New Empire--If you happen to drive by Japanese Kitchen (6521 America’s Parkway, 884-8937) in the coming weeks, don't get freaked out by the construction mess and dark windows. The folks at the sushi and teppan restaurant say they'll have rolling closures for about two weeks in June for renovations. You know how Japanese Kitchen is broken into two buildings, separated by a courtyard? First on the to-do list is an expansion of the "new" wing, where the sushi bar currently resides. That'll be followed by a massive gutting and rebuilding of the "old" teppan grill side. When it's business as usual (call to be sure), ask about their Omakase dinners. The Omakase is a traditional Japanese dining experience similar to a multicourse chef's tasting. Japanese Kitchen is one of two Japanese restaurants in town that do it (the other is Noda's in Rio Rancho), with dinner starting at around $35 per person--but the sky's the limit, really. The chef will personally contact you to determine the menu, so reservations--made several days in advance--are a must.
Too Tired to Cook? Try Room Service--Hear me out. I'm not proposing you hole up like Eloise in the Ritz Carlton (although, I'm not condemning that sort of behavior, either). I just keep forgetting to tell you about Yummy Room Service, a homespun "takeout taxi" that delivers hot meals from a select number of local restaurants. For $3.50 service charge and a $10 minimum order, Yummy’s will deliver your food to most places on the Westside, plus Kirtland Air Force Base and Presbyterian Hospital. They hope to expand to East Albuquerque in the near future. Delivery hours are currently limited from 3:30-8:30 p.m., but they will deliver during off-hours if given 24 hours notice.
And what about the food? Nine local restaurants, including the Owl Café, Mariscos Altamar, Mimmo’s Italian Ristorante and Bangkok Café, are diverse enough to keep you from getting take-out burn-out. They've even got a "minibar" with candy and soft drinks and ... a selection of silk leis. Their theme is "take a vacation," after all. Place your order online at www.yummyroomservice.com or call 883-EATS (3287).
Punk Rock Pizza Takes to the Streets--Picking up where La Crêperie Roulante took off, the folks at Punk Rock Pizza (922 Coal SW) have secured a big white trailer and now sell an assortment of personal-sized pizzas, salads and T-shirts to the late-night bar crowd Downtown. It was parked in front of the Launchpad (on Central between Sixth Street and Seventh Street) when I stumbled upon it during its first run last weekend. Even if you're not hungry, the T-shirts--which feature a Circle Jerks-style punk rocker with delivery box in hand and pizza slices for a mohawk--truly kick ass.