Friday, July 16, 2010

Irvine trip Part 1 (Kula revolving sushi bar and The Balcony)

BF and I had some things to take care of in Orange County and decided to stick around for the day and revisit some old haunts. It's been a while since we've taken a trip to OC, as most of our road trips have taken us further: to downtown Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, Rowland Heights, etc.

Kula Sushi Bar
2700 Alton Parkway, Suite 133

Irvine
, CA 92606
(949) 553-0747

For dinner, we wanted to go to Kula again. Kula has a revolving conveyer belt running throughout the entire restaurant. It's open all day; no break between lunch and dinner. It always seems to be pretty busy. Every plate is $2. We previously visited Kula here. I noticed on this trip that were quite a few new items.  This is the list of sushi plates they serve:

The list itself looks kind of small, but it's a pretty big variety. It seems like every time I looked up, there was a different dish passing by me.  Every time I come here, I want to get everything passing by me. I love the $2 pricing per plate.  I like this place more than BF. He doesn't think the raw fish plates are that great. I like this place because it offers a lot of things I like: clams, octopus, shrimp, mochi.

Here is the plates we ended up getting:

Seared scallop:

Conch:

Langosteen:

Spicy crunchy tuna:

Spicy tuna roll:

Ebi (sweet shrimp with deep fried head)

Heart clam:

Tako (Octopus)

Crunchy Salmon roll

Some sort of spicy roll:

Chicken gyoza

Salmon roll:

Crispy rice topped with crab

Uni

Spicy tuna on top of crispy rice

Kula Sushi on Urbanspoon

The Balcony
2710 Alton Pkwy, Ste 215,
Irvine,
CA 92606

(949) 387-0888

After dinner, we went to The Balcony for dessert. I've become obsessed with snowflake shaved ice, which is a very fine shaved ice that tastes like ice cream. Condensed milk is mixed with the ice before it is shaved, creating a fluffy sweet ice that also melts a lot slower than traditional shaved ice. I've been trying to find places closer than Class 302 and Pa Pa Walk that serve the shaved ice. I found out that The Balcony serves it as well. The Balcony is a taiwanese bar/restaurant. Their dinner menu consists mainly of shabu shabu, which I thought was weird since shabu shabu isn't Taiwanese. They also offer some Taiwanese snacks and of course the snowflake shaved ice.

Though they offer quite a few shaved ice toppings, the one I like the best, mango shaved ice, is not offered.

They have  strawberry and mango one, but it didn't taste the same. The strawberries tasted really sour when mixed with the mangoes, syrup and condensed milk. The shaved ice here is very much like the one at Class 302, coming out in sheets. It tasted good, but not as good as the one at Class 302. I also thought the quantity was a lot less.

Class 302 is still my favorite spot for snowflake ice. It's the cheapest spot I've been to and their mango shaved ice has sweet mango pieces and mango syrup in the actual ice. I was also surprised to see that the shaved ice here actually melted faster, whereas it really didn't melt at all when I went to Class 302 and Pa Pa Walk.

We also got some sweet potato fries:

These were just okay to me. I did like that they had sour plum powder sprinkled on it.

Fried stinky tofu:

The fermented taste was not strong enough. This dish was disappointing.

Finally, we got another shaved ice since we love the snowflake shaved ice so much. This was further proof that the quantities here are smaller than Class 302, since BF and I were able to polish off both shaved ices. This one we got with the more traditional toppings of mochi balls and red beans. While I normally love the traditional toppings, I've found that I don't enjoy it as much on the snowflake ice. Since the snowflake ice is already flavored with condensed milk, the toppings seem too sweet. The Taiwanese shaved ice I grew up with had no flavor in the ice, so it worked better that.

Here is the menu:

We went to quite a few other places in the area, but I'll have to cover that in another post.

Balcony Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

 

6 Responses to “Irvine trip Part 1 (Kula revolving sushi bar and The Balcony)”

  1. 1

    Faye — July 16, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    $2 a plate!!! Wow!! That’s a great price ! Esp for the scallop and fresh shrimp right?! Sigh – why can’t SD have something like that :(
    Is there a place in SD that has that super fine shaved ice? HOW GREAT does that sound right now in this scorching weather???!!
    Great post!

  2. 2

    tigerfish — July 17, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

    Enjoy chomping!
    Do they just have one-color (green) plate for their sushi and it is $2 flat? In some sushi places, the red plates (sushi with seafood) are usually more expensive…definitely more than $2.

  3. 3

    Kirbie — July 20, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

    I dont know of anywhere in SD that has the snow shaved ice. I think it’ll be a while..there are only about 4 places I know of that have it: 3 in LA and this one in Irvine. I guess you need a special machine to make it.

  4. 4

    Kirbie — July 20, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

    It’s $2 flat for all the plates, which is really nice!

  5. 5

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