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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lawrence, Kansas: A Pleasant Surprise - Good Indian, Decent Prices

Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar
947 New Hampshire Street, Ste 120
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 840-0855
Prices: $$$$

We have been wanting to try Bayleaf since they opened, but had not until tonight. The food was ready as promised, 20 minutes exactly after I ordered on Eat Street. The place was empty at 5:35 on a Saturday, a bit odd, but the friendly server gathered our order post haste, listing the contents by memory exactly as we ordered them ... meat samosas - check, beef vindaloo - check, palak paneer - check, plain and garlic naan - check. She handed me my bag and I left.

With the $7 Eat Street discount, the tab came to just a tad under $32, not bad. But $39 for one appetizer, two entrees and some bread - no soup or salad, no drinks, no dessert - without the coupon it would not be a great value.

The Meat Samosas ($4.95), savory pastries with a chicken and vegetable filling and two dipping sauces (a red sweet and sour and a mild green) were big and good. The Naan (Plain - $2 and Garlic $3) were large and as fresh and good as any I have eaten.

My wife's Palak Paneer ($10.95) with fresh spinach and homemade curd cheese in a mildly spicy sauce was also as good as any we had during my four months in India. The Beef Vindaloo ($14.95) had plenty of beef and a few potatoes in a tomato and onion curry that was delicious. Both the palak paneer and beef vindaloo came with basmati rice, but $14.95 for a medium size curry and rice is a bit on the pricey side. At $8.95 and $11.95, they would have been a much better value, but the Indian restaurants in Lawrence seem to think they can get away with charging $15 for a curry and rice, so they do. That is why we do not eat at the two Indian restaurants (across the street from each other) in town all that often.

OK, maybe I am spoiled, but having eaten similar, but much better, meals for two in India for $10-$12 max, I find it difficult to shell out nearly 4 times as much stateside. If it were not for the $7 Eat Street discount, we probably would not have bothered, but I am glad we did because the food at Bayleaf was very good. Having lived in England for three years and traveled India for four months, I am used to good Indian food at reasonable prices. The Indian restaurants in Lawrence need to drop their dinner prices if they hope to fill their tables, which they are not doing currently.

I am basing my rating on a dinner for two for $31.50 (7 rating  - with coupon), not $38.50 (5 rating  - without coupon) ...

CombatCritic Gives Bayleaf Indian Restaurant 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17 - 650,000+ Views A Year

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube

Read Chris S.'s review of Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Bayleaf Indian Restaurant and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Title: Lawrence, Kansas: A Pleasant Surprise - Good Indian, Decent Prices

Key Words: Bayleaf Restaurant, Bayleaf, bay, leaf, bar, Indian, India, curry, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lawrence, KS: You Can Get Anything You Want At "Alces" Restaurant ... "Moooooooose"

Blue Moose Bar And Grill
525 Wakarusa Drive. Suite D
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone number: (785) 727-4999
Prices: $$$$

My friends, yes I actually have friends, had told me wonderful things about Blue Moose, but when I read the reviews on yelp*, I had my doubts. Lawrence is not all that big, but we rarely get over to West Lawrence, so having dropped off a UHaul in the area, we decided to give the Moose a shot (pun intended).
We were told there was a 30-minute wait, but there were a slew of empty tables, at least seven or eight on the side of the restaurant we could see alone. How can there be 25 people waiting in the lobby and a 30-minute wait with so many empty tables?
The menu is eclectic - "American New - in metrosexual speak, with choices from Mexico (empanadas, fish/carne asada tacos, quesadillas), Italy (pasta, flat bread pizza), Asia (wontons, curry, and America (burgers, steaks, chicken). The decor is modern and tasteful, but cold with the stone and wood surfaces that have become so cliché these days.

We decided to sit at the bar to speed things up, but the bartender pretty much ignored us for 15-20 minutes after serving us our drinks and giving us menus. Now I have seen firsthand why they have only garnered 2.5 stars so far. Our order was finally taken by his assistant and our starter, the Beef Empanadas ($7.99), arrived shortly thereafter. They (3) were actually quite good with a deep fried cornmeal exterior and a beef, cheese and poblano pepper interior, accompanied by an avocado salsa and sour cream. They were crispy, not greasy, and the flavors quite pleasing to the pallet ... Olé!

My wife's Build Your Own "Mac N Cheese" ($9.99) with sauteed mushrooms and steamed broccoli (99¢/ea) were topped with garlic butter breadcrumbs and came with a ciabatta in an interesting bowl that presented the dish rather nicely. I thought it was a bit bland, but my pasta loving Italian thought it was quite good ... Mama Mia!
Like most restaurants I visit for the first time, I like to see if they get the basics right, so I ordered their Blue Moose Burger ($10.99), medium-well, with sauteed onions and bacon. You can "add a house salad" to an entree for $1.99, but the sandwich menu states: "Sub a 'small' house salad" for $1.99. I found it hard to believe that you could get a "whole" house salad with an entree for $1.99, but you had to substitute your fries (etc.) for a "small" one for the same price, so I asked the beertender. He confirmed my disbelief, telling me that you in-fct have to give up your side in order to get a salad ... and you have to pay an extra $1.99 ... Good Grief!
The burger arrived with fries, sans small salad, but also missing were the sauteed onions I ordered. I do not like bloody meat and medium is about as raw as I will go, but this burger was well done and dry. The flavor was not bad and the patty big enough, but the sauteed onions would have added some much needed moisture had they been where they were supposed to be. The highlight of my meal were the fries, hot and crunchy, not crispy, with a spicy zing that was a pleasant surprise ... Holy Cow!
I was torn ... bad reviews, only a few weeks in business (bugs to work out), 30-minute wait, empty tables, inattentive bartender, decent service, great empanadas, overcooked meat, incomplete order ... Oh My! 
In the end, feeling overly liberal - with our pending move to the Left Coast - I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt , adding an additional BOMB or two (1-star on a 5-star scale - rounding up). Normally, a somewhat lackluster performance such as this would result in 4-5 Bombs, but I decided to increase their "middle of the road" yelp* average by just a tad because I see some potential ... You're Welcome!

CombatCritic Gives Blue Moose Bar And Grill 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... Ore Bombs Are Better ... SHAZAAM!
Six Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17 - 650,000+ Views A Year

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube

Read Chris S.'s review of Blue Moose Bar And Grill on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Lawrence, KS: You Can Get Anything You Want At "Alces" Restaurant ... "Moooooooose"

Key Words: Blue Moose Bar and Grill, Blue Moose, blue, moose, bar, grill, Lawrence, Kansas, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, American, new, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"