Foodie by April

Local restaurant reviews by an food explorer & enthusiast!

Javier’s Café, Smithtown, NY

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There’s a new breakfast/lunch place in town and it competes with one of the other heavy hitters for breakfast and lunch (Maureen’s Kitchen) – it’s called Javier’s Cafe on Main Street in Smithtown.  They don’t have a website yet, as they just opened their doors about a month ago (in mid-June)…but here’s some info I found when I googled them:  http://long-island.newsday.com/restaurants/feed-me-1.812004/javier-s-cafe-new-for-breakfast-and-lunch-in-smithtown-1.5573344 (Newsday’s brief announcement about their opening).  Or, here’s more detailed info from the Smithtown Patch:  http://smithtown.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/javiers-cafe-opens-doors-awakens-a-dream.

It’s hard to write this and not compare Javier’s to Maureen’s Kitchen, since the chef and owner, Javier, worked as the chef for Maureen’s for 16 years.  If you’ve been to Maureen’s before, and came to Javier’s then you’d definitely have the feeling that this was a smaller version of Maureen’s – every bit as tasty and the service was great!  We went there at the end of June, and since we were only two people, we got seated right away.  The steady stream of customers kept flowing in.  The servers were very attentive and seemed that they really cared and wanted you to be genuinely happy with your meal and dining experience.  I had the Spanish Omelet and they happily made it semi-healthy for me (half egg whites and half whole eggs) – it was great and had this thick and chunky authentic Spanish salsa piled on top and they gave me some to taste prior to my meal on the side.  Like I said, they really cared that I would enjoy my meal. My boyfriend got Stuffed Peach Pecan French Toast made with fresh Challah bread – he loved it…and this is coming from someone who always gets this at Maureen’s Kitchen (sorry Maureen’s you’re still great).

I recommended this place to my coworker, and she’s already been there twice.  I’ve yet to get back there myself, but she said that her and her other half got there on a Sunday around 12:30 and could see it was getting crowded.  I’m really hoping they do well.  So far I’m very impressed with both the food and service and the decor is clean and fun – they had a very large spoon on the wall I liked 🙂  Plan on going back there soon.  Oh, and here’s another link to a local paper with info on Javier’s Cafe and other local spots as well: http://www.etweekpub.com/featured_restaurants.cgi (scroll down for the review/info).

Enjoy!

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Hotoke Japanese Steakhouse, Smithtown, NY

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Hotoke is a local Japanese Hibachi restaurant that I once thought was pretty decent, but I hadn’t been there in almost a year and a half. They kept sending us coupons periodically and I had one that was expiring by June 30th- so we went on the 30th. Their service and food was not impressive and we will not be back. My boyfriend said he was “underwhelmed” to say the least. Visit their site at http://www.hotokejapanese.com/

We started with two appetizers:  crab cake and vegetable tempura.  The crab cake was imitation crab!  There — I said it.  As soon as I tasted it, I knew it was fake crab meat.  The imitation style has that red color.  I’ve had better crab cakes frozen from COSTCO that are from Maryland.  The veggie tempura was good – it’s hard to screw that up.  They brought out our entrées right after the servers brought us the two appetizers – within a couple of minutes of us starting to eat the appetizers we were being rushed into our dinners!  And the place wasn’t busy; they weren’t even half full.  I even had to tell them flat-out they were rushing us – not impressed at all (:

Not sure I remember what I ate there when we were there last, but I’m thinking it was hibachi shrimp.  Had the shrimp Teriyaki there and it was super bland.  My boyfriend had the Sushi Dinner from the Sushi Bar entrée section of the dinner menu.  As I said from the start, he was comparing the sushi at Hotoke with another place that we went to six months ago that he loved, and Hotoke left him feeling very underwhelmed.

Like most Japanese restaurants of late, Hotoke likes to seem “trendy”.  I guess this means that they must play loud club music while eating your meal. We thought we were getting a break from this, but at some point during our recent visit they started blasting the dance music.  Don’t know about you, but I like more traditional Asian music during my dinner experience, or more soothing low-key music.  Loud club music doesn’t help me enjoy the meal, it gives me indigestion 🙂

We were glad to have not paid full price for our dinner.  That was the last time I would get sucked into going there with the lure of the coupon they send. Next time, the coupon goes right in the garbage, and we’ll head somewhere else.

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