Arts Blog: Tei-An for Soba, Sashimi, Sushi and Sake

September 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Lisa Collins

Soba noodles are a traditional meal in Japan and are not only delicious, but contain antioxidants and have less calories than regular noodles. The noodles are made out of buckwheat flour and are served either cold with various dipping sauces, or hot in a soup.

Tei-An, a new restaurant in One Arts Plaza with an upscale Zen vibe, is the perfect place to go in Dallas if you want to slurp up some soba, or sample any of the other Japanese delicacies featured on their menu.

The restaurant is decorated in a palette of soothing grays and features a number of gorgeous river-like fountains and water trickling over rocks. Upstairs, the serenity of Tei-An’s rooftop lounge contrasts with the vibrance of a spectacular view of the Dallas skyline. The food is just as breathtaking.

Our meal started off with a white seaweed salad, which is one of the most interesting things I have ever eaten. I have had the more common green seaweed before, but white seaweed is completely different. The texture is much lighter and tastes like it came right out of the ocean. The dressing on the salad was citrusy and overall it was a light and delicious salad that was the perfect start to our meal.

Next we were served a plate of edamame and fava beans, yellowtail tuna sashimi that was incredibly buttery and smooth, and a California roll. The roll was really more of a stack than a roll, which made for a different experience. We also had Japanese sake served in little wooden boxes.

I then tried the Udon noodles, which is another traditional Japanese noodle but is thicker and made out of wheat flour. The noodles itself are delicious, but when I agreed to have “fish flakes” added to mine, the flakes started eerily melting and moving around in the noodles and infused the entire dish with a strong fishy taste and smell.

We then tried a sampling of the hot soba noodles served in a soup-like curry sauce. Curry is not a traditional Japanese flavor and this was the only dish I had that incoporated a fusion with another culture.

Finally, the simplest yet most delicious course of the meal: the cold soba noodles. These noodles are served on a flat, woven plate and accompanied by four dipping sauces: walnut, sesame, pecan, and soy. Although the sauces added more flavor to the noodles, I thought they were delicious just plain as well.

Afterwards, our waitress brought us the water that the noodles were cooked in and told us to pour it into what was left of our favorite dipping sauce and to drink the mixture. I thought that was a unique and resourceful idea! The resulting concoction (I chose pecan) was watery with pieces of nut floating around and was not especially tasty.

To finish off the meal, we were all served a cup of buckwheat tea, which was a refreshing end to a delicious traditional Japanese meal.

Luby’s Cafeteria Finds Upside in Down Economy

May 6, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Laura May

Luby’s Inc. restaurant is not immune to the failing economy. However, there is one bit of good news for the company–its culinary contract services doubled income in one year.

The Houston-based cafeteria chain was scarcely profitable in the fiscal second quarter, which ended Feb. 11. The company earned just $146,000 on revenues of $70.7 million in 2009, compared to the $286,000 it earned for the same quarter in 2008.

Revenues for the latest quarter fell 2.7 percent from a year ago. The company was able to reduce its operating expenses. Payroll and cost of food all decreased compared to this time last year.

The company suffered from an increase in opening costs. $340,000 was spent to open new prototype locations. Last year, the company spent only $22,000 on opening new locations. The company attributes the increase in cost to new prototype stores that are being built as the future in cafeteria experience.

The infancy of the new prototype stores means the company cannot accurately predict whether the change in store type will be successful.

On the investors conference call held on March 18, Christopher Pappas, president and chief executive officer, gave an update on various promotions the restaurant ran in order to increase traffic:

“Based on feedback from our customers and operators and general managers and in conjunction with our analysis of the results, we believe that continuing to provide product innovation and communicating value offerings to our customers will start to drive sales,” he said.

Sales at the 117 restaurants open a year or more fell 3.2 percent in the second quarter. The company has also recently fielded customer complaints about the cost of food at the restaurant. In response, Luby’s created special deals to entice customers back to the restaurant.

The company ran a half-price promotion on its signature dish, the LuAnn Platter, a smaller portion of an entrée and two side items. Also, a kids-eat-free program on select days of the week.

“With respect to sales, we expect same-store sales to continue the current negative trend for the remainder of fiscal 2009, and we anticipate that recent sales pressures in our small and midsize markets could negatively impact our sale further,” Scott Gray, CFO, said during the conference call.

The company attributes the growing culinary contract services to the sagging economy. It is becoming cheaper for hospitals and other companies to outsource their food needs, instead of paying all the cost of food and labor.

Despite the grim outlook, investors rallied behind the stock to pull it up $.58, ending the day at $4.62.

Arts Beat: The Art of Brunch & Breakfast

April 19, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Spring is in the air, and there’s nothing better than – having slept in – sitting outside on a patio enjoying breakfast … Or lunch. Brunch is undoubtedly my favorite meal of the week, and I’d guess the same for most Dallas denizens. Most restaurants offer a special brunch menu, and some of the items are like works of art (except better, because you can eat them).

The cardinal items on a brunch menu are a) pancakes and b) eggs and omelets. Yesterday I went to Original Pancake House, where the pancakes aren’t “International,” but darn good anyway. Open until 2 p.m. daily, it’s clearly a brunch expert. Almost everything on the menu came with a side of “three delicious buttermilk pancakes.” Their omelets were massive, and so were the plates of French toast. I opted for a “smaller appetite” dish of one scrambled egg with three blueberry pancakes. Good thing I downsized, or else I probably would have eaten another stack of those fluffy, powdered sugar dusted flapjacks. And just take a look at a picture of their Dutch Baby pancake. Mmmm. Poor IHOP…

For eggs, go to La Duni. If you haven’t tried the Huevos Finos – poached eggs with Gruyere cheese and Hollandaise sauce in a piping hot popover – prepare to be enlightened. The prettiest presentation is the homemade yogurt & granola. The granola is perfectly packaged, and the plate comes with honey in a shot glass and a side of bananas and strawberries.

Other brunch faves: Beignets at Toulouse, frittatas at Penne Pomodoro, sandwiches at Bread Winners, and the buffet at Blue Mesa.

They’re just more reasons to look forward to the weekend.

–posted by Jaimie Siegle