Windsor Ontario News / Restaurants
Merlis' Coffee House & Eatery, Kingsville
WindsorOntarioNews.com May 7 2013
Kingsville’s restaurant scene just keeps growing and growing. Since February the funky new Merlis’ Coffee House & Eatery (4 Main St W, 519-733-0110) has been serving an eclectic mix of, well, coffee house foods, as well as larger dinners, veering slightly to the vegetarian. The restaurant’s sign packs a groovy punch. And inside don’t be mistaken that you’re in an art gallery. These “living walls,” according to associate Michael Lauzon, is to offer local artists a place to display and sell their work. It also helps draw restaurant clientele and provides diners conversation pieces. It’s surprising more restaurants haven’t done this kind of thing. There’s also replica church doors attached to the ceiling with hand written words distilling the restaurant’s philosophy – “chill,” “oasis”, “calm,” etc. The menu is on a large rectangular blackboard, featuring an array of original dishes. Mid-Morning Fare includes Soft Scrambled eggs with Spinach and Ricotta cheese, and homemade Hello Yello lentil soup. The Lunch/Dinner menu features Merlis’ Signature Sandwich which is roasted pepper and grilled cheese. There’s also Sausage Stuffed ravioli and gnocchi. WON’s choice was Eggplant Parmesan with small green salad and coffee (fair trade). The resto tries to source locally including the farm fresh eggs. For dessert there are zucchini and pumpkin loaves and pie. The resto is waiting for a liquor licence. The owner is Frank Merlihan, who moved to Kingsville from Toronto seven years ago and bought the building near the corner of Main and Division (it used to house Lil’s Corner Café). Lauzon said there’s an “untapped market” locally for vegetarian which Merlis’ hopes to fill. Oh yeah, the restaurant’s philosophy is not to take away business from other restaurants – not competition but “completion” - and add to the overall wealth of Kingsville’s dining community.
Pho Xic-Lo, near west side
WindsorOntarioNews.com April 18 2013
You mean the Vietnamese Noodle House (1750 Wyandotte St. W., 519-971-8288; www.phoxic-lo.ca) has been in existence 10 years? Probably most of the nearby university population and Vietnamese community knew it. But it was news to WindsorOntarioNews.com Amazing what a gussied up front with sparkling new sign will do to grab attention. This restaurant is a delight. Spacious, clean. With smiling wait staff and efficient service. It’s also another example of someone who has taken adversity and turned it into success. Lam Duong was laid off from his job at A. G. Simpson auto parts company more than a decade ago. His brother lives in Australia and operates a string of three restaurants with the same name. Lam travelled to Sydney and got a thorough course in Vietnamese cooking. He returned to Wyandotte St., and presto, he was in business! (Another Asian operator WON.com interviewed some time ago also was laid off and started his resto on Howard Ave.) In any case, Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is the showpiece dish here. You can’t get a heartier soup. And there’s a large variety to choose from – with meat, veggies or seafood including shrimp, sole, crab and squid. It was a spicier choice - beef and pork sausage with noodles. The server says the popular dish – pho grilled chicken and rice noodle soup with the grilled chicken on the side. But a lot of the folks – many seemingly nearby U of W students - were ordering dry dishes like vermicelli noodles topped with meat or seafood served with lettuce, sprouts and mint. The presentation is as nice as the super fresh food looks. There’s also Thai dishes, and we know how popular pad thai is. The difference between Thai and Viet food? Viet is more soup-based. Refreshing beverages also seem to be a hit with customers, such as lychee, avocado and mango milkshakes or fruit ices. The restaurant’s name is the Vietnamese word for a unique there-wheel taxi bicycle ubiquitous in Vietnam and which was originally imported by its colonial ruler France. Lam is in charge of the kitchen and partner Hai Hoang works the front room. The restaurant is open 11 – 11 seven days a week. Be advised, the restaurant takes only cash or debit cards, not credit.
Full House, near west side
WindsorOntarioNews.com March 16 2013
Whether it’s optimism that a new development will replace the old Grace Hospital eyesore across the street, or simply the fact there is enough of a market for one more Asian restaurant on Windsor’s west side, the Full House Seafood Chinese Cuisine (1015 University Ave. W., 519-252-3338) opened a couple of months ago on University Ave. at Oak. In fact, the opening adds another restaurant to this busy corner of eateries. Nossa recently opened diagonally across the street, replacing a former small resto. Next to it is the venerable Shin Shin, and next to that is long time Skippy’s. Immediately west of Full House is the Chinese grocery store Mingli Vegetables. Which makes one think, if a Greek development doesn’t come to the former Grace Hospital campus, as is being proposed, how about an Asian village – Windsor’s own Chinatown? Which raises another question. Traditional Windsorites might think all these Asian restaurants are for a Western clientele. And while the eateries welcome non-Asians many of them do in fact seem to cater to our city’s increasing Asian population. It’s simply a reflection of Canada’s changing demographics. Okay, what about Full House itself? Don’t let the name fool you. This is by no means strictly a “seafood” restaurant. A visit on a cold Friday at noon found the restaurant busy, living up to its name. The clientele was overwhelmingly Asian. The lunch menu was comparatively sparse for a Chinese restaurant. But it was only a partial menu. The Full House has another rather extensive menu and offers take out and free delivery. So, for $5.99 you can order soup and Chinese conventional dishes like Sweet & Sour and General Tao. But flip over the menu and there is a long list of rice, noodle and congee dishes. The bowl of beef noodles with satay sauce was plentiful enough for two or even three people, also priced at $5.99. It was served piping hot and had plenty of beef along with onions and peppers. Meanwhile the restaurant’s interiors are a colourful splash of yellow and red with painted flowers and Chinese doll like images on the tables. The atmosphere was family friendly and a lot of diners knew one another, kind of like a neighbourhood gathering place. You know, that idea of a Chinese village at the former Grace site isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Artisan Grill, Amherstburg
WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 20 2013
The re-opened fine dining space in Amherstburg’s historic downtown, Artisan Grill (269 Dalhousie St., 519-713-9009), formerly long-running Caldwell’s Grant, seems a few steps up from the well-regarded former restaurant, under different ownership. Not only are there a few more imaginative items on the menu but the building’s decor has been refreshed with a paint job, art on the walls (for sale by local artists) and a newly built bar. Thankfully, the flat screen TV has been removed and the restaurant returned to an atmosphere where diners can just concentrate on their meals and dinner conversation. Flat screen TVs have been creeping into all kinds of dining spaces; keep them in bars! Chef and owner Matt Johnston says he has nothing against television but removing the screen gets rid of a distraction that many diners didn’t want. There is live entertainment – a guitarist who sings – weekend nights. And Johnston has a dry bar in the rear hallway for special functions. The intimate alley patio will resume in summer. Despite the refreshed interior and menu Johnston doesn’t want a stuffy image and calls the space “premium casual.” Our dinner was the special Veal Oscar ($18) and the Vegetarian Sandwich ($12) with house salad. The Oscar, with wild rice and seasonal vegetables, had veal topped with béarnaise sauce and crab meat – all cooked perfectly. The grilled veggie sandwich was neatly presented with a house salad featuring cranberries, a far cry - thank goodness - from what could have been conventional boring iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. The restaurant’s price points are reasonable enough. Entrees or specials go for under $20. A bottle of locally-produced pinot noir was $25.
Sake Sushi, Kingsville
WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 6 2013
Sake Sushi (1571 Seacliff Dr., 519-326-1688) is undoubtedly a roadside treat in the southeastern part of the county. The restaurant has been open just more than a year in a former Italian restaurant site in a small plaza on the corner of County Rd. 20 (Seacliff Dr.) and Union Ave. Restaurant server Steve Tong said it’s an ideal location to capture both the Leamington and Kingsville customer markets. The owner previously had run and sold a restaurant in Ottawa. The totally rebuilt interior is modern Japanese cool in black and brown and seats 58. There’s an outdoor patio in summer that seats 39. Service is efficient and the food fresh and tasty. Popular meals are the All You Can Eat lunches ($13.99) and dinners. Tong says there are no specific dishes customers ask for more than anything else. So sushi, sashimi and maki – not to mention a long appetizer list – are widely selected. There are also several teriyaki dishes. If you’re hungry go for the All You Can Eat. The staff also makes up celebratory dishes for holidays or even to celebrate local communities. There’s the Seacliff Roll. It has cream cheese, cucumber, shrimp with crab on top. But what’s this on the menu – pizza? Well, it is Essex County after all, pizza capital of the universe. But pizza at Sake Sushi is prepared with a difference. These aren’t your pepperoni and bacon traditionals, folks. Instead the thin crusts are topped with items like rice cake, salmon, tuna, fish egg and even eel. The Hawaii Pizza has, you guessed it, pineapple. Open every day - until well into the night - and licensed, Sake Sushi is a great place to go out of your way to. Or include it in your next county Sunday drive.
Taste of India Tandoori, near east side
WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 21 2013
Wyandotte St E might be bustling outside but inside all is serene at Taste of India Tandoori, Windsor’s oldest existing Indian restaurant (155 Wyandotte St. E., 519-253-1414). Classical music plays quietly and a few people walk in to pick up their take outs, which constitutes perhaps more than half the 35-year-old restaurant’s business. One regular exclaims “best in Ontario” as he receives his order. Mokees Ahmed has been chef for 20 years and says he prepares all dishes fresh from scratch. “Only when the customer is ready to order then I start to cook.” The smallish restaurant is divided into separate rooms and there’s a certain amount of privacy. For the uninitiated – or those liking to sample the most at an economical price - there are combo platters if dining by yourself or with another person. A single combo might be dish # 2 with vegetable samosa, chicken korma, pulao rice and vegetable bhaji. Papadum (chick pea large deep fried discs) wasn’t available so another samosa – very fresh, piping hot with thin batter – was served instead.) The chicken and vegetable dishes were plenty and while not especially spicy, did prompt the sweat glands and might be good food for getting over a cold! The sauce alone was so delicious you want to feed yourself a few tablespoons of that alone. The korma is curry in yogurt with almonds and sultanes. The bhaji has eggplant and a curry prep of onions, tomatoes, green peppers and spices. Taste of India lives up to its name by serving dishes from all parts of the country. There are Madras dishes (fairly hot), Vindaloo dishes (very hot), Korma (very mild) and Dassak (hot, sweet, sour). There are seven types of Indian bread and chef recommended dishes, which look great for a more adventurous night or to share with a group of people. The prices seem slightly high – the combo plus one Kingfisher beer came to $23.24 before tip. But better a slightly higher price for excellent food than a standard price for mediocrity.
Malic's Delicatessen, near east side
WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 23 2012
What better time than a Saturday afternoon to visit one of Windsor’s storied eating places, Malic’s Delicatessen (543 Wyandotte St. E., 519-252-3886), the city’s only remaining Jewish deli and which has been in existed – didn’t ya’ know – since 1929? Malic’s hasn’t changed in years and that’s part of this near east side eatery’s charm. The walls are full of an eccentric hodgepodge of images, from pictures of famous singing groups and singers - Gene Vincent with his blue caps, Oscar Petersen, Ella Fitzgerald, and Brother Ray - to classic movie actresses like Marilyn in all her satin finery, and Marlene Dietrich (who? only kidding). There’s also a large glass frame holding numerous old – very old – cookbook covers. Behind the order counter there are lots of handwritten signs, just like you’d expect. The booths with their black and red bench seats, have been there for ages, adding to the place’s character. The first noticeable wall sign was that Malic’s even serves the (Windsor nostalgia alert! see Champions review below) famed Hi Ho Grumpy Burger. But Malic’s most famous claim to fame is its corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. So an order was put in for the “old fashioned” which is supposedly even smokier than the regular smoked pastrami. The meat, on rye ‘natch, didn’t taste all that smoky but was good enough for a solid midday pick-up. The accompanying fries were bland on bland and there weren’t a lot of them. And the coleslaw, while fresh, came in a very small tub. There are some other quite interesting sandwiches on the menu, such as the Dainty Moore Deluxe (clubhouse with corned beef and plum sauce) and the Blue Max on Rye (double decker with corned beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, tomato and ranch dressing). Were these named after ancient customers? What stories lurk behind those tantalizing titles? Dinners include corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, perogies with sautéed onions and sausage. Sides include cheesy chili fries and, yes, poutine fries. There’s also breakfast, and the joint is licensed. Customers also come in for takeout. But, be warned, Malic’s doesn’t accept credit cards.
Champions, south Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 25 2012
After moving back to this area more than 20 years ago it was high time to get out and try Windsor’s toast to the golden era of fast food cruising, the Hi Ho burgers. The Hi Ho of course lives on in an exhibit at the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village in Ruthven. But for anyone of an – ahem – certain age, the four outlet chain – which started in the 1930s and ran to the 70s – is as nostalgic as the famous Big 8 (now, does that have to be explained?). The Hi Ho was started by the Fortin brothers and had locations on Sandwich St. (where the CAW office is), Tecumseh Rd. near Pillette, Howard Ave. at Grand Marais, and on Walker Rd. There have been attempts to keep the famous Hi Ho burgers alive since that time. But it seems the only place you can still order them is at Champions Roadhouse & Restaurant (3691 Walker Road, 519-969-35330 located at the exact same spot as the old Hi Ho itself on Walker Rd. (so two nostalgia trips in one). Hi Ho originally got permission from the Disney company to name its hamburgers after the Seven Dwarfs. Champions still sells the Grumpy and Dopey burgers. But the Grumpy Burger in particular had to be tried because it combines two beef patties with a slice of ham, grilled cheese, lettuce & tomato. The burger is served with a generous portion of thinly sliced fries and a small tub of coleslaw. The burger was served cut in half and held together with decorative toothpicks. The patties were juicy and the ham gave the burger that extra flavour. With a mug of beer (Canadian, on tap, of course) this was a nice midday fill-up. Champions has a small bar up front but is mainly a sit down restaurant with stained glass art and small images of famous people like Rembrandt (champions?) It has a nice mixed menu including quesadillas, poutine, and wraps. Its sandwiches features one with peameal bacon. The house has a full dinner menu including chicken stir fry and perogies. In other words it's good everyday stick-to-the-ribs grub. It even has a seniors menu. But treat yourself to the Hi Ho fare while some remaining nostalgia for Windsor’s bygone days still exists.
Phat Albert Wok & Grill, far east side
WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 2 2012
Phat Albert Wok & Grill (8442 Wyandotte St. E., 519-948-1444; no credit cards - debit or cash only) is one of these tucked out of the way restaurants you probably wouldn’t know existed unless you stumbled upon it. Which was exactly what happened in this case. The three year old restaurant is in Riverside Plaza just east of Lauzon Rd. The most noticeable stores in the L-shaped shopping centre are the Giant Tiger and Dollarama. Albert Tam manages the restaurant which is distinguished by having about an equal number of Canadian as well as Chinese dishes. “Why not?” he says, given the fact he’s an experienced chef and the Windsor clientele likes to have the option of choosing either type of food. Phat Albert is a real neighbourhood find. Mable, a pensioner who lives a few blocks away on Riverside Dr., swears by it. “I would die if he ever closed!” she says, as she’s about to tuck into a scrumptious looking seasonal butternut squash soup. There are pastas, salads and wraps as well as an all day breakfast. The soups are home made and change daily. Michael Sims, who lives around the block, and who just finished the Chinese Basic Combo dish, loves the serving sizes. He says the Caesar Chicken Wrap is especially “delicious.” According to the waitress, the Cantonese Chow Mein is the menu's most popular noodle dish. It came piled high with shrimp, pork and chicken. The vermicelli noodles were wonderful - full of flavour and almost melting in your mouth. But the vegetables – especially the broccoli florets - while fresh, could have been cooked a tad more. Asked if the 48-seat restaurant’s name means the eatery is a cool and hip place, Albert smiles and replies that it actually means it's “pretty hot and tempting.”
The Greek Grill, west Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 9 2012
Linda and Spyros Spyridis opened The Greek Grill (1930 Tecumseh Rd. W., 519-256-3388) in a strip plaza five years ago after Spyros had worked a number of years in other restaurants. It was a good location with no comparable eateries around. Almost from day one the restaurant took off. “We started off really well and just got busier,” Linda says. In fact, during a recent lunchtime visit it was difficult to find a parking spot in the plaza. The place was hopping! Clientele were lots of office workers, a slight majority female. Linda says the restaurant gets a lot of customers from employees at neighbourhood schools and the nearby school board head office. But there were blue collar workers lining up for takeout. The Souvlaki is served in a colourful checkered blue and white paper cone (it's Greek after all!). The pita was thick and fresh without being hard – it’s fantastically crunchy. In preparation it was hand-tossed and hand-made, and special ordered from Toronto. “We put them on the grill before we serve them,” Linda says. But the standout was the tzatziki sauce, homemade by Spyros (who makes all the sauces and soups from scratch) using pressed yogurt. It was thick and creamy but light, with a wonderful yogurt taste. The sauce is blended lightly with garlic, cucumber and spices. “A lot of people put sour cream in their tzatziki, we don’t use any,” Linda says. The most popular dishes are the Greek gyros (pronounced YEER-ohs, folks) which have feta cheese, and the basic Gyros (tzatziki, onions, tomatoes). The Chicken Delight is chicken served with special sauce and lettuce and tomatoes - “whatever toppings that people want really,” Linda says. The restaurant is open every day.
Paulette's Island Palace, west Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 21 2012
Paulette’s Island Palace (1175 University Ave. W., 519-977-7462) is a small corner restaurant that Paulette Ingram, well known in the near west side community, has operated for almost nine years. Ingram says she’s a woman who wears “many hats” and manages the entire building on the southeast corner of University and Wellington. Ingram came to Windsor from Jamaica by way of Montreal and Niagara Falls where she attended Niagara College’s culinary arts program. The restaurant seats 12 and is so cozy you immediately look up and say hello to whoever walks in the door. Ingram has lunch specials for $5 such as curry, jerk or stew chicken served, of course, the Caribbean way with rice and peas, cabbage and salad. For breakfast there’s ackee and salt fish (Jamaica’s national dish) with dumplings, boiled green bananas and fried plantains. Or you can just be traditionally Canadian and order bacon and eggs. On the menu for dinner is anything from curry chicken roti, to curry goat, to perch, shrimp, or red snapper. The plate of jerk chick came fully loaded with rice and beans, cabbage and plantains, which are fried sweet bananas and make conventional bananas seem banal by comparison. Ingram says she will be revamping the menu. She’s also got other projects on her plate (okay, pun intended) such as a community soup kitchen next door, that still is in the organizing stage. The woman seems tireless. If you’re coming for dinner between 4 and 10 pm you should make reservations. And don’t forget to order yummy desserts as Jamaican fruit cake or toto coconut cake. Or, yes, even plantain tarts.
Bubi's Awesome Eats, downtown Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com August 21 2012
Bubi’s Awesome Eats (620 University Ave. W., 519-252-2001; www. Bubis.org) prides itself on its “garlicky good” menu. Owner Buddy Miloyevich, who came up with the idea of the casual dining restaurant – which seems to attract everyone from downtown office workers to couples on dates to groups of college students – has run the well-known and prominently-located restaurant at the corner of University and Janette for almost 30 years. The menu is eclectic and not pub food as one might expect at first glance. There is a variety of burgers, sandwiches and wraps – yes. But there are also creative salads and fuller dinner items like lasagna, stir fries, quiche and ribs. There’s even an occasional ethnic dish thrown in that you’ve probably never heard of. Like Balkan cevapi. This is grilled rolls of minced pork, lamb and beef with fresh cut onion, tomatoes, and the restaurant’s signature sauce with grilled Greek pita. On a weekday noon hour the restaurant’s patio is crowded despite very hot weather. Inside there are obviously people on lunch breaks, doing a little shop talk before heading back to the office. Beverages are served in giant glass jars. Would have preferred a glass to more easily wet the lips on a thirsty day. The chicken club wrap had fresh ingredients and the potatoes were lightly fried, the way we like them, and even had a genuine potato taste which, believe it or not, can be hard to find. The waitress was very friendly and outgoing despite juggling several tables with rapid-fire orders that could test even the calmest individual. We know Bubi’s likes to emphasize garlic but this sandwich had a tad too much. The restaurant’s interior also looked like it could use an update though it’s understood plans are in the work for renos.
Chanoso's Oishii, downtown Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com June 25 2012
It had been awhile since a visit to Chanoso’s (255 Ouellette, 519-254-8530; www.255downtown.com/chanososoishii) And even longer since a repas at Oishii. So long it’s getting harder to keep up with the dining trends downtown. About a year ago Chanoso’s and Oishii merged their menus and physical spaces. Oishii, which opened after Chanoso’s as a distinctively hip “rock ‘n roll” Japanese restaurant, had been located immediately south. Now the two are combined in one space where the former Chanoso’s was and the Buddha coffee shop, which no longer exists, had been next door. There are more seats for the combined venues and seamless interaction between the two rooms. Chanoso’s has maintained its look while the converted Buddha has new dining furniture and a tiki style bar. The ownership has also changed. Gone is Mark Boscariol who has opened the stylish Walkermole Mexican resto in Old Walkerville. Current owners are Mat Mathias and Scott D’Amore. Boscariol is “still good friends” says kitchen manager Jon Hughes. Hughes says combining the spaces and menus made marketing sense since diners in one of the previous locations – Oishii, for instance - might have asked for the “pan-Asian” stir fry familiar at Chanoso’s. The customer mix in the combined restaurants is interesting, mainly female (hint hint to you guys looking for dates). Hughes says women are “eighty per cent” of the clientele. “I think it’s the atmosphere,” he said. “We really put up a warmer atmosphere.” The restaurant also caters to those with allergies by offering, for example, gluten-free food. A new feature this year is the sidewalk patio. Coming soon is a late night menu. On this visit the order was for Pad Thai at an eight spiciness level on the 0-10 scale. It posed no problem for a palate that admittedly has a disposition for the spicier-the-better. The sauce seemed a little thick but otherwise the food was delicious. Most of the other diners in the late afternoon were, yes, women, mostly tasting appetizers from a variety of the restaurant's signature “share plates.”
Mongolian Grill, Tecumseh
WindsorOntarioNews.com May 30 2012
Mongolian Grill (25 Amy Croft Dr., 519-979-7700; www.mongogrill.ca) has operated as an independent restaurant despite the fact there are many restaurants – and chains - with similar names in Canada and the United States. The Mongolian craze started in the 1990s and seems a cross between traditional Asian restaurants - where food is brought to your table – and more expensive Japanese steak houses, where food is cooked at your table. Mongolian restaurants are more informal and fun. The customer picks from a variety of raw stir fry vegetables - meats and seafood, sauces and spices - hands them over to a cook at a huge round grill. In roughly 10 minutes – the chef having chopped and diced and moved your splayed food continuously with sword-like spatulas – the meal is freshly-cooked! The Mongolian theme plays on the fact that centuries ago Mongols would gather after a day of hunting and cook food on the raging fire in their camps. Only, of course, they didn’t have a large bar serving Over the Top Martinis or desserts like Turtle Cheesecake. Despite the restaurant's theme you don’t just have to order the raw food from the buffet. If you don’t want to feast like a Mongol the menu offers burgers, wraps, pastas (including a create your own dish) and even fish and chips. The yellow, blue and red-coloured restaurant is big and airy and has a mezzanine level. The Dinner Meal offers one trip each ($15.99 or $10.99 for lunch) to the salad bar, the soup station and the buffet. The food was tasty enough though the salad bar could have been a little more imaginative. And the cream of potato soup, which might have been salty and heavy, wasn’t. This is the kind of place where you want to bring your appetite and make a few trips to the grill to satisfy it. In that case the price for the all-you-can-eat Dinner Feast is $19.99. Eat up, and you can do it in the comfort of your own clothes, not animal skins.
Sun Hong BBQ & Seafood, west Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com May 11 2012
Yes this is the place (2045 Wyandotte St W., 519-255-7808) with the barbecued birds hanging in the window. The restaurant has long been a fixture on Wyandotte Street but recently expanded into the former Wah Court premises, now that that lovingly-remembered restaurant’s owners retired and closed the Dim Sum place for good. That means a new updated interior with brown and beige accents. They’re offset by contemporary hanging lights with cylindrical red lampshades to complete the look. This is THE place for Chinese barbecue, folks, especially pork and chicken. On one side is the popular steam table and there’s almost always a line up for people ordering from it for take out. Sun Hong offers extensive lunch and dinner menus, extremely reasonable prices, and servings in small and large sizes with small often being enough for one person. Rice and noodle dishes heaped with a wide variety of meats and seafood are lunch faves. Hot pots and sizzling plates tend to round out dinner choices. Deep fried squid or quail boiled in soya sauce are also popular in the evening. Sun Hong even serves whole pig but you have to order in advance. A small roast pig will serve eight to 12 people and costs $155. Obviously the resto caters to a lot of private gatherings. Manager Dennis Yang says that while the restaurant may look meat-heavy it’s not. “We have vegetarian meals,” he says as if suggesting those who are meat averse should have no fear of opening the door. In fact there’s a whole section of the menu devoted to veggie plates. Despite what it says on the sign the restaurant isn’t licenced although management is seeking a licence to sell alcohol. Sun Hong indeed is the place to go for hardy piping hot dishes afternoons or nights.
J & G Burger Joint, central Windsor
www.WindsorOntarioNews.com April 10 2012
No grease, no grease! How often can you say that after polishing off a hamburger? Yet that’s what you get after eating a beef burger at J & G Burger Joint (1459 Ottawa St., 519-258-1633; www.jngburgerjoint.com). Windsor’s second “upscale” burger resto opened last October under the name Burger Lounge and was almost immediately challenged for copyright reasons by an established California chain with the same name and with a similar colour scheme and menu concept – promoting nutritious burgers and other foods. The name has now been changed to Burger Joint. The J & G stands for Joe Fallea (of Il Gabbiano Ristorante fame) and Gus Bresson. Whether a knock off or not the restaurant is a great addition to the city casual dining scene. The orange and lime green colours alone are inviting and playful. There’s a giant blackboard with the menu, a licensed bar, and customers can sit at tables or at a couple of bars, one facing the street. Tables even have vases with those Volkswagen Bug type daisies in them. Another thing: the restaurant has great music: Sirius’s 002 Generation Now. (Should have known no area FM stations would have that kind of playlist!) Everything about the place stresses healthy eating. As the waitress says, “You can eat your burger and have it too – everything without that guilt.” That means grass-fed, additive free meats and sodas made from cane sugar and natural fruit juices. Burgers are 100 per cent beef – “no fillers here.” The menu is relatively compact. But there’s also turkey and veggie burgers, pulled pork, a spicy chicken wrap, three salads and sides. The $8.95 Build Your Own burger has a wide choice of condiments including a house sauce, kosher dill pickle, and caramelized onions. The fries were fresh and thick cut – the best natural-tasting resto fries in ages. Overall the food was great though the pickle could have been a bit bigger, the fries were slightly salty, and the whole wheat bun – a great idea – crumbles a bit too easily. The diner’s hours could also be extended later into the evening, especially on weekends, as this would make a great late night spot.
Monaco Middle Eastern Cuisine, south Windsor
WindsorOntarioNews.com March 18 2012
Monaco Middle Eastern Cuisine (3090 Dougall Ave., 519-972-3300; www.monacowindsor.com) recently went through a remodelling after being in business since 2006 and the owner is opening Monaco Express on Huron Church Rd. The restaurant is tucked away along the Dougall Town Centre strip plaza immediately south of EC Row Expressway. If you've reached Wal-Mart you've gone too far. In any case chef and owner Adel Elsayed opened the south Windsor eatery at a time the area didn't have such stand alone cuisine. The remodelling is an attempt to bring the restaurant a "little upscale" to attract a bigger evening crowd, Elsayed says. The luncheon clientele has been more than holding its own. Monaco is now the second Middle Eastern eatery in town to feature belly dancers (Friday nights) and live Lebanese music Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Elsayed said the new take-out location on Huron Church will specialize in schwarmas and Lebanese pies. "A lot of people want this cuisine and it's not available in the area," he says. There's also a "huge Arabic community" in the neighbourhood just east of Huron Church. The restaurant itself provides a welcoming atmosphere in the person of waitress Ann Elsayed, Adel's mom. Tonight's order was relatively simple - the veggie platter. It's a sufficient size for one person with two stuffed grape leaves, a mound of hummous, tabbouli on a broad lettuce leaf, one small spinach pie, and two large balls of falafel, accompanied by a couple of five inch pita pockets. The food was fresh although the salad could have been a little crisper. It's nice that the restaurant is licensed and smoothies and fruit juices are available. There's also a good variety of appetizers and entrées. But the table in the booth along the wall was somewhat high for the seat. A better choice is a freestanding floor table with chairs. Overall Monaco's lunch menu has a wide variety of grilled pitas and paninis and most dinner entrées - from garlic and oregano chicken to orange roughy - are under $20.