January 27, 2009

Pizza Slices at Tarantino’s

Reviewed by Eric Barnes.

■■■□□ 3/5 “Greasy, but tasty”

It’s surprising that we haven’t reviewed Tarantino’s before now, especially considering that their restaurant is only a block away from our office. 

On a bitterly cold day like today, the short walking distance was much needed. I’m not sure whether or not the greasy pizza was needed, but it sure was tasty. I ordered two slices of pepperoni pizza. They were hot and cheesy, with Tarantino’s classic crunchy, but chewy crust. For $4.95 for the two slices, you can’t go wrong.

However, I highly recommend using the napkin degreasing technique, which consists of placing one or more napkins on top of the pizza for a minute or so to absorb some of the grease. This ensures a slightly healthier eating experience.


Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

Rating: ■■□□ 2.5/5 “Yeah, that’s right”

I’m bringing it all to the table today.  If you asked me 18 months ago where to get the best pizza in town, I would’ve said Tarantino’s.  Really.  In fact, when others would mention different local pizzerias as the best, I would say shudduppa yo mouth and praise Tarantino’s.  

When this joint first opened, they slung out some super tasty floppy slices of pizza – NYC style.  Fresh, hot pizza with quality cheese and fresh toppings (for a price), it was an excellent treat.  Now, I visit Tarantino’s maybe once every 4-5 months, mostly hoping they’ve returned to the tasty fresh hot pizza they used to have.  Even custom orders I’ve placed in the past (the quattro fromagio or something) that were once so delicious are either served up cold or half-burnt, charred to a distasteful state.  For shame.

So what’s it going to be, Tarantino?  I rate today’s slices (1 cheese, 1 pepperoni) as EHGh Okay.  For $5, yeah, it’s cheap enough, but you are getting what you pay for these days.  I’m also going to just go ahead and tell you that the people behind the counter are not the most pleasant to do business with, either.  If you’re expecting me to pay you for some food, at least act somewhat interested in the transaction.



January 23, 2009

Naked Noodle – Round 2

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

We returned to the Naked Noodle today, which turned out pretty well.  I once again got the 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with a 5th cheese and tomatoes.  All-in-all it was once again a pretty good meal.  I’ll stick with the rating from my previous review but wanted to affirm that as of today I’ve tried this particular meal 4 times, and it is consistently good.  I should also point out that the service at the Noodle is actually quite pleasant, although you’re stuck busing your own dishes (which is not all that uncommon around these parts).


Reviewed by Matthew Johnson.

■■■□□ 3/5 “If I found 10 dollars on the ground in front of The Naked Noodle…”

One of the items you’ll find on the menu at The Naked Noodle is the Gaucho. The description reads something like this: chipotle cream sauce, red peppers, corn, black beans, cheese, and green onions. Add some chicken and you’re looking at $9.25 (the vegetarian option costs $7-something). The price also includes three additional toppings that the customer (that would be me) gets to choose. I decided on tomatoes, romano cheese, and peanuts.

So is this dish worth $9.25? I wont be digging around in my pocket to get the Gaucho again. The portion was large so I wasn’t left hungry, but I cant say much more because the dish was fairly unremarkable otherwise. Despite all the goodness loaded in to the Gaucho, I found it disappointingly bland. Eric pointed out that the dish might be bland due to the lack of sodium. Willing to test his theory, I went for the NaCl shaker. Sure enough, more flavor, but not enough to justify $9.25.



January 20, 2009

Zydeco’s Philly Cheese Steak

Rating: ■■■■□ 4.5/5 “Bayou Tasty”

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

To celebrate the inauguration of our new President, Matthew, Eric and I went outside our 1 mile radius of normal eateries and visited the well-known Cafe Zydeco. There, you will find an extensive cajuny menu with spicy goodness throughout. Today’s ordering of the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich (prepared with their unbeatable garlic aioli) was no risk, as I’ve had it a few times in the past. The tender steak was packed nicely inside the baguette and was coated with cheese and sauce, making this a complete mess to eat. But you must put mess aside when eating, otherwise we’d never have lobster or the Manwich.

Anywho, the Philly at Zydeco is non-traditional, it’s prepared cajun style, but it’s the best in town. Forget the chips & soda and you’ve got a tasty lunch for about $8 – bayou tasty.


Rating: ■■■■□ 4.5/5 “Whoa! That’s tasty.”

Reviewed by Eric Barnes.

I have never had a more tasty nor messy philly cheese steak sandwich than the one offered by Cafe Zydeco. The philly comes out hot and neatly wrapped in paper, which comes in handy, but is not enough to keep you 100% safe from the philly cheese explosion that is bound to occur. Once you bite into that fresh, slightly crispy bread, your mouth is immediately filled with flavor. Cheese stretches off the sandwich in long strands. Your fingers are covered in juices, oils, and sauces in a matter of seconds. Using napkins is useless. You just have to go with it and become one the mess that you are consuming. When it comes to Zydeco’s philly, you literally are what you eat.

(Aside: the Zydeco dining area was surprisingly warm and cozy this time around. We have had visits in the past where the temperature inside was practically freezing. Maybe sitting at the table right next to the heater had something to do with it.)


January 16, 2009

Paulie’s Hot Dogs

Rating: ■■■■□ 4/5 “Tasty”

Reviewed by Brian R. James.

Joining some old pals from EdgeInova for lunch today, we chose a new Bozeman eatery-Paulie’s Hot Dogs.  I’m a fan of hot dogs in general so I was eager to check out the new restaurant.  Deciding to dive right in, I chose two dogs from the menu; the chili dog and the starter dog (all beef frank for the former and traditional for the later). The chili dog was smothered with a tasty but fairly pedestrian meat sauce and lots of white onion. The “starter” came with yellow mustard and neon relish (no kidding, this stuff is bright green and wholly unnatural looking, but tasty nonetheless).  I ordered a combo for the fries and drink. With the two dogs the total came to 8.15, which is pretty reasonable in Bozeman these days.  The food was descent ball park fare and I’m sure I’ll be back to try their many other varieties.

Rating: ■■■■□ 4/5 “Tasty”

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

For five bucks, Paulie will get you an all-beef frank, fries and a soda.  Fifty cents will make rings out of those fries – both are good options.  If you’re interested, you can explore the hot dog selection and pick between the regular size (all-beef or old fashioned), jumbo size or sausage.  My recommendation is to stick with the all-beef dog and pick one with your favorite toppings.  The choices are abundant, with over 20 pre-designed dogs ready to be prepared.

The environment is nice, kind-of 60s-diner-ish, but not really, you know?  Seating for five people was not easy, 6 wouldn’t happen.  The food comes quickly, but the freshness could’ve been improved my second visit.  Fries or rings?  Let your heart be your guide.  They also have a selection of wraps and salads if you’re not in the mood for a dog.

Eric Barnes, Matthew Johnson and Tim E. joined us, and here are the impressions I got from them.  Eric said it was a good wrap, nothing to write about, though.  Matthew appeared as though he thought it was not bad, but was turned off by the one fry that tasted like fish.  Tim seemed to prefer rings to fries, and didn’t run for the bathroom when he was finished.


January 15, 2009

Sushi at Dave’s Sushi

Rating: ■■■■□ 4/5 “Tasty”

Reviewed by Craig Dugas. 

Matthew, Eric and I ventured over to Dave’s Sushi for lunch today.  Sure, the place smelled fishy and the water was terrible, but the sushi was great!  Fresh, made-to-order sushi rolls can be difficult to beat, probably because they’re so unique.  I was slightly disappointed that our caterpillar roll did not have carrot antennae poking out the front, but that was forgivable since it was such a treat.  From the selections (which were custom-picked by our guide, Matthew), my favorites went in this order, starting with the best: Phily, Caterpillar, Smoked Salmon, California – although they were all quite good.


Rating: ■■■■□ 4.5/5 “Very Tasty” 

Reviewed by Eric Barnes.

I am in total agreement with Craig’s review. The only thing I would change is the order of favorites: I would swap the Philly for the Caterpillar. 

The Caterpillar had a sweet eel sauce that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. We asked our waiter how the sauce is made. Although he was reluctant to reveal Dave’s top secret recipe, he did say that the sauce is created by “boiling the crap out of an eel’s carcass” and then “adding a ton of brown sugar”.

Along with some wasabi and a small side of pickled ginger, it was a great meal that I can’t wait to have again.


Rating: ■■■■□ 4/5 “I’ll Be Back”


Reviewed by Matthew Johnson.

There are a handful of places to get sushi in Bozeman, but Dave’s Sushi has always been my favorite.  I like the cozy small-house-converted-to-restaurant feel.  I like seeing the sushi chefs working behind the counter.  I even like the authenticity provided by the “fishy” smell.  As for the sushi itself, Dave’s provides all the standard sushi selections such as the California and Yellowtail Rolls.  Where it’s really at is the specialty rolls such as the Caterpillar – avocado, eel, and various other delectables tightly packed in to bite-sized slices of tasty goodness and drizzled with eel sauce.  I do have to say however, Dave’s Sushi has the worst drinking water in town. My advice, skip the water and go strait for the Sake! My preferences for this selection: Caterpillar, Philly, Smoked Salmon, California.  




January 13, 2009

4-Cheese Mac & Cheese at Naked Noodle

Rating: ■■■■□ 4.5/5 “Cheesy Good!”

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

4-Cheese Mac & Cheese is the only dish I keep returning to at the Naked Noodle in downtown Bozeman.  Why?  Because every time I get something else it’s “EH.”  And every time I ask someone who’s eating something else how it is, they say “EH.”  And for the cost markup on pasta dishes you have at The Noodle, you can’t be messing around ordering just anything.

I’ll admit that spending a bit over $7 for a to-go box of pasta doesn’t quite sit well, but this time around I lessened the blow by requesting shredded romano cheese and tomatoes on top – that’s right, FIVE-Cheese Mac & Cheese.  If you let the very warm sauce (hot sauce?) settle for just a few minutes, you’re left with a thick liquid that rivals alfredo sauce.. similar, but cheesier!  For the record, the dish was not served with macaroni, but with cavatappi which turned out to be a nice substitute.

Buyer beware – this dish is heavy + tasty + filling = dangerous.  I will eat you again, 5-Cheese Mac & Cheese.  I will eat you again.

January 9, 2009

Green Curry at Naked Noodle

Rating: ■■□□□ 2/5 “Umm, not so much.”

Reviewed by Eric Barnes.

I love a good curry. There is something about the spicy flavor that really tantalizes the taste buds. Naked Noodle’s Green Curry has great hope of reaching that tantalizing quality, but unfortunately it falls short.

The dish consists of Thai green chili curry served on top of soba noodles with sweet peppers, shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots. You can also add extra meat or seafood. I requested the addition of tofu, which was slightly fried and delicious by itself. However, the meal as a whole was seriously lacking flavor. I think part of the problem was the curry sauce was too thin, which made it not stick to the noodles at all. Another problem was the sauce was not nearly spicy enough.

The spice level won’t burn a hole in your mouth, but the price may burn a hole in your wallet. The noodles by themselves were $9.25. That’s without a drink.

I’m still going to give Naked Noodle another try though. Does anybody have any suggestions for next time?