Monthly Archives: May 2013

Bev’s on the River

Bev’s on the River  – website

Today we visited Bev’s on the River.  Bev’s on the River is an upscale restaurant located along the Missouri River at the south end of Hamilton Boulevard. Approaching this place, the first thing I noticed was that this place was huge. I had originally thought that it was just a small restaurant located in the nearby hotel. The building almost looked brand new and it had a very modern appearance to it. The interior of this building was very stylish. Even the ceiling was creatively decorated in a modern motif.

The menu we received was a lunch menu. It included numerous sandwiches as well as some soups and more significant entrees. Our group went a little crazy today. I’m pretty sure we ordered every appetizer on the menu. This includes things such as onion rings, spinach artichoke dip, shrimp cocktail, and crab cakes. I personally ordered a serving of the crab cakes. I have never had a crab cake before so I have nothing to compare them to. That being said, I found the crab cakes delicious. They contained a lot of meat with seemingly little filler. They came with fresh lemon and a rich aioli sauce. This sauce really took the crab cakes to another level. It was extremely rich and flavorful.

For my main course, I ordered prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes. When first served this entrée I noticed that it was much larger than the menu stated. The menu said a seven ounce portion while what was on my plate was at least twelve. It had a flavorful spice rub and was cooked to a perfect medium rare. The only problem was no matter how much of it I ate, it just wasn’t getting smaller. The portion was huge. They were not kidding when they called them garlic mashed potatoes. The garlic in these potatoes was like a smack in the face it was so strong. I definitely won’t have any problems with vampires today. The entrée also came with a broccoli cheddar soup that was okay, but easily forgettable compared to the other things I’ve eaten here.

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While already full, I decided to order dessert. The tabled ordered several servings of chocolate cheesecake and carrot cake. I personally ordered the cheesecake. The cheesecake came with fancy garnishes on the plate. I ended up having about three bites and couldn’t go on because it was so rich. The dessert was just too much for me to handle.


Bev’s on the River is a great restaurant if you are looking for upscale dining. Expect to spend around twenty dollars per person. You can spend much more or less than this, but I think twenty is a good average of the price of a full meal. I would recommend this place to everyone provided they have the money to spend. I’m not sure I’ll go back simply because it’s a bit out of my price range. Overall, Bev’s on the River is a great restaurant that I’m glad I got to experience.

El Tapatio

Today we ate at El Tapatio. El Tapatio is a Mexican restaurant located on Gordon Drive. The exterior of this restaurant really isn’t much to look at. It’s a simple restaurant with a brick exterior and a sign on top. It wasn’t dirty looking. It was just very simple.  Entering El Tapatio we were seated quickly. The room decorated with Mexican themed paintings and statues. It was decorated like your average Mexican restaurant. If you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all. An odd thing I noticed about this place is the small size of the dining room. It seemed like the dining room was really small compared to the size of the building.

The menu contained various Mexican foods including a few entrees that were unique to El Tapatio. For example, they had a dish that our group referred to as “the meat tower. It was literally several types of meat served with a shrimp skewer sticking out of it. That’s pretty funny and cool in my opinion. Another interesting entrée was Mexican steak. I always enjoy the spices put on a Mexican steak. Although these dishes were tempting, I ended up ordering a shrimp trio……….and a taco. I don’t know why. It’s a Mexican restaurant so I ordered a taco. Leave me alone.

My meal arrived fairly quickly. It was hot and freshly cooked. The shrimp were cooked three different ways. There were shrimp fried in a coconut-based breading. The second kind was a shrimp marinated and fried on a skewer. The third kind of shrimp was pan fried and cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce that I couldn’t identify. I almost thought of it as a Mexican barbecue sauce.  This dish was awesome. The shrimp were large and there were a lot of them. The flavors weren’t just coating the shrimp. They were cooked into the meat of the shrimp. The rice was good, but it almost made me think of Asian fried rice. I think I even saw pieces of egg in it. I liked it either way. I never even got too the taco because there was so many shrimp. I ended up taking it home. It looked like your average Tex-Mex with ground hamburger.


El Tapatio is a pretty good Mexican Restaurant.  I’d recommend this place to anyone that likes Mexican food. The prices are very fair there. You can spend anywhere from five to fifteen dollars depending on what you want. I spent on the higher range, but it was well worth it. I’d definitely go back to El Tapatio anytime.

Indigo Palette

Indigo Palette – Website including menu

Today we ate at Indigo Palette. Indigo Palette is an establishment that offers several perks including quality food, art, and music. To be honest, I have never heard of Indigo Palette before this review, so this will be my first impression. Indigo Palette is located on lower fourth amongst the other common bars. It is easily overlooked, although it would be a mistake to ignore this bar. Approaching this place didn’t bring much to mind. It just looked like your average bar with your average amenities. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This became clear as soon as I entered the door.

Indigo Palette was incredibly interesting. The walls were decorated with impressive paintings and photographs that were created by local artists. They ranged from a cheap postcard to a thousand dollar beautiful masterpiece. My only problem with this ambience is that the art was well out of my price range.  They also sold small pieces of jewelry and other small mementos that, although small, were impressive displays of artistry.

The menu was very economical. They had a myriad of varied offerings that all ranged around ten dollars. There were sandwiches and pastas alike. I opted for a stuffed burger with hand cut fries. I ordered a hamburger stuffed with sharp cheddar and pepper jack. This is not what I received. I chalk this up to miscommunication and I don’t fault the restaurant in any way. I ended up with a hamburger stuffed with feta cheese and mushrooms. Luckily, I love both of these ingredients. Otherwise, I would have shut this place down! Not really. The hamburger was well done but that did not forfeit the flavor. The burger maintained a wealth of flavors including a rich fattiness and a cutting feta flavor. There was no mistaking that this burger had more to offer than your average sandwich. The fries were equally as awesome. They were hand cut and cooked in an oil that tasted as extremely fresh. I do admit that I dipped them in ketchup, but in their defense I dip most everything in a sauce.

Looking back at Indio Palette I am left with a very simple and positive opinion. Indigo Palette is a source of local culture. They provide opportunities to feed your family and feed including a rich fattiness and a cutting feta flavor. There was no mistaking that this burger had more to offer than your average sandwich. The fries were equally as awesome. They were hand cut and cooked in an oil that tasted as extremely fresh. I do admit that I dipped them in ketchup, but in their defense I dip most everything in a sauce.

Looking back at Indio Palette I am left with a very simple and positive opinion. Indigo Palette is a source of local culture. They provide opportunities for a family meal or a quick drink while enjoying some art. Expect to spend around 10 dollars for lunch here. Expect to spend more on the art, but in my opinion it’s worth it.

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Diamond Thai Cuisine

Curry and rice

Curry and rice -Link to menu

Diamond Thai Cuisine is a small family owned and operated restaurant that has been around for well over six years. It is owned by Pete Utthachoo who is a great guy with a good sense of humor. According to the Sioux City Journal, every single dish has been taste-tested and approved by his Thai mother. Approaching this restaurant it definitely looked like a whole in the wall type of place. It had no real parking and the building itself is easily overlooked. The interior restaurant looked bright and fairly clean. The walls were covered with far-east decorations and paintings.

The staff immediately greeted us and set up a place for us to eat. The menu contained a large array of traditional Thai dishes. There were noodle dishes, soups and others dishes I can’t even put a name on. What I think is really good is the curry. I have never had a bad curry at this place. I opted to order the yellow curry with a side of jasmine rice. To try something really out of the ordinary for me, I ordered the Thai spicy beef jerky as an appetizer. I honestly ordered this because it just seemed odd to me.

The appetizers came out fairly quickly. The Thai spicy beef jerky did not fail in being unique. I’m still not sure what to make of this dish. The flavors were extremely odd. Was it beef jerky? Yes. Was it spicy? Yes. I got exactly what I ordered, but it was just weird. The rest of the meal more than made up for the appetizer. The yellow curry arrived piping hot. It contained carrots, onions, potatoes and my choice of meat. I may be biased because I came to into this review knowing that I love this curry. It was extremely good. It was extremely spicy, which was exactly how I ordered it. I like it when Thai curry has a serious kick to it. This is not to say that the spice was overpowering. They somehow find a way to make the curry strongly spicy, but still have all the smaller flavors come through. It was rich and creamy with a background hint of coconut. The vegetables were cooked perfectly, but to me they only served as a medium to present the curry on. This is just because I like the curry flavor so much. The jasmine rice was delicious. I’m unsure how jasmine rice is made, but it’s my favorite type of rice. I could easily make an entire meal out of it. I mixed this rice with the curry and it resulted in a delicious and filling meal.

Diamond Thai Cuisine is a quality small-scale restaurant. They are welcoming to all ages and even had several children in the restaurant while our group was there. They are fairly priced and nothing on the menu is expensive. A good meal hear costs seven to ten dollars. I recommend Diamond Thai Cuisine to everyone. It has great flavors and won’t cost you too much.

Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

Today I ate at Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. It is located near Southern Hills Mall in the building that was formerly occupied by Coyote Canyon. Like the name states, they are a Japanese style steakhouse. They cook your food to order right at your table and even put on a small performance of cooking tricks while doing so.

Approaching the restaurant, it looked very clean and simple. It was brick building and had one clearly displayed sign. The interior of the restaurant was impressive. The first thing I noticed was that even though it was a few year old, it looked brand new. There were no signs of aging. To further this aspect, the establishment was immaculately clean. Every grill looked near new and I didn’t see a dirty plate or carpet stain anywhere in the restaurant. This was obviously a nice restaurant.

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After being seated, the next thing I noticed was the service. The people working there seemed to actually take in interest in your enjoyment. My drink was being refilled constantly and our order was taken quickly. The best part of the service was the cook. He performed several of the well-known tricks that occur at restaurants like this. For example, he made a flaming volcano out of onion slices. The best part was he had a great sense of humor and a fun personality. He immediately began joking around and having fun as he was cooking. He even made conversation outside of what he was required to do. He had some really interesting things to say about different cuts of meat and fish.

Taken from their website.

Taken from their website.

The menu contained a varied mix of seafood and quality cuts of beef. I ordered off the lunch menu because it was significantly cheaper and still looked tasty. I finally decided on swordfish and shrimp as a main entree. The main course I ordered came with a side of fried rice and vegetables. I also ordered an appetizer of soft-shell crab. The soft-shell crab came out quickly. I’m no exactly sure what I think about it. This is the only soft-shell crab I’ve ever had so I have nothing to compare it to. It just kind of tasted like a piece of fried meat. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t bad. It just tasted like fried food. The swordfish was decent. It was cooked with some lemon that added a great flavor to it. The rice was actually rich and flavorful. I had never had fried rice that tasted to rich before. The vegetables tasted great, but that was largely due to the fact that that they were swimming in butter. Even the mushroom served as little garlic butter sponges. I’m not claiming it was healthy. I’m saying it tasted great. The best part of the meal was the shrimp. They were popping with flavor. There was nothing subtle about the taste of these shrimp. They were large, buttery, and fresh tasting.

The meal

The meal

Overall, this restaurant provided a great meal in an extremely nice environment. They are welcoming to all ages and the atmosphere is very comfortable. The one catch about this place is the price. Expect to spend about twenty dollars per person to have a great meal here. Unfortunately, that price-point relegates this restaurant to a very special occasions only restaurant for me. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone provided they’re willing to spend that kind of money.

Bob Roe’s Point After

For our first visit, we went to Bob Roe’s Point after. This establishment can be thought of as a family friendly sports bar that is frequented by both locals and the college crowd (both local and not). They are most well-known for their pizza and hot wings. Once a week the wings are sold at a discount price and the place is packed. Outside of wings Wednesdays, Bob Roe’s has average business and you can expect to be seated in a timely manner.

When arriving at Bob Roe’s I noticed that it has the appearance of your average sports bar. Its decorated with local sports memorabilia and plays sports TV all the time. One major thing I noticed was how quiet it was. There was no music or Sportscenter playing. It was just calm and quiet. This could be because it was only eleven in the morning. The restaurant clearly used to be a smoking establishment because the ceiling was stained and there was an old smoke filter built into the ceiling. I cared very little about this because I was going to a bar for lunch. I wasn’t expecting some fancy atmosphere with jazz music.

The menu includes all your average bar foods with a few nicer entrees for dinner. I already knew that the wings and pizza were great so I chose to venture elsewhere in the menu. The special of the day was a steak sandwich with fries. I opted to order that with an iced tea to drink. The iced tea was very satisfying on such a hot day. The entrée came out in an acceptable amount of time considering there were twenty of us ordering. I was quite surprised at what I received. What I received I suppose could be considered a sandwich, but it is definitely not what I would call a sandwich. It was a ball of steak on top of a piece of Texas toast. I ordered my steak medium rare and it came out a bleeding rare. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I would take rare to overcooked steak any day of the week. The steak was okay and the fries were tasty. Hey! It was a seven dollar steak. I couldn’t expect fillet mignon.



Long story short, I would probably stick to the wings or pizza next time. I paid seven dollars and I got a healthy sized steak and fries. No complaints there. I just like their wings and pizza better. I love this place for the past times just as much as I love it for the actual food. I have many happy memories of spending an evening here and procrastinating. It’s so easy for me to act like the outside world doesn’t exist when at Bob Roe’s.  When going to Bob Roe’s expect to spend eight to twelve dollars per person. If it’s wings Wednesday, you’ll spend a little less and get a lot messier.

Da Kao

Today we visited Da Kao Vietnamese restaurant. It is located near Hamilton on west 7th. It is family owned and operated. They have received numerous awards for the soups and other Vietnamese specialties. The restaurant itself is nothing special to look at. Inside and out it just looks like you average well-worn Midwest Asian restaurant.

The tables were clean and we were seated immediately. The menu contains numerous Vietnamese dishes as well as a Chinese section that some Midwestern people may find more accessible. This way you can try some adventurous dish and your mom can still order something like orange chicken. I ended up ordering a pho that came with a mixture of meats including beef, tripe (does this count as meat?), and meatballs. I also ordered crab rangoons. The dish arrived at the table incredibly fast for how large are group was.

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The crab rangoons came first and they were awesome. They came with a neat little bowl of sweet and sour sauce. The crab rangoons were large, rich, and creamy. The sweet and sour sauce was able to cut through this heaviness and add a great flavor. When my soup first arrived I wondered if this was a portion meant for a sumo wrestler. It was huge! There had to be at least a pound of rice noodles and a large amount of meat on top of that. The rice noodles were a great texture and really took on the flavor of the dish. The meats were good, but no great. The broth was amazing. The broth is what makes the soups at Da Kao so good. Every type of soup has its own unique broth and they are all delicious! I could easily make a meal out of some simple noodles and big bowl of one of their broths. There are so many unique and interesting spices in these broths that it is hard to identify any one single ingredient. It’s hard to tell what specifically makes the broths so delicious, they just are. Some are light and airy, while others are a heavy beefy smack in the face.

Everyone enjoying their food.

Everyone enjoying their food.

First and foremost, Da Kao is a family owned restaurant and that’s why I recommend them to everyone. Also, there food is simply good. To get a great and maybe even adventurous meal at Da Kao expect to spend 7-10 dollars. The environment is clean and welcoming to all ages.  Da Kao restaurant is a great place for everyone from the timid eater to the bold adventurer. As a final note, don’t forget to try the sauces provided at the table. You won’t be disappointed.

Milwaukee Weiner House & Coney Island (downtown)

Today we visited Coney Island and Milwaukee wiener house. Both are Sioux City staples and are pushing ninety-plus years old. Before Mcdonalds and Burger King, you went to the hot dog shop. They are both located in the vicinity of downtown Sioux City and are actually within walking distance from each other.

The first place we went to was Milwaukee Weiner House. Even the exterior of this restaurant made it clear that it has been around for quite a while. Entering this restaurant was almost like stepping back in time. I imagine it doesn’t look too different from the way it originally did. There were rows of old booths across from a very long cafeteria style service counter. The servers still wear the old-fashioned paper hats and the same old menu board is on the wall. The servers were quick and courteous. The man preparing hotdogs had clearly been doing this for a long time. He worked through our group of people in a pretty quick manner.


Milwaukee Weiner House

Milwaukee Weiner House


The food was your basic hot dog shop offerings. There were shakes, fries, chili, hotdogs and cheese in pretty much any combination you could want. You could also opt for a soda, potato chips, or beer. I decided to order two chili cheese dogs with mustard. The hotdogs looked very appetizing and there flavor did not disappoint. In not more than six bites I had completely demolished both hotdogs. What really made these hotdogs good for me was the chili. I loved their chili. It was a finely ground beef chili in a tomato base with no beans. This obviously the way hotdog chili should be.


The second place we visited was Coney Island. We went to the original one downtown. Approaching this restaurant again proved to be a step back in time. It is a small storefront that goes easily unnoticed. I actually had forgotten that this Coney Island was still open. This Coney Island is run by married couple who are also the owners. My dad actually has memories of being a police officer in the 70’s and being served by this same couple. Everything in this restaurant is pretty old, if not original. Even the toaster appeared to be at least thirty years old. The couple was very welcoming. The main difference between Milwaukee and Coney Island is the scale of the operation. Milwaukee is used to moving at a higher speed and moving through a lot of people whereas Coney Island moves at their own pace. This doesn’t make one or the other better. It just adds to their individual character.

The food here is very similar to Milwaukee Weiner House. Coney Island offered a few more sandwiches than Milwaukee, but had fewer options for most other things.  I ordered the same entrée as I did from Milwaukee so I could compare the flavors. To be honest, they were both delicious. Both restaurants had good chili and both had hotdogs that for some reason you just can’t get to taste the same way at home. I think that I would be hard pressed to differentiate between the hotdogs served at these two restaurants.

Coney Island with some handsome fellow in the reflection

Coney Island with some handsome fellow in the reflection

Old equipment built to last. In the meantime, my phone lasts 9 months.

Old equipment built to last. In the meantime, my phone lasts 9 months.

Overall, I would recommend both restaurants to anyone who likes a good hotdog. I am partial to Milwaukee Weiner House mostly due to childhood memories. Food quality and service are great at both establishments.  If you go to either restaurant, expect to spend five to seven dollars. Another option would be to take my route and try both in one go. It’s definitely worth it and you only end up spending around ten dollars.

Red Bones Cafe

Red Bones Café- 401 W. 7th  Sioux City, Iowa

When Mexico Lindo shut down at 401 W. 7th street I was really bummed. It was my favorite restaurant in Sioux City. Little did I know that a fresh and interesting restaurant would soon take its place. Red Bones Café is a soul food restaurant that offers dishes that aren’t available anywhere else in Siouxland. They brought a unique café to Sioux City that fills a niche that was previously overlooked.

Approaching Red Bones I recognized the same old run down building as before. Red Bones added a sign and did little else to change the exterior. I think this really adds to the character of the establishment. Entering Red Bones Café I was greeted by lively colors and an open seating area. The café itself is quite small and our group almost occupied the entire café. The overall feel of the environment was worn but welcoming. It was the type of place that really made you feel welcomed and at home.

colorful interior

colorful interior

Once seated, we promptly received menus. The menus contained an extensive list of southern comfort food.  They had your basics such as collard greens, okra, fried chicken, catfish, and gumbo. They also had some original spins on southern food such as their signature “Soul Wrap” containing different meats and vegetables wrapped in a jalapeno tortilla. The gumbo seemed really intriguing to me as did almost every side dish on the menu. I finally decided to try the catfish with collard greens and mashed potatoes.


Considering the size of the group, the food arrived in a timely manner and was clearly cooked to order. The food was fresh, hot, and appealing to the eye. The mashed potatoes were neatly positioned on the plate with a serving of brown gravy in a central divot. The collard greens were in a simple little bowl sitting on the plate. They appeared to be a dark green hue and were swimming in a buttery broth. The catfish consisted of two large fillets breaded in a cornmeal mixture. They were golden brown and smelled fresh. The dish also came with a piece of golden cornbread served with honey.

I’m going to preface this section by saying that I have pretty much never had soul food. I am no connoisseur and everything I ate besides the mashed potatoes was a first for me.  I started with the mashed potatoes because I think that they are bound to be good and pretty hard to screw up. They were rich, creamy, and enjoyable. I probably could’ve made a meal out of a plate of the potatoes.

The collard greens were extremely salty. It’s my understanding that this is the way they are supposed to be. I just think they are not for me. The taste was just too intense. I was going in expecting a mild vegetable flavor and ended up getting punched in the face with a bold buttery flavor.

The catfish breading was again, just not for me. The fish itself was cooked perfectly and the breading was prepared just as it should be. I just don’t enjoy cornmeal breading. It came highly recommended to me and others thoroughly enjoyed it. I would definitely still recommend it to others.

The cornbread was very sweet. I actually treated it like a dessert because I found the sweetness so enjoyable. It was the perfect ending to a well-cooked meal.

Red Bones Café is a great little restaurant.  They are family friendly and fairly priced. (Expect to spend 7-10 dollars.) I would recommend this restaurant to friends and anyone who enjoys fresh authentic soul food. Don’t let the exterior scare you a way. If you go to Red Bones Café,  be ready to feel at home and satisfied.

House of Q

The House of Q is a locally owned barbecue restaurant. It is located in Morningside in a building that was originally occupied by Normandy restaurant. Upon entering the establishment I was immediately greeted by the staff and informed of how the ordering process worked. They were more than friendly and willing to answer any questions we had. A rich smoky smell was present throughout the restaurant. The walls were decorated with artifacts of the restaurants involvement in the community and funny window paintings of happy pigs. We were seated in a comfortable air conditioned room. I believe this added to the experience because it was over a hundred degrees outside.

The menu contained an array of smoked meats including beef, pork, and chicken. The multitude of combinations you could order was impressive. Not sure if you want sausage or a hamburger? No problem! Put them both on one sandwich. That’s still not enough? You could always add one of the many sides that ranged from the sweet to the savory. I had been to the House of Q before and already knew what I wanted to order. I elected to order a half rack of ribs and sweet potato fries. Considering the size of the group I was with, the food arrived at my table impressively fast.


The ribs had a rich smoky flavor that was complimented by the sweetness of the dry rub. A pink smoke ring was clearly present in every slice of meat. The table had a choice of several different sauces including original, chipotle, spicy, and honey. I opted for the chipotle barbecue sauce because I found it spicy, but it didn’t overpower the flavor of the meat. The sweet potato fries appeared bright orange and covered in the same rub that went on the ribs. The sweet potato fries were pleasantly crispy and not at all greasy. The dry rub went great with the sweet potato fries. The portions were so large that I had leftovers for at least one more meal.

The big bonus of visiting the House of Q is the beer list. The House of Q has arguably one of the best beer lists in Sioux City. It is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. The list ranges from cheap domestic beers all the way to imports that you have probably never heard of. I ended up ordering a beer named Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche. It was a tasty dopplebock, but the real selling point is that it is a smoked beer. It has a rich oaky flavor that pairs with barbecue perfectly.

Delicious smoky goodness

Delicious smoky goodness

Overall, the House of Q is a great barbecue joint. I would definitely return here. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys dry rub barbecue. Expect to spend seven to ten dollars per person and leave with leftovers. The service is great and the environment is friendly to all ages. The House of Q is a family owned restaurant that offers great flavors and good value.