had.

French Onion Soup

The salad came out next and it was delicious! It consists of mixed lettuce, onions, croutons, and crawfish tail meat. The lettuce was crisp and fresh and the Bayou buttermilk dressing that came with the salad was addicting and richly flavored to complement the crawfish. We hungrily devoured the salad  without getting a picture and were still enjoying the flavor combination of the dressing and crawfish when the pizza arrived.

To describe the pasta pizza is no easy task. Simply stated it is a pizza crust with pasta and sauce on top. We tried to eat it like a regular slice of pizza, but found that the alfredo sauce had made the thin crust soggy, so we ate it with a knife and fork which proved helpful in cutting the pasta. You might recall that we orderd the portabella chicken marsala pizza and we were disappointed that there were very few mushrooms on the pizza itself and very little chicken as well. Mostly we had pasta and alfredo – not marsala – sauce. We ended up eating the pasta portion and the edge of the pizza because the bottom of the crust was a soggy mess. This was basically a mediocre pasta dish (that needed salt) with breadsticks. We liked the creativity of the idea, but felt the execution was poor.

Pasta "Pitza" - a Tiffany's Speciality

What works well at Tiffany’s are the atmosphere and the service. We had an excellent server named Jessica who was friendly, offered suggestions, interacted with us, and made sure our glasses were never empty. The food was marginal – except for the salad which was great – but the atmosphere and service redeemed any shortcomings. Our advice would be to check out this historic site if you’re in Frankenmuth and have a salad or go in for a quick cocktail as you explore Main Street.

Tiffany's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cactus Café

Cactus Café
2912 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87112

The Cactus Café is a relatively new restaurant here in Albuquerque.  It sits facing Juan Tabo Blvd. which is very busy, so location is excellent.   Every window is painted with Saguaro cacti, which don’t grow in New Mexico, but perhaps the idea of the cactus was in keeping with our desert surroundings – at least we think that was the idea.  But here’s the thing – though the name suggests it would be a Southwest restaurant specializing in New Mexican cuisine, it’s not!  The waiter informed us that the restaurant specializes in Greek cuisine.  Saguaro cacti in Greece?  Confusing.

The interior of the restaurant is pleasant.  The lighting is low and relaxing, there was soft Greek music playing and the booths were new and attractive dark velour and patterned vinyl.  There were four TVs on around the perimeter of the room near the bar area, but thankfully the sound was turned down.  The TVs took away from the charming ambience, but were easy enough to tune out.

The Cactus Café seems to be unsure of what market demographic it wants to target.  The menu features Greek dishes such as Moussaka (spelled incorrectly on the menu), and Pastitso, and the waiter said the owner was Greek.  But there were also Italian pasta dishes and New Mexican plates including enchiladas and tacos.  Additionally, there were several steak entrees and the special the night we went was a 14 ounce steak.  The appetizers were classic bar fare – wings, stuffed potato skins, etc.  So, the dishes were all over the place and we asked the waiter what the specialty of the house was.  He said either the Moussaka or the Enchiladas.  And for good measure he also said the steak.  So by now you must be wondering what we were wondering…is it Greek?  Is it Italian?  Is it New Mexican?  Is it a steak house?  We had no idea and we guessed they didn’t either.

We ordered side salads to start while we reviewed the menu.  The waiter told us they were $1.99 each, however, when our bill came, they were actually $2.50 each.  He told us the Greek dressing was homemade every day and we asked for that.   The salads came quickly and were very fresh.  We had to send one back because there were raw onions on the salad and one of us cannot eat them.  We had asked what the salads consisted of before ordering and unfortunately the waiter was not aware that onions were included.  The homemade Greek dressing was not the classic Greek dressing what we had hoped for.  Of the three containers we were served, two had only oil in them.  The third one had vinegar in the bottom of it with some herbs and it was very good.  Apparently the dressing is made up in a larger quantity and the server fills the small containers as needed.  Also apparently, the server neglected to stir the dressing to ensure we actually got dressing and not just oil.  So, the tiny bit of combined dressing we got was good – the rest, being only oil, was disappointing and flavorless.

Side salad with house roll

The salads came with one large dinner roll to share and a tub of whipped butter.  The roll was warm and good – a bit dense, but tasty.  The croutons in the salad had a slightly sweet flavor and were very good.  The waiter told us they were made from the same dinner rolls.

For entrees, we ordered the Cowboy Pasta which was penne pasta and sautéed chicken medallions in a green chili cream sauce.  The presentation was delightful with fried spaghetti tentacles accenting the plate.  The pasta was served in an enormous bowl and was easily enough to fill two or even three hungry people.  The chicken was moist and tender and the texture of the pasta was perfect.  The cream sauce was an extremely basic white sauce augmented by the green chili, which was spicy and delicious, but needed salt.  Overall this was a good dish, not exceptionally flavorful, but the green chili was good and it was served piping hot.  Most of this entrée was taken home to be consumed at a later time and as we suspected, the flavors had time to settle a little bit overnight and the leftovers were extraordinarily good.

Cowboy Pasta

We also ordered the Moussaka which came with rice and sautéed vegetables.  Again, the presentation was lovely and we were impressed with the design of the plate.  The rice was a yellow color and had some sort of spice in it, but it was so salty we couldn’t detect any other flavor.  It was too salty to eat and after one taste we didn’t try any more.  The Moussaka was a huge portion nearly four inches square.  It had layers of béchamel sauce, ground beef, tomatoes, grilled potatoes, and grilled eggplant.  The layer of béchamel was very thick on top.  The menu said there was red wine in the preparation, but we could not taste it.  The ground beef was plain and very basic, and the potatoes were completely overcooked.  The eggplant was good and somewhat seasoned.  Overall there wasn’t much flavor and it was homey, but lackluster.  After a few bites we didn’t care for any more.  Moussaka can be delicious if it is seasoned well and the layers are cooked perfectly.  Unfortunately this version missed the mark – disappointing given the fact we were expecting excellent Greek food prepared under the advisement of the Greek owner.  The sautéed vegetables consisted mostly of zucchini and one small broccoli floret.   The squash was delicious and perfectly cooked and was the best thing on the plate. 


We also ordered the fish tacos which were Tilapia, shredded cabbage, and tomatoes in fresh corn tortillas.  These were delicious!  The corn tortillas were excellent and freshly fried.  The fish was tender and tasty.  They came with Spanish rice and pinto beans.  Again, the rice was extremely salty and we couldn’t eat it.  The pinto beans were plain and unseasoned, so nothing special.  The tacos were good, but we feel that two small fish tacos are not enough for an entrée and recommend they add a third one.

Fish Tacos

For dessert, the offerings were chocolate cake they admittedly buy prepackaged, homemade bread pudding, Crème Brule, and Baklava.  We chose the bread pudding and the Crème Brule.

The waiter told us the bread pudding came with nuts and was covered with a chocolate caramel sauce.  However, there were no nuts in the dish and it was drizzled with caramel sauce – no chocolate.  It was very heavy and dense, sweet, but not too sweet and swirled with cinnamon.  There were soft, warm raisins and it was served with sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  It was good, but not so good that we wanted to eat a lot of it.  Basically it just lacked flavor.  The best thing on the plate was the strawberries and cream.

Bread Pudding

The Crème Brule was a complete disappointment.  The best part of ordering this dish is the fun of cracking the heavy caramelized sugar layer on top and digging into the soft, creamy custard.  At the Cactus Café it is served in a long, flat, rectangular dish so it was very thin.  The sugar layer on top was so thin and sparse there was nothing to crack, and to make matters worse, the preparation went beyond caramelizing the sugar to flat out burning it.  The flavor of burnt sugar was unappetizing and although the custard layer was good, we were so disappointed by the poor presentation we didn’t eat much of it. 

Creme Brulee

There is a lot of confusion in this restaurant.  When we arrived there was soft, charming Greek music being piped into the dining room.  About half way through our meal, we were suddenly transported to Cuban salsa music which was turned up quite loud!  The menu is all over the place – they can’t seem to pick a country to represent.  The restaurant is said to be Greek, but the name and the Saguaro cactus theme is completely out of context.  There are TVs on all around the room for reasons we can’t understand and overall it seems like the Cactus Café is looking for an identity.  Additionally, there were several typos in the menu and misspellings that are unforgivable.  I mean, if you can’t even spell the dish, you shouldn’t put it on the menu.  However, the wait staff was pleasant and attentive and overall it was a relaxing venue – even with all the confusion.  The last insult was before we left, we noticed a roach crawling on the window sill by our table.  These things happen, we understand that, but it was quite offensive.  Would we go again?  Maybe for the fish tacos or maybe for the Cowboy Pasta, but only if we weren’t planning on eating it until the next day.

Cactus Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Pier House Restaurant - Nags Head, NC

The Pier House Restaurant
Nags Head Pier MP 11.5
Nags Head, NC

While traveling in the Outer Banks we had breakfast at the Pier House Restaurant. The restaurant sits right at the end of the Nags Head Pier and you can walk on the pier to sightsee for $1.50 or fish off it for $10.00. If you like, once you catch your fish, the Pier House Restaurant will clean it and cook it right there for you. Prefer to just sightsee? The view is spectacular and in addition to watching the waves crash into the sand, you can watch the surfers and the fishermen bring in their catch.

Beautiful view from the restaurant

The restaurant has a bait and tackle shop at the entrance way where you can also purchase t-shirts and some small food items, ice cream, snacks, and drinks. Once you enter the restaurant, there are two rooms – one inside and one on the patio where you can sit right over the beach and watch the shore. The rooms are small and on weekends if you want breakfast you need to go early to get a seat or you’ll be waiting for a while. The floors and tables are made of wood, there are beer signs on the ceiling, there’s a long bar area, and the atmosphere is noisy, casual, and comfortable -- a typical diner. 

The menu has lots of basic diner fare with some interesting exceptions, but don’t try to create a plate yourself or remove an ingredient you don’t like or are allergic to. The menu states clearly, “No Substitutions or Deletions, please do not ask.”

For breakfast we ordered the Seafood Omelet, Scrambled Eggs and Grits, Blueberry Pancakes, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Eggs and Cheese “McMuffin,” Oatmeal with chocolate chips and a side order of the Home Fries.

The Seafood Omelet came and we were told it was the only one the cook was making that day. They only make this item when they have sufficient fresh shrimp, crab, and scallops. It was served with grits and wheat toast. The omelet was delicious, the seafood perfectly cooked and the texture was creamy and light. It was unusual to have seafood with eggs, but it was delicious. The grits were not the instant variety, but were flavorless despite the pool of melted butter sitting on top. Lots of salt and pepper helped. The toast was so lightly toasted it was really like warm bread and it came without butter on it or on the side, but we enjoyed it with jam from the big basket of packaged jams on the table. We would definitely order the omelet again, but not the grits or the toast.

Seafood Omelet, Wheat Toast, and Grits

 The Scrambled Eggs were good, but a little dry. The side of Blueberry Pancakes were cooked perfectly. They were loaded with blueberries, crisp around the edges, and soft and tender in the middle. We loved these! With just a drizzle of maple syrup they were delightful.

Scrambled Eggs, Grits, and Blueberry Panckaes

The Chocolate Chip Pancakes were as good as the blueberry ones, lots of chocolate chips and two huge cakes to keep us busy. They offer several types of pancakes and they all looked good.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The Egg and Cheese “McMuffin” was plain, but okay.  The egg was well cooked and the muffin was toasted, but the cheese was the American “peel and stick” variety that we really don’t like – especially since it wasn’t melted. Still it was as expected and because of the simplicity we may order it again.  We were a little confused as to why they called it a "McMuffin" when that's a McDonald's trademark, but ultimately shrugged it off as Nags Head being a small tourist town.

The Oatmeal with chocolate chips was completely flavorless. The oatmeal was thick, but even after stirring in the melted chocolate chips it lacked flavor. It was bland and unappealing.

Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips and Egg & Cheese "McMuffin"

The side of Home Fries was spectacular! We loved these. Potatoes cut in cubes and fried, served crispy and hot, they shared the spotlight with the seafood omelet for the best thing on the table. We would return just to get these again! We put some ketchup on the plate from the bottle on the table, and were disappointed. The ketchup was a generic brand, too sweet, and the bottle on our table was dirty from leaking ketchup. But the potatoes were so good, we devoured them anyway! Definitely order these.

Home Fries

In addition to these items we had coffee, which was good and the waiter kept our cups full. The service was quick and nice, but not exceptionally friendly. We went at about 8:45 a.m. on a Wednesday and it was busy, but we didn’t have to wait for a table. Overall, it was a good experience. The food was good and the atmosphere was welcoming, but the view was incredible and if you get the chance while visiting Nags Head, be sure to stop in.

Pier House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Georgia Brown's - Washington DC

Georgia Brown’s
950 15th St. Northwest
Washington DC, 20005

Washington D.C. has many things to see and places to go and eventually you have to stop to eat.  After a busy day of flying, sightseeing, and visiting family we stopped in at Georgia Brown’s.  The restaurant is gorgeous with lots of arched windows, huge metal sculptures attached to the ceiling, black and white tiles in the kitchen area, and soft carpeting and tablecloths.  The entrance is welcoming and the staff is exceptionally friendly and attentive.  We were asked if we had reservations, which we did not, but being somewhat early on a Friday evening, we were taken directly to a table and seated.  We sat for a moment to take in the ambience and listen to soft jazz being piped in, and we knew we were in for a treat.

Georgia Brown's bee logo

Table setting with spicy vinegar

 The menu features “low country” cuisine and we excitedly ordered appetizers of Fried Green Tomatoes, and Crab Cakes.  Before they were delivered to us, we were served a plate of biscuits and sweet corn bread with a side of butter.  The biscuits were delicious – light and fluffy – and the sweet corn bread was heaven.  We munched on those and very shortly our appetizers arrived.
Cornbread, biscuits, and honey butter

The Fried Green Tomatoes were assembled as two thin slices of green tomato with a goat cheese filling, breaded and fried.  They were piquant, slightly crisp, and delicious.  The Crab Cake was served on a corn pancake and fresh pea shoots.  They were thick and loaded with crab.  The tartar sauce was thick and flavorful and the dish was scrumptious and just the right size to share.
Fried Green Tomatoes

Crab cake atop corn pancake

For our entrees, we ordered Arctic Char with Lentils, Fried Chicken Salad, She Crab Soup, Beer Can Chicken and their signature dish, Shrimp and Grits.

The Arctic Char with Lentils came with the fish atop black lentils, zucchini ribbons and tomato puree.  The fish was perfectly cooked and the lentils were tender and flavorful.  The zucchini ribbons added just the right amount of brightness to the dish and the overall experience was delicious.

Arctic Char with Lentils

The Fried Chicken Salad came with fresh garden greens from a local market, dried cranberries, peanuts, blue cheese, croutons, red onions and tomatoes.  The fried chicken was succulent and flavorful, perfectly cooked, and the vegetables were fresh and crisp.  The croutons were homemade, crunchy and buttery, and overall the salad was perfect except that there was too much dressing.  Next time we’ll ask for half the dressing and it should be perfect.  Having fried chicken in a salad – well, what could be better?  You get to feel noble for the salad part and yet you have the delicious fried chicken as a bonus!  We loved it.

Fried Chicken Salad
She Crab Soup isn’t something you can get anywhere and whenever we visit the east coast we try to find it.  The She Crab Soup at Georgia Brown’s is loaded with chunks of lump crab meat and deliciously flavored with cream, nutmeg and sherry.  It was unbelievably good and incredibly rich.  You must try this when you go!

She Crab Soup

The Beer Can Chicken came with half a chicken, which we knew we’d never finish, but was so delicious we gave it our best effort!  The chicken had been cooked perfectly in Guinness beer and then was coated with a Guinness beer glaze – scrumptious.  It came with macaroni and cheese that was cheesy and gooey, and a nice succotash of peas and corn.  The peas in the succotash were sweet and perfectly prepared. We enjoyed the entire dish immensely.

Beer Can Chicken
The Shrimp and Grits is the signature dish for Georgia Brown’s and the reasons for its popularity are many.  The shrimp – and there were about 8 of them – are large and served heads on, a delight for anyone who has tried them.  The dish has their specially made grits which are unimaginably creamy on the bottom, topped by Andouille sausage, shrimp and scallions, all swimming in a succulent broth.  We’ve had this dish a few times and each time marvel at the incredible creaminess of the grits.  They are amazing and addictive.  Long past our point of being full, we continued to eat simply because it was that good!
Shrimp and Grits

 After all of this we determined we couldn’t possibly order dessert, but our server, Emily (who was wonderfully attentive, friendly, and informative) brought the menu and we decided to just take a look.  The offerings were inviting and despite being full, decided to try the Banana Cream Pie and the Peach Cobbler.  Well, you only live once right!

The Banana Cream Pie was served with the small pie cut in half and arranged one half against the other, beautiful.  The pie was topped with maple glazed pecans and salted caramel glaze.  It was a lovely presentation, but the pastry was so tough we could hardly cut through it.  The inside of the pastry was coated with chocolate ganache – very unusual – and filled with custard.  The chocolate was delicious but the custard was a little too soft and thin.  We couldn’t find the salted caramel, but overall the dessert was very good. 
Banana Cream Pie

The Peach Cobbler stole the show arriving in a darling mason jar, steaming hot, served over cinnamon spiced oatmeal with a vanilla orange zest sauce on the side for drizzling.  This dessert was unbelievably good!  We loved it – every last bit of it!  Definitely try this when you go!  It’s sweet, spicy, warm, gooey, and everything a dessert should be.  Perfect!

Adorable presentation of the peach cobbler
Peach Cobbler detail

Dining at Georgia Brown’s was a great experience.  Very relaxing, elegant atmosphere, comforting, welcoming staff, and incredibly delicious food.  If you’re in D.C. you must go.  Don’t miss this jewel!

Georgia Brown's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mama Kwan's Tiki Bar & Grill - Kill Devil Hills, NC

Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill
MP 9.5 Croatan Hwy
Kill Devil Hills, NC

Mama Kwan's is a pleasant beach restaurant with grass mat ceilings, surf boards on the walls, and paddle fans keeping everyone cool.  The tables are laminated with a tropical flower motif – very bright and colorful.  There are tropical flowers and beach murals on the walls, a big U shaped bar, and TVs on every wall.  The greeting area features a thatched roof hostess station and there are wood floors throughout.  The bathroom alcove is painted with a bright seascape and signs for “Dudes” and “Babes” don the doors– lots of fun.  The atmosphere overall is colorful, welcoming, noisy, and exciting.  There is reggae, beachy music piped in and the menu is very friendly with add ons listed as “And Maybe.”  One of the featured items on the menu was listed as B.O.F.F. with the description reading “basket of French fries – duh.”  Very cute. 

Bathroom Doors
Grass mat ceiling with mounted surfboard
Bar area

When we went on a Tuesday for lunch, there were lots of locals with not an empty seat in the house.  After looking through the menu we ordered Blackened Tuna Nachos, Jerk Wahoo, Blackened Fish Tacos, regular Fish Tacos, and Jerk Chicken Tacos. 

The Blackened Tuna Nachos came as an appetizer and the presentation was very inviting.  There were homemade tortilla chips topped with melted shredded cheese, big chunks of blackened tuna, tomato, lettuce, red onions, scallions, and Napa cabbage all covered with a drizzle of sour cream lime sauce.  It looked scrumptious and from the very first bite we were in love.  We ordered this appetizer because of the novelty and were delighted by the flavor.  The tuna was perfectly cooked, delicious, and intensely seasoned.  The chips were crisp and light, the vegetables were fresh, and the lime sour cream sauce was exquisite.  We devoured the entire dish and were scraping the bottom to get the last bits up.  Definitely order this when you visit.  DEFINITELY!

Blackened Tuna Nachos
The Jerk Wahoo was beautifully served atop jasmine rice, covered with black beans, then the Wahoo, and topped with a slice of grilled pineapple.  There were grilled grape tomatoes and steamed broccoli dancing around the sides and the plate was a work of art.  The fish was delicious, but overcooked so somewhat dry.  The rice was plain, but offset by the black beans and pineapple – quite delicious.  We added some soy sauce (there’s a bottle on every table) and that polished off the fish beautifully.  Overall it was a large serving that we couldn’t finish, and a delicious entrée.

Jerk Wahoo

 Both the Blackened and regular Fish Tacos came with a big scoop of jasmine rice topped with sesame seeds, three fresh flour tortillas, a mound of pre-shredded cheddar and jack cheese, scallions, Napa cabbage, and lime sour cream sauce.  They also came with a side of salsa.  The difference between the blackened fish and the regular fish – both Mahi Mahi – was the intensity of flavor.  The blackened fish was highly seasoned and succulent and the regular fish was delicate and pleasing.  The tortillas were fresh and soft.  Once we assembled the tacos, they were delicious; however, we would prefer freshly grated cheese to the pre-shredded variety we were given as the flavor wasn’t as bright.  The rice was plain and dry and we really didn’t eat much of it.  The fish tacos are good and are a signature dish for this restaurant.

Fish Tacos
Blackened Fish Tacos

The Jerk Chicken Soft Tacos came with big chunks of fresh red tomatoes, fresh spinach, chopped red onions, a mound of shredded cheese, salsa, and lime sour cream sauce.  The plate was completed with a big scoop of jasmine rice topped with sesame seeds and three fresh flour tortillas.  The tortillas were, like all the others, fresh and soft, and the rice was plain and next time we’ll ask for a substitution.  The tomatoes and spinach were very fresh and overall the taco was delicious.  The chicken was cooked well and the combination was delicious.

Jerk Chicken Soft Taco

The plating of all the dishes was beautiful and well executed.  There was a spicy red sauce garnish on each of the plates – originally we thought it was just for decoration, however, when one of the Mahi Mahi tacos came in contact with it, we discovered it was actually the perfect complementary flavor for the dish.  We would have loved a side order of that and will ask for it next time. 

Overall our experience at Mama Kwan’s was excellent. The servings are large and the food is great.  The atmosphere is fun and relaxed and was a great addition to our vacation.  Of all the dishes we tried, the Tuna Nachos beat everything.  As we left, we noticed the picnic tables outside and thought it would be a great way to spend an evening to eat dinner and look forward to returning to try other menu offerings.  If you’re in Kill Devil Hills, we highly recommend that you stop in and try this local favorite.  

Mama Kwan's Grill & Tiki Bar on Urbanspoon