16 August 2006

Papa John's, Shekou

Name: Papa John's
City: Shekou, China
Address: Central Plaza, Sea World, next to the Ming Hua

Website: http://papajohns.com/

Cuisine: American Pizza

Critique: A great taste of home! Excellent decor. Actually, an upscale restaurant, if you didn't know it was Papa John's. The best tasting pizza I've had in Asia.

Comments/Recommendations: I don't normally review a chain restaurant, but this one is here for two reasons: I want you to know that it is available in Shekou; and it really does taste just like it does in the States, unlike Pizza Hut, which simply isn't the same. This truly is an exception. There is at least one other branch in Central Garden City next to Wal-Mart in Shekou and I have seen one in Shanghai. Now, if it would just come to Hong Kong!

Rating: 4 Fries

Parana BBQ, Shekou, China

Name: Parana BBQ
City: Shekou, China
Address: Astern, directly under the main bridge, inside the Ming Hua, Sea World, Shekou, China

Website: unknown

Cuisine: Brazilian Bar-b-que

Critique: The best part of this restaurant is that it is in the Ming Hua. The Ming Hua is the large former Russian passenger ship that has been turned into a hotel. I sat next to a port-hole. The developers of this hotel/restaurant extravaganza have done a terrific job on the hotel part and the restaurants. The hotel is quite posh and the rooms are actually two converted state rooms.

Now, the restaurant. I suppose that Parana is a nice phonetic attempt at spelling "Pirhanna", but you must at least be close for spell check to work. The waiters are made to wear the ridiculous cowboy uniforms that have become mandatory for Chinese Brazilian BBQ's. There was a large selection of meats and one of them was very, very good. One selection was small pieces of beef wrapped in bacon. It was almost as good as the same done with chicken. Speaking of chicken, I was a little disappointed to see how much unidentifiable chicken parts were presented on the BBQ swords.

In addition to the swords, like most restaurants of this style, a buffet is available. This particular buffet is lacking in all areas except for a very nice dinner roll. The wait-staff is friendly enough and the "cowboys" come by bearing their swords frequently enough to not let you get too hungry between servings.

Comments/Recommendations: The novelty of this restaurant is enough to bring you there one time, but it quickly wears off. There are three items on their swords that is worth the wait, but you can quickly pass on most everything else. Even their cooked banana and pineapple could be better. Again, the best part of the Parana is that it is in the bow of a ship.

Rating: 2 Fries

Roma's Bar & Grill, Shekou

Name: Roma's Bar & Grill, Shekou
City: Shekou, Shenzhen, China
Address: At the back of Taizi Hotel. Taizi Rd. Shekou

Website: unknown

Cuisine: steaks, varied

Critique: The convenient location of Roma's is one of the selling points of this delightful little restaurant. I was impressed with the friendliness of the staff and the decor/ambiance. The menu, while not extensive, did provide a generous selection of steaks. It also had a small Italian, Tex-Mex and pizza selection. The tables were covered with paper and each had a small cup of crayons for the kiddies (or creative grownups).

I haven't had particularly good luck getting a steak cooked the way I want or expect, but I was pleasantly surprized to find my medium-well steak actually medium well. The baked potato was not over or under cooked and had an American selection of toppings, including real bacon bits.

Comments/Recommendations: I truly recommend the ribeye steak with baked potato. However, I want comment on the child appropriateness of Roma's. Each table, in addition to the crayons, is also decorated with a nice candle dripped bottle of some sort. The bottle is extremely unstable and can turn over at the slightest knock. When the bottle on my table turned over, it drenched me in hot wax. It covered my hand, my shirt, and my plate, not to mention the wall behind me. Accidents do happen, although I was just a tad dissapointed with the management who offered nothing in the way of compensation. I'll readily agree that they didn't "have" to do or offer anything, but the hot wax treatment did tend to ruin my evening.

Rating: 3 Fries

Amigos Tex-Mex, Shekou

Name: Amigos Tex-Mex
City: Shekou, China
Address: On the square at Sea World in Shekou, next to Amazan BBQ.

Website: unknown

Cuisine: Tex-Mex and varied

Critique: Amigos tries hard and the waiters/waitresses are friendly. The outdoor setting is delightful. The food is so-so. If you eat an early dinner or at lunch, the restaurant will be family-friendly enough, but any later and the party goers abound. The restaurant has a huge menu ranging from chimichangas to chicken enchiladas, but, it was just a 'half a bubble off' when it comes to real good Tex-Mex. It is certainly an acceptable substitute if you haven't had your Mexican food in a very long time.

Comments/Recommendations: I can say that the chicken chimichanga was a delightful surprise on the menu, but it didn't meet my expectation when it arrived at the table. I don't think I can even put my finger on what the problem was, but it just didn't taste "right". Now, it wasn't bad, but it just wasn't "right".

Rating: 2 Fries