Archive for March, 2008

Kobè Japanese Steakhouse (Columbus, OH)

Last night I had the opportunity to try out the newest Japanese steakhouse in town, Kobè. I was fortunate enough to have some friends along who gave their valuable insight as well. From the moment you walk into the lobby of Kobè you get the feeling of poshness with a lot of contemporary flash. Granite pillars and walls of cascading water give Kobè an ambiance of luxury.

I had to wait a few minutes for my party to arrive and while the actual waiting area in the lobby was somewhat cramped the bar area was large and spacious inviting you to step in and grab a cocktail while you wait on your table. We had set up call ahead reservations and we were seated within about 5 minutes of our party’s arrival. Most walk in customers without reservations were told an average of 30 minutes wait from what I overheard.

Like most Japanese style steakhouses you are initially offered a warm towel to cleanse your hands from the days grime (if you haven’t done so already) and then it was on to the drink orders. I like to drink water when I visit these types of places. It helps clear the palette to allow you to enjoy different tastes and it isn’t very filling which is a good thing as you usually get a lot of food with these style restaurants. I did try the Apple Martini (Appletini) which was complimentary with my meal and I must say it was very good, much like drinking a sour Apple Jolly Rancher.

Perusing the Kobè Menu I was initially struck by sticker shock. Most of the entrees listed were easily two to three times higher than competing Japanese style steakhouses. After reading some of the descriptions however, I decided on the granddaddy of the signature dishes known as the Kobè Treasure. For $65.00 you get lobster, scallops and Wagyu Kobè steak which comes from New Zealand and is touted as “the finest steak available in the Western Hemisphere”. With a description like that you just have to try it even if it does mean eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week.

Typical of hibachi style steakhouses our meals came with Japanese onion soup which was flavorful with bits of mushroom and onion and a house salad with a creamy onion dressing both of which were served promptly. The presentation of the food was great fun to watch and if you have never been to a teppanyaki style restaurant I highly recommend doing it at least once. The chef comes to your table and cooks your food on a flat griddle built into your table. The knife skills these chefs possess are simply amazing and watching them slice and dice your food is one of the main attractions. Onion volcanoes, fireball displays, flying shrimp tails and twirling acrobatic eggs are just some of the things you can witness here.

Once the food started hitting the plate it was go time. The shrimp appetizer came first followed by the vegetables which included mushrooms, zucchini, squash and onion. Normally dipping sauces are included at these type of restaurants and Kobè was no exception. Trying each item as they arrived on my plate in each sauce I found that I liked the seafood and vegetables more in the ginger style sauce and the meat items more in the creamy onion sauce. As we consumed our vegetables the other items started to arrive including my lobster, scallops, Wagyu Kobè steak, which I had been anxiously awaiting, and a final topping of grilled bean sprouts complemented the meal. The lobster was well cooked but not overdone and the scallops were absolutely wonderful being soft and not chewy.

When my steak, which I had prepared medium rare, hit the plate I was all over it. I first tried it naked with no dipping sauces applied and the texture was absolutely velvety. It was almost creamy and texture wise it was probably one of the best steaks I have tried. The taste however was marred by the cooking sauces which I believe included soy and others. At $8/oz I want to taste steak and I just didn’t get that. It was even more apparent to me when I tried my wife’s normal fillet mignon ($30 cheaper) and couldn’t tell a taste difference between the two. While there was a huge texture difference and mine was definitely a superior cut of beef I just can’t justify the price difference for the same taste. Perhaps if the Wagyu Kobè steak was grilled in the backyard the superior marbling and texture would show its worth.

At an average of $30-$35 a plate with the top end hitting $65 Kobè is probably not some place you are going to eat every night, once a week, or even once a month but if you are celebrating an event or just want to splurge on a night on the town Kobè may be your place.

Dell E248WFP 24" Flat Panel Monitor

Dell E248WFP 24″ Flat Panel Monitor

I just received my Dell E248WFP 24″ flat panel monitor today and I could hardly wait to get it home and hooked up.  Upon opening the rather unassuming Dell box and unpacking the monitor my first thought was that I was going to need some more space on my desk.  This thing is absolutely huge compared to my current 17″ flat panel.  Speaking of which I had always thought my 17″ Samsung Syncmaster 730B flat panel was pretty decent but there is simply no comparison in function, display quality and gaming response now that I have experienced the sheer sexyness that is the Dell E248WFP.

Games are so much more vivid than they appeared on the Samsung and the text is extremely sharp and clear.  My Dell D820 Latptop has a WUXGA scren running 1920 x 1200 resolution and I had always felt cramped coming to my gaming computer running 1280 x 1024.  There doesn’t seem like there would be much of a difference but being able to fit a 1280 x 1024 screen in just the right half of the 24″ Dell E248WFP opens up whole new worlds in multitasking.  Running at the E248WFP’s native 1920 x 1200 I’m able to have multiple full size browser windows open without having to hide windows or allows me to run games like World of Warcraft in window mode with plenty of room to spare to view webpages or documents or click through song lists.

The Dell E248WFP features a 5ms response time and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. HDCP is no problem for this monitor and it features both an integrated DVI-D and a legacy VGA D-sub connector. Dell’s Truecolor Tecnology offers richer, life-like imagery that has more accurate color representation and better tones and hues. Reds, greens and blues are deeper and more vibrant.  My only complaint about this feature list is that a USB port is not standard fare.  Some people will not like the fact that speakers are not included but in my opinion this monitor is so large that adding speakers would put it over the top for most desktops.

The best part of this outstanding monitor is the price.  At around $450 MSRP this flat panel is perfect for home or even small business use however Dell currently has them on sale for an absolute steal at $379 making this a true score.

Website Design Update Complete

The website was getting pretty stale and I hadn’t really updated it in a couple of years so I decided it was time to do a redesign. I’ve added some functionality like my new Rogue Reviews blog which I’ll use to share my experiences on things like movies I’m watching, restaurants I’m visiting, games I’m playing etc… I’ll even have a couple of my friends posting some of their reviews on various things.

There are still a few pages on the site that need updating but I’ll get to them quickly. I’ve been learning a lot about Cascading Style Sheets and I’m happy for the oportunity to put that new information to use updating the older HTML pages. It is taking some time to get it all straight but once finished it will be much easier to update.

–Digital Rogue