Category Archives: Calgary

Kinjo Sushi & Grill review

I really have to give Peter Kinjo the credit he’s due. This is a guy who came to Canada from Japan with little money and only minor skills. Now he’s owned a number of restaurants in Calgary and is truly the poster boy for what you can do if you try hard enough and believe in what you are doing.

The first time I met Peter is actually not a moment I even remember but since I’ve eaten at the first Edo Japan in South Centre from when I was quite young I’m sure I’ve met him. Peter’s the guy who started this popular and successful chain of shops and it’s a great thing to have on his life’s resume’.  He’s owned several restaurants since coming to Calgary and he should be proud of what he’s accomplished.

Peter’s latest venture is a sushi place he’s named Kinjo Sushi & Grill and it’s as far as I am aware the only restaurant he currently owns. Located on Macleod trail in one of Calgary’s busiest dining areas Kinjo occupies a building which was once a fast food place that went away. This space is now renovated and houses a large oval moat filled with small plastic boats packed bow to stern and carrying plates of food. These boats constantly circle the food prep area where they are replenished and a bar style dining counter surrounds the moat from where customers seated there can pick any of the plates they want. At the end of the meal you pay based on the colour and number of the chosen plates.

This style of dining is one I’ve seen in many places around the world.  From Tokyo to Hong Kong or Miami to London this is a fairly common way to eat sushi. It is however on the bottom end of the dining scale and is actually more akin to a McDonalds then to an actual sushi-ya. The food is therefore in most cases equivalent in quality to a fast food place as well, designed more for high turn-over than for producing good sushi.

We’ve visited on a few occasions and at each of these times we’ve left very disappointed in the quality of the food we’d eaten there. Some of what we tried was even to the point of smelling bad and much of the rest showing obvious signs that it was past the point where it should be served to customers. I’ve always wondered how fast turn-over places cannot have fresh looking food when it’s constantly being replenished. The only thing I can come up with is that the ingredients are lower quality to begin with and that little care taken in the preparation adds to the problem.

Whether it was a roll, maki or nigiri from the boats or something ordered from the kitchen the quality of the food has always been lacking on our visits to Kinjo. Small poorly made rolls that contain old tasting fish should never end up in front of a customer and no amount of sake or free pocky sticks can change that fact. The food prep staff need to try harder to put out quality and if something is no longer fresh it should not be served. I’m not a fan of throwing out food but old and stale fish is a health hazard.

I do like the effort that Peter puts into trying to provide a fun and happy environment for his customers, and while it doesn’t always thrill some people to have a knife-wielding guy dressed in a kimono interrupt their meal, I think that most understand what’s behind it. Again, I for one appreciate these hijinks for what they are and see no reason for anyone to complain about them.

I like Peter and admire his successes but would give him the advice that he needs to improve both the quality of the ingredients as well as the end product if he is going to have another winning enterprise on his hands. Those who don’t know what good quality sushi should taste like are bound to find out at some point. And when these people do discover better food they won’t be back.  I’ve already seen reviews from former customers who have decided that the food is not up to par and no longer want to dine at Kinjo. If this trend is to be avoided things have to change. The only way to do this is to provide quality food to the customer. Other places in town have sourced and seem to be able to serve fresher looking/tasting fish so there’s no reason Kinjo cannot do the same. As for the staff they can just put somewhat more effort into what they do.

As for me, I’ve given Kinjo as many chances as I can and with such poor quality and apparent lack of concern on the part of the staff I’m not likely to visit again. Sorry Peter.

Kinjo Sushi & Grill on Urbanspoon

Boogies Burgers review

I’ve known of Boogie’s burgers for most of my life and it’s one of those places that I keep thinking I’d like to visit and never seem to get. I finally did get the chance to try the food here when I wanted to take the convertible out for a run and enjoy the nice weather.

Boogie’s has been around for a long time, since the late sixties as a matter of fact. This burger place was started by Gus Peiters, the same man who also gave Calgary one of its most beloved institutions, Peter’s Drive-in. This may be one of the reasons I never went for such a long time, it may have been in my mind that it would be the same food and so why not just go to Peter’s instead. I’m not sure if that’s the reason or not but at least I can now say I’ve been to both.

Located on Edmonton Trail and only a short drive south of Peter’s Drive-in We found that Boogie’s was quite busy for a mid-week and earlier than normal dinner. we looked over the menu while waiting in line and found that the offerings were much more varied than I’d expected, with a large number of burgers to choose from. Many of these burgers were quite unique with toppings ranging from the ordinary to the somewhat less so such as fried egg and even a hotdog.

We ended up ordering a Sam’s burger for Nancy and a Fay’s burger for myself. I’ve since discovered that these two burgers are named for the couple who ran Boogie’s for much of its existance. The Sam’s is a single patty with all the usual toppings in addition to a fried egg, cheese and Boogie’s house made red sauce. The Fay’s burger is also a single with fried mushrooms and onions, bacon and a mushroom sauce as well as the expected additions. We also ordered some of the yam chips, a small plate of onion rings and to drink a raspberry shake and a coke for me.

After ordering the fellow at the counter told me he’d have the food brought outside to one of the tables if we wanted to eat there. We liked the idea of dining in the sunshine and I told him that yes that would be great. I am quite surprised that they’d bring us our food considering how busy they were and this is a plus for boogie’s in my book. We paid and proceeded out into the sunshine to sit at one of the uniquely pinkish picnic tables provided.

Our drinks arrived soon after we’d sat down and the shake was quite good, not the cheap flavorless variety I’d come to expect from most places and similar to what you’d get at Peter’s.

Sam's Burger

We were finished the drinks long before our food arrived and while I generally don’t like to wait so long for something as simple as a burger it was nice out and since I’d read that every burger was handmade fresh as the orders come in I was okay with it.

When the burgers and sides arrived I was quite pleased with what I saw. The burgers were large and looked great, just what I’d hoped I’d see when I heard they made them to order. Both were well made and put together with care despite how busy the kitchen must have been, I do hate thrown together food and whether good or not will not be happy with any place that allows this.

Fay's Burger

The burgers came on amazingly fresh buns that were not the over-puffy or heavy ones I’m used to. They also seemed to be thinner than what I’d have expected and thus did not over-power the burger as so many do. I decided that it would have been good if I’d ordered a double patty, I didn’t do so as I was unsure of the size and didn’t want to end up with a huge monster that I’d have a hard time eating. These were not the huge thick slab of meat I thought I might find and were in fact much thinner than I’d have hoped for, rather like the fast food patties one finds at MacDonald’s but much larger in diameter. I found this to be disappointing.

Both of us liked our burgers but given that each was covered with a different sauce that was not in short supply we were surprised that neither of them had a great deal of flavor. My Fay’s burger was actually rather bland tasting, I could not discern the flavour of the mushrooms or the onions and the sauce could have been missing for all the impact it had. Nancy had similar feelings about her Sam’s burger. Between the thin patties and the lack of flavour we were actually disappointed in our first visit to Boogie’s.

Basic Rings

The onion rings were the basic version that I’d had on countless occasions and while a little bit on the oily side were quite enjoyable. I’d hoped that I’d find that Boogie’s made their own rings as I’ve not had hand-made onion rings in so long I cannot remember. This, if it had been done and they were good would have made Boogie’s a favorite of mine even if the burgers were not to my liking.

Yam Chips

The yam chips were also good and despite some being a tad chewy they were for the most part crisp, light and tasty. Unlike the rings these were perfect and one would be hard presses to notice any oil on them at all. As a substitute for regular run of the mill fries these were a nice change and I’m glad they are offered.

All in all I liked Boogie’s and while some of what we had disappointed me I would like to return and sample some of the other unique burgers to find out if what we experienced was the norm for this place. I may not go out of my way to visit but would say that they do offer good food that is made well. Next time I’ll have a double though.

Boogie's Burgers on Urbanspoon

I’ve known of Boogies burgers for most of my life and it’s one of those places that I keep thinking I’d like to visit and never seem to get. I finally did get the chance to try the food here when I wanted to take the convertible out for a run and enjoy the nice weather.

Boogies has been around for a long time, since the late sixties as a matter of fact. This burger place was started by Gus Peiters, the same man who also gave Calgary one of it’s most beloved institutions, Peter’s Drive-in. This may be one of the reasons I never went for such a long time, it may have been in my mind that it would be the same food and so why not just go to Peter’s instead. I’m not sure if that’s the reason or not but at least I can now say I’ve been to both.

http://chowtown.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/p1010608.jpg?w=300Located on Edmonton Trail and only a short drive south of Peter’s Drive-in We found that Boogie’s was quite busy for a mid-week and earlier than normal dinner. we looked over the menu while waiting in line and found that the offerings were much more varied than I’d expected, with a large number of burgers to choose from. Many of these burgers were quite unique with toppings ranging from the ordinary to the somewhat less so such as fried egg and even a hotdog.

We ended up ordering a Sam’s burger for Nancy and a Fay’s burger for myself. I’ve since discovered that these two burgers are named for the couple who ran Boogies for much of its existence. The Sam’s is a single patty with all the usual toppings in addition to a fried egg, cheese and Boogie’s house made red sauce. The Fay’s burger is also a single with fried mushrooms and onions, bacon and a mushroom sauce as well as the expected additions. We also ordered some of the yam chips, a small plate of onion rings and to drink a raspberry shake and a coke for me.

After ordering the fellow at the counter told me he’d have the food brought outside to one of the tables if we wanted to eat there. We liked the idea of dining in the sunshine and I told him that yes that would be great. I am quite surprised that they’d bring us our food considering how busy they were and this is a plus for boogie’s in my book. We paid and proceeded out into the sunshine to sit at one of the uniquely pinkish picnic tables provided.

Our drinks arrived soon after we’d sat down and the shake was quite good, not the cheap flavourless variety I’d come to expect from most places and similar to what you’d get at Peter’s.

http://chowtown.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/p1010604.jpg?w=300

Sam’s Burger

We were finished the drinks long before our food arrived and while I generally don’t like to wait so long for something as simple as a burger it was nice out and since I’d read that every burger was handmade fresh as the orders come in I was okay with it.

When the burgers and sides arrived I was quite pleased with what I saw. The burgers were large and looked great, just what I’d hoped I’d see when I heard they made them to order. Both were well made and put together with care despite how busy the kitchen must have been, I do hate thrown together food and whether good or not will not be happy with any place that allows this.

http://chowtown.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/p1010605.jpg?w=300

Fay’s Burger

The burgers came on amazingly fresh buns that were not the over-puffy or heavy ones I’m used to. They also seemed to be thinner than what I’d have expected and thus did not over-power the burger as so many do. I decided that it would have been good if I’d ordered a double patty, I didn’t do so as I was unsure of the size and didn’t want to end up with a huge monster that I’d have a hard time eating. These were not the huge thick slab of meat I thought I might find and were in fact much thinner than I’d have hoped for, rather like the fast food patties one finds at MacDonald’s but much larger in diameter. I found this to be disappointing.

Both of us liked our burgers but given that each was covered with a different sauce that was not in short supply we were surprised that neither of them had a great deal of flavour. My Fay’s burger was actually rather bland tasting, I could not discern the flavour of the mushrooms or the onions and the sauce could have been missing for all the impact it had. Nancy had similar feelings about her Sam’s burger. Between the thin patties and the lack of flavour we were actually somewhat disappointed in our first visit to Boogies.

http://chowtown.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/p1010606.jpg?w=300

Basic Rings

The onion rings were the basic version that I’d had on countless occasions and while a little bit on the oily side were quite enjoyable. I’d hoped that I’d find that Boogie’s made their own rings as I’ve not had handmade onion rings in so long I cannot remember. This, if it had been done and they were good would have made Boogie’s a favourite of mine even if the burgers were not to my liking.

http://chowtown.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/p1010607.jpg?w=300

Yam Chips

The yam chips were also good and despite some being a tad chewy they were for the most part crisp, light and tasty. Unlike the rings these were perfect and one would be hard presses to notice any oil on them at all. As a substitute for regular run of the mill fries these were a nice change and I’m glad they are offered.

All in all I liked Boogie’s and while some of what we had disappointed me I would like to return and sample some of the other unique burgers to find out if what we experienced was the norm for this place. I may not go out of my way to visit but would say that they do offer good food that is made well. Next time I’ll have a double though.