September 2013


I’m going on vacation soon so this is a teaser. Hopefully I can put up a couple more shorts over the next week or so. I easily have enough information for a few days of posting, just no time recently. Hopefully things will be smoother and less frantic after the trip is over.

Mings BBQ, well known for inexpensive pork and duck dishes, also has a few that will challenge folks. This is one of them.

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I found it to be a good dish. Not as good as the pork intestines at the not-so-famous Tasty China on Peachtree Industrial (the Shaighainese place, not Sichuan), but still worth a try. Crispy outside, and gelatinous and delicate inside. My waitress tried to warn me away from the dish. I personally think it’s worth a try if you have a risk tasking personality.

Blue Fin is the reincarnation of Sakana Ya, moved north along Peachtree Industrial from the Tilly Mill intersection to a location above Duluth Highway. It’s pretty enough inside to take a date, serves nice large bowls of food, has quite a few Japanese clientele.

This is more likely what you'll see when approaching Blue Fin.

This is more likely what you’ll see when approaching Blue Fin.

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I would describe the menu as smaller, but reasonably diverse. We came at lunch, so really have no feel for the dinner menu. There is a long sushi bar on one side, and a scattering of tables throughout the space. If I had to guess at capacity, it looks as if it could handle 50-75 diners. Although it’s not postage stamp tiny, it’s not a huge place.

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Outside of sushi, there were tempura and donburi offerings, ramen and noodles of various kinds, edamame, tonkatsu, the seaweed salad I ordered, as well as tuna tataki. Sushi selections were not limited to nigiri and rolls. They had a good looking chirashi zushi on the menu, and the salmon bowl, a second cousin to chirashi, was what my daughter ordered. The salmon roe in the dish looked quite appealing.

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The tuna tataki was a photo op on a plate. The dishes in Blue Fin present well, and are graceful on the table.

Tuna tataki.

Tuna tataki.

We enjoyed the eatery quite a bit. I didn’t see any signs of wildly overpriced food, given the serving sizes involved. Prices here are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. And at Blue Fin, what you get is a quality dining experience.

Blue Fin Sushi
2863 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 232-5004

Blue Fin Sushi on Urbanspoon

Las Costas Nayaritas is unique. There is nothing like this restaurant in the city. It is an eatery focused almost purely on coastal Mexican seafood combinations. The closest to this theme was the old U.S.S. Vallarta, now long gone from Gwinnett Place Mall. There was a restaurant similar to this that I saw in Dallas, Big Shucks, but Big Shucks was largely oriented towards shrimp cocktails of various kinds, inexpensive beer, and futbol on large television screens.

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I showed up at this restaurant a day before their Grand Opening, at a time when their lunch menu was also their dinner menu, and so the lunch I had may not be the lunch offering you get. What I saw were a lot of staple seafood varieties and not a lot of exotica. There were things on the menu like crab, clams, oysters, shrimp, and octopus. Fish included tilapia, salmon, and perhaps a flatfish or two. There aren’t many exotic or rare items.

Tortillas are large, crisp, corn based and a little granular on the tongue. The tostada appetizer is better than anything I ever had at Lobster House.

Tortillas are large, crisp, corn based and a little granular on the tongue. The free tostada appetizer is better than anything I ever had at Lobster House.

The plates of food tend to be expensive, relative to prices you might see at a Red Lobster. But by way of compensation, the serving sizes are *enormous*. No other word for it, enormous. This is a place to feed a lot of people with a few plates of food.

Unless you eat Thai bird peppers for fun, be sparing of this hot sauce.

Unless you eat Thai bird peppers for fun, be sparing of this hot sauce.

What I ordered was the filete relleno, which Google tells me translates to ‘stuffed filet’. In fact this is a filet of tilapia over which a mixed bag of seafood and white cheese is poured. Again, the serving easily could have fed two and for the price, was actually a generous amount of food.

This photo doesn't really give the viewer any feel for how large this plate really is.

This photo doesn’t really give the viewer any feel for how large this plate really is.

I spent a lot of time fishing the interesting bits out of the white cheese and trying them out. The dish was delicious. The octopus ran a little chewy but it was sliced so thin that wasn’t an issue. In the mix were things like fish, shrimp, octopus, crab meat, sauteed mushrooms, and various vegetables.

The sheer novelty of the restaurant has me contemplating it still. I think what would work best for most folks is to go in groups, buy one or two plates and share. I don’t think it has small amounts of food for small eaters. Serving size tends to be enough for two normal eaters (or one Chloe Morris).

Update 9/8/2013: as Emily of Spatial Drift points out, the style of this cuisine is Nayarit. A nice introduction to Nayarit cuisine online can be found here.

Las Costas Nayaritas
1555 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 635-6000

Las Costas Nayaritas on Urbanspoon

If laid back and casual are what you want in a restaurant, you’ll love Oh! My Samgyupsal. If you like waitstaff that for the most part have flawless English, you’ll like Oh! My Samgyupsal. If you want good bbq in an atmosphere that doesn’t feel like an “after the karaoke” event, then this eatery may be good for you. All that said, if you’re a newbie to Korean BBQ, this also is a great place to start.

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If you’re wanting a fancy place to impress the relatives, this isn’t it. The tables and chairs are pretty ordinary and there is graffiti everywhere. I happen to like places with graffiti, it’s a very college thing to do, but it’s not for everyone. The drawings, however, show some artistic touches and it can be fun trying to recognize the folks they often parody.

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sprouts, kimchi, and some brisket getting "the treatment".

sprouts, kimchi, and some brisket getting “the treatment”.

I’d rate the food as good. The brisket isn’t as fine as the marinated brisket at Honey Pig but it is very thinly sliced and tastes very good if it’s well crisped. There are multiple kinds of pork belly, including the garlic pork belly that Bella Viviere likes. My family are hardly pork belly fans so we tend to eat brisket, wraps, “salad”, and cooked sprouts and kimchi.

If I haven’t suggested this so far, staff may be the best thing this restaurant has going for it. The English the staff use is mostly flawless. And therefore, if you’re one of the folks who has never had “all you can eat” BBQ in the city, this is one of the most English friendly spots you could start with.

In short, Oh! My Damgyupsal is a perfect spot for a beginner, a great spot for a casual crowd, a useful respite from the late night oriented eateries.

Oh! My Samgyupsal
3585 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096

Oh! My Samgyupsal on Urbanspoon