Wallingford has been enjoying a restaurant renaissance recently, and we’ve had two readers kind enough to post short reviews to our comments section. We thought we’d reprint them here, for those of you who might miss the comments activity (which you shouldn’t). Enjoy the below (and if anyone wants to send us a write-up of 4649 Yoroshiku Japanese Restaurant, The Whale Wins or the rebooted Joule, please send it in to email@example.com!)
Of Miyabi, Frankie wrote:
Went (accidentally) to the soft opening, uninvited. The hosts were gracious, invited me, my dauighter and wife to sit at a nice table, and apart from a brief gap between sitting and getting our drink orders, it was remarkably smooth and efficient, with none of the normal hitches of “opening day” blues. And it was full.
The food was absolutely excellent. We ordered cold soba with pork belly (hot) broth, hot Soba with duck meatballs, a Katsudon bowl for our daughter (we told her it was chicken) – a chopped salad, Shishito peppers (with anchovy aoili) and three different cocktails (I am awesome). Having a full bar is great, and they also have an interesting and unusual selection of beers, including a Japanese black porter and Sapporo Lite, which I didn’t even know existed.
The chef brought an amuse bouche of soft tofu stuffed with peanut butter, which wasn’t cloying or sweet, but was so good I wish they’d put it on the menu proper.
Service was nervous, but excellent, with good, smart wait staff who were engaging and curious. The decor was impeccable and appropriate and the oohs and aahs of the Japanese hausfraus sitting opposite us were an excellent indication of excellence that proved true.
I have eaten a lot of Soba in travels to Japan and I can tell you objectively that it’s very authentic, and subjectively it’s actually better than most. I am pumped to have this place in the neeighborhood and while I wish Rain all the best, this is a far better replacement, and not even redundant on a street already full of Japanese options.
We don’t know the chef, the owners or the Rain folks before them, so accept this as an unbiased, if ebullient review.
Of Chabela’s, Jack wrote:
Went to dinner tonight (Saturday, 2/16) at Chabela’s. All in all, it was an ok experience and will probably try it again. First off, the ambiance is fine. They’ve painted the restaurant and moved the bar up front. The TV’s playing sports and the loud music are distracting. I guess it’s a “bar and grill” so that might be expected. However, not really what I’m looking for in a dinner spot. It would not upset me at all if they lowered the music (and maybe played Mexican music instead of album rock?) and got rid of the TV’s.
The service was excellent. I’m guessing when it gets busier, we won’t be waited on by quite so many people. However, they were attentive without being intrusive and very pleasant. The service is definitely the strongest part of the dining experience.
We got the usual Mexican restaurant chips & salsa to start. I thought the salsa came from a bottle, but my partner wasn’t sure. It was fine – nothing special. My partner and I ordered steak fajitas. The presentation was very nice. The way everything was plated was very appetizing. My beans and rice could have been a little warmer, but they were tasty. There was a little pile of something green on top of a little pile of lettuce. I guessing it was cactus, but not really sure. Could have been green beans – it really didn’t have a flavor. The fajitas were ok. The steak was presented in chunks instead of slices (I’m used to more of a flank steak presentation). The spicing was different than I am used to for fajitas. Maybe a little cinnamon with an underlying kick – like cayenne? Not really sure. The fajitas were tasty and a little unusual.
All in all, Chabela’s is a good addition to the neighborhood. Certainly Rosita’s at Greenlake is better – but that’s also a car ride away. We’ll try this again in a few weeks and order something different. I wish them all the best and welcome them to Wallingford!
Finally, Denny Fleenor wrote in with a triplet of short reviews:
As someone who lunches frequently in Wallingford I’m always happy to see new options. I’ve discovered three new choices that started serving lunch over the past couple of weeks. Last week the newest location for Pho Than Brothers opened in former Subway location on 45th. It’s a small but bright and open-feeling spot and the menu is all pho. Than Brothers is open from 11 am to 9 pm seven days a week. I tried them today (Friday) and business is already fairly brisk — a good sign.
Head west to the corner of 45th and Meridian and you’ll find the newly opened Silver Tray Thai restaurant in the former Lotus location. Silver Tray, also open at 11 am, seven days a week, is featuring a list of standard Thai and Chinese lunch specials as well as their full Thai menu. Based on my one sampling the food was definitely a cut above my last meal at Lotus.
Head a little further west to Yoroshiku, aka 4649, in the former Joule location and you’ll find a very limited but tasty lunch menu. For lunch it’s self-serve, so check the chalk board on the right, walk back to the cash register and place your order. For dinner they are full service. I tried the Zangi, a marinated and breaded Japanese-style fried chicken and it was delicious. On-line reviewers say the lunch sandwiches are too. Yoroshiku is open for lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 every day except Monday.