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Many of the very original readers of the blog will be familiar with Dining by the Alphabet. It's where we started off with Letter A. Chose a restaurant that begin with A, then went on to B, then C, and so on. Each restaurant was graded on a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the highest. Last we left off, we completed Letter V and by basic preschool education that means we are now at Letter W!

For Letter W, we head to 1601 W Douglas where Wichita Fish Company has been located at for many years.

According to their website, they have the largest variety of seafood in the state of Kansas. If you are a seafood lover and have tried seafood in and around the area, chances are you've already eaten our seafood since we provide most of the seafood to local area restaurants.

They are open Monday 11 am - 7 pm, Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 8 pm and closed on Sundays. They also have a location in Haysville. For all the information on Wichita Fish Company including their menu, head over to

On this Dining by the Alphabet adventure, I was joined by my friend Kate who has previously been to Wichita Fish Company as have I. She's a first time reviewer on the Dining by the Alphabet series.

We went on a Friday early evening and was able to beat the dinner crowd before it started getting busy. One time I'd recommend not going is on Friday's during Lent. I went once and literally a line out of the door.

Walking in they had a huge assortment of items to choose from on their menu. From the tilapia to the ahi tuna to the mahi-mahi, I really didn't know what to choose from. So I asked the lady at the counter what the most popular item to order was. She recommended me the Southern Style Catfish Fillet. I went ahead and ordered that along with some (fried) calamari rings.

Kate went with the Cajun Catfish which was off of the "From the Grill" menu along with some fries because she doesn't believe in eating vegetables from a place whose specialty is fried and serves everything in to go boxes. She also ordered a side of popcorn shrimp.

From the point of ordering our food to receiving our food, it took around 15-20 minutes. Everything looked really delectable when it arrived.

Starting with Kate's meal She thought the catfish was seasoned really well. Not every bite was overly spicy which she liked. She orders Cajun catfish basically everywhere that serves it and she feels that Wichita Fish Company's is the best so far. She was a huge fan of the hush puppies and felt they were DELICIOUS. It's a must that I type that with all caps. The popcorn shrimp was better than average but not "to die for". She really liked the aioli sauce served with her meal. I second the popcorn shrimp comments. They were good but not something I'd brag about to people. Her one complain was that they put the grilled catfish on the fries which caused the fries to be really soggy.

Moving on to my meal, my main focus was on the actual catfish. Fries were nothing really special; I'm not particularly a fan of hush puppies; and coleslaw is coleslaw to me. I'll eat it all the time but I have no major opinion on it unless its fancy like jalapeno coleslaw. After a few bites in, I knew I really liked it. The breading was done so lightly that the catfish was still pretty fluffy. It broke apart easily that made it not taste so "bready" as with many other places. Sometimes when eating fried catfish, it taste so fried that it sits heavy on you. Such was not the case with the catfish filet at Wichita Fish Company. The aioli sauce was a fantastic condiment to dip it in. I would go ahead and say this was probably the best catfish I've had in a restaurant in town.

The calamari rings were similar to the popcorn shrimp in the fact that while they were good, it was nothing overly special. Would I order it again? Yes as I'm a fan of calamari.

Overall the food was really exceptional in both of our opinions. For the two meals and two extra sides, it cost around $34 which isn't bad for a Friday evening dinner. It's an even better value considering the quality of the meal we had.

The service was almost non-existent after we got our food. They take your order, bring you your order and that was about it. If you ordered a water or iced tea, they had pitchers at a table you could serve yourself. It's almost to be expected at a place like that to keep overhead low. The service wasn't bad at all but as Kate said it also was not overly exceptional.

In closing, we both left as big fans of Wichita Fish Company.

That brings us to rating time. Kate decided to give Wichita Fish Company a 4.5 out of 5. After sleeping on it and tossing and turning on what to give. I too gave them a 4.5 which gives Wichita Fish Company a final rating of 4.5.

From the food and the value of it all, I would easily recommend Wichita Fish Company to anybody. It's not the big upscale place that Newport Grill or Bonefish Grill are. It's a low key, hidden gem as their site says, that anybody can go to and feel comfortable eating at in whatever they are wearing.

I look forward to going back again soon..............just not on a Friday during Lent.

Lastly, I'd like to thank Kate on joining me for Letter W. Next up is Letter X, that is if there is an X. If not, then we move on to Letter Y.

Happy Dining!

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One question I always get asked is, how did the Dining by the Alphabet go? Then I realize I’m still five letters away from finishing. The last time we left off, it was Letter U with Usuloteco which is still up and running. So by basic English, that means letter V is next. Now there are not many V restaurants in Wichita so the pickings were slim. I decided to settle for a place I could grub at and even grab a drink.

Il Vicino
2132 N Rock Rd
Wichita, KS 67206
(316) 636-2121

Il Vicino is a wood oven pizza restaurant located in Bradley Fair at 21st and Rock. They also have a location in the College Hill area at Douglas and Oliver (at the Southeast corner). They are most known for their pizzas but also serve pastas, salads, sandwiches, among other items.

I get the word “Il” doesn’t start with the letter “V” but for the long time Wichita By E.B. readers, you’ll know that words like, The, Il, El do not count. For those not fluent in Italian, let me translate the restaurant name for you. Il Vicino translates to The Neighbors.

For the return of “Dining by the Alphabet”, my official guest dinner for Letter V was Taylor. She’s a first time Dining by the Alphabet-or (is that a word?). She’s a fan of all sorts of foods and this was her first time ever visiting Il Vicino so she was rating this restaurant with a clean slate.

We went during the week in the evening and the place was half full of other hungry folks. It does get busier on weekend evenings. Inside, the restaurant has a very polished and upscale look but don’t let that deter you. It’s not super upscale and you could easily show up in jeans if you wanted. I’ve been in before with shorts on. Regarding seating, the place fits just under 90 people and has a very nice patio outside that seats 50.

Upon our arrival, we had a nice gentleman kindly open the door for us where we were warmly greeted by a couple other employees standing at the register. Their menu is posted right as you walk in. (For reference you can also check out their menu here: Note for those who care, any sandwich or pizza on their menu can be ordered gluten free. After scanning through the menu, you can go up to the register and order your food and beverages and sit where ever there is an open table.

Insalata Cesare
All their food items are numbered on the menu. I went with the #4 which is the Pollo E Pumante (Garlic oil, mozzarella, roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, asiago, fresh basil) and ordered it with light cheese. Taylor had the #8 which is the Angeli (Sweet balsamic marinara sauce, mozzarella, roasted chicken, Portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, gorgonzola, fresh rosemary). We also ordered a couple salads. I went with #29 which is the Insalata Il Vicino (Roasted chicken, egg, tomatoes, gorgonzola, artichoke hearts, walnuts, on romaine, house vinaigrette). I felt like I was Italian when I ordered the salad as it sounds so cool rolling off the tongue. Repeat after me……..”Insalata Il Vicino” Taylor had #30 which is the Insalata Cesare (Traditional cesare dressing (blended anchovies, egg, fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon, Dijon) tossed with romaine, croutons, and asiago.) On top of that we had a water, I ordered a big beer and Taylor had a glass of wine. Please note wine and beer are the only adult beverages they serve. They do not serve liquor.

Insalata Il Vicino

We grabbed a table after ordering and our server quickly brought us our drinks. One thing we both noticed is the service is very friendly. The speed throughout the night was well above average. Taylor noted the service was great and the waiter did a good job. Our waters were never empty.

Our salads were quick to come out. Taylor said her salad was awesome. The croutons and dressing made the salad. The Caesar dressing had a little zing to it which she liked. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed my salad. It was a nice break away from the monotony of the regular ranch house salad you get at many restaurants. The artichoke hearts and house vinaigrette really hit the spot.

Hot oil sauce....and beer
Not too long after the pizzas came out. The pizzas come in a 10 inch size and a 6 inch size. We stuck with the 10 inch size and after the salads we just devoured; the larger pizzas were probably a little too big for dinner. My pizza was fantastic. It was not greasy and has the very clean and fresh feeling when you eat it. Taylor and I were both big fans of the thinner crust. I am not much of a crust eater when it comes to pizza. If I don’t have anything to dip it in, then I leave it to the side unless we are having family dinner at my parents’ house and my mom loves to eat the crust of a pizza so she’ll eat mine. That or she hates food to go to waste and takes one for the team and eats it for me. Fortunately Il Vicino has this hot
oil that’s placed at every table that you can put on your pizza or use it to dip your crust in. It’s great and one of my favorite condiments in any Wichita restaurant. After doing some research, it’s made within Il Vicino at their New Mexico location and is shipped to other Il Vicino’s. Many stores have tried to make it but can’t match it. Moving on, Taylor felt her pizza was ok. The two bright spots for her pizza were the crust and the balsamic marinara sauce. At the price of $10 for the pizza, she thought the pizza would have been best if she had shared it with someone else.

#4 Pollo E Pumante
#8 Angeli

Overall we were very pleased with dinner. The most outstanding part of Il Vicino besides the food was the service which is always very important in my book. Plus it should be noted the cleanliness of the place. They really take good care of the establishment from the inside of the building even to the restrooms.

That brings us to rating time. Taylor decided to give Il Vicino a 3.9 out of 5. I decided to give Il Vicino a 4.25. That gives Il Vicino a final score of 4.08. As always, anything over a 4 is a great score for Wichita By E.B. and that means a definite recommendation from us.

Compared to other pizza places in Wichita, this is totally different than my other favorites. The top 3 pizza places I’m a fan of in no particular order are Ziggy’s, Picasso’s and Il Vicino.

I would like to thank Taylor for joining me on the return of Dining by the Alphabet as I look to finish up the final letters.

That ends Letter V putting us with only four letters left to end this three year adventure. Next up is Letter W. Any suggestions anyone? There are a ton to choose from!

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Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza - Bradley Fair on Urbanspoon

Well college basketball has kept me busy and I think I’m finally over the Shocker basketball loss so I can now write this up for you all. Letter U……many of you by now know where we want so let’s get on to business.

Usuluteco Restaurant
1714 East Northern Street  Wichita, KS 67216
(316) 409-3820

Usuluteco Restaurant is what I believe to be the only Salvadoran restaurant in Wichita. They serve a wide range of authentic Salvadoran food. Curious what exactly is Salvadoran food? I wikipedia’d it and this is what I found:

Usuluteco is located on the south side of Wichita near Hydraulic and Pawnee. It’s kind of off the beaten path so make sure you Google map it or something. Upon walking inside the place wasn’t too busy. Inside the building, there is 4 free standing tables that seat four to six people, 4 booths that seat the same and 11 seats at the bar.

The departments of El Salvador
I was kindly greeted by an older gentleman. Since I was the first person in my group to arrive I striked up a conversation with the man and he told me they’ve been around for about 7-8 years. I asked him where the name Usuluteco came from and he walked me towards a map they had up of El Salvador. Quick history and geography lesson folks. El Salvador is split up into many different departments or as we U.S. citizens could compare it to, “states”. Usulutan is one of them. It’s actually the largest of the departments with a population of 350,000. It was founded in 1865 when all of you were still not in existence….well I have one friend that may have been born at the time. He’s old. Anyways, Usuluteco’ s name derives from that department in El Salvador.

Shortly after, my group of six other friends arrived. One of them is less than a year old so she would not be participating in our authentic dinner. My official guest diner for Usuluteco was Emily. She’s been with us for Marchello’s officially but has joined me in many other dinners.

Once we were all seated, most of the guys at the group ordered a round of beers from Usuluteco’s authentic offerings of Caribbean beers. I went with the Estrella Damn just because it had the word damn in it and I could say it over and over without it being profanity. It said Barcelona on it so I’m assuming it’s from Spain unless there’s a Barcelona, Delaware or Michigan…….

The ever so delicious pupusas.
The one thing I heard is a must order is their pupusas. They are thick handmade stuffed corn tortillas filled with a variety of ingredients. We went with their revueltas pupusas which is filled with ground pork mixed with cheese. It runs $5.85 and comes with three. It’s served with a side of pickled cabbage that you can place on top and hot sauce if you want it. These were absolutely delicious. I share Emily’s sentiment that if you ever go, you must try the pupusas. She said next time she goes she would just get the pupusas. They could make a great meal if you had enough to eat. Can’t stress enough that this was probably the highlight of the meal. By the way, this is not foreshadowing of a bad review.

Pickled cabbage for the pupusas.

Next up was our decision for what to eat. I asked our server who was also the kind older gentlemen what to order and he mentioned the top five items on their Platillos Especiales were their most popular. With that said I went with the “Bistec Encebollado” (top sirloin steak topped with onions, tomato and green peppers). Emily went with the "Pollo Guisada" (sautéed chicken carrots and potatoes). All meals were served with rice, beans and two tortillas. Both meals ran $8.49. All other meals on the Platillos Especiales list were either $8.49 or $9.99.

Bistec Encebollado
Pollo Guisada
After a while, the food came out. Everybody’s first bite was the rice. It was estrella DAMN good rice. Some of the best rice I’ve ever had in a restaurant and if you know me…..I know my rice. Other commented on how delicious the rice was. If the United States ever decided to get rid of the letter N, I’d recommend “R” to double up as letters, “N” and “R” because that would make the rice at Usuluteco really rice. Emily mentioned the chicken in her meal was all dark meat which she was cool with but others might not like. She liked that the food had a Latin flair but wasn’t overpoweringly Mexican…not a lot of cumin or cilantro. She felt that the tortillas were not what she was expecting as they weren’t really thick and not like traditional Mexican tortillas at all. She wasn’t a big fan of the non-pupusa tortilla. Admittedly, I don’t even think I tried their tortilla. Once I started on the rice, I went directly to the top sirloin steak which was mixed in a sauce with onions, tomatoes and green peppers. Really really good stuff. I was able to finish the meal and was stuffed but managed to fit in another pupusa before I threw in the towel.  

Just listening around the table and others opinions on food, they all seemed to enjoy their meals very much and were satisfied with what they ordered. Here are some pics of what others ordered:

Tamales de Pollo
"Chicken Tamale"

Carne Desebrada
"shredded beef with onions and green pepper"

Emily thought the experience was really fun. It would be a great place for a first or second date when you are looking for something unusual or new to try. The food is different enough that would have something fun to talk about. Despite being way out west, she would go again.

I liked how I didn’t have to wait in line in the rain to get food like I did at Chick-Fil-A.

The service was a one man show; well two if you include the cook. Business started to pick up a little as the day went on so service was a wee bit slower. But that’s ma and pop restaurants stay alive with their limited family staffing. So we’ll give them a break in that department. Prices were fair and comparable to what you would spend at any other restaurant for a dinner and an appetizer.

That brings us to rating time. Emily decided to give Usuluteco a 3.75 out of 5. (She did mention had she only eaten the Pupusa and rice it would be closer to 4.25). I, on the other hand, gave them a 4.5 out of 5. I liked it all from the food, friendliness of service to the atmosphere which didn’t feel so corporately owned. I felt for a second there I was in Usulután which I’m not sure if you’ve heard, is the largest department in El Salvador. Some of the best beaches located in El Salvador are in Usulután. End of side note. So that gives Usuluteco Restaurant a final score of 4.125. Anything over a 4 is a great score for Wichita By E.B. I think that’s a definite recommendation from us.

I want to thank Emily and the rest of the gang that joined me. Great times as always.

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Usuluteco Restaurant on Urbanspoon

We're back with the 20th letter of the alphabet: Letter T. It's been roughly 20 days since we last stopped by a restaurant for a Letter.

For Letter T, I wanted to try something a little different: a fresh little spin as I like to call it. The reason for this was because when I asked for suggestions for Letter T, there were two recommendations that came up quite often: Ty's Diner and TJ's Burger House. I couldn't choose between the two so I asked myself, why don't I just go to both? So that's what I did. For Dining By The Alphabet Letter T, we'll be reviewing not just one T but two T's! Exciting, I know!

I recruited the help of four guest diners to join me in reviewing the Ty's and TJ's. Two of them are first time guest diners in Dave and Eric. Another is Ricky who has joined me before but never as an official guest diner and then Tiffany who makes her return after letter's A through I. All four of them will assist me in reviewing each place and giving their score. We won't necessarily be deciding who's better but scoring each restaurant separately and giving them each their own review. There will still be comparisons made just because we're going to two similar places.

In a Wichita By E.B. first, the Super Scientific Scale will consist of not just one, not two, not three, not even four but five reviews! Take into account two T restaurants, my fingers will be quite exhausted by the end of all this.

Let's get to business.

Our first stop was Ty's Diner.
928 W 2nd St N
Wichita, KS 67203
(316) 263-1416

Ty's is located on 2nd street just east of the corner of Seneca and 2nd. They do not have a webpage. Something about a place not having a webpage that puts them behind the times irks me.  Their hours are a little odd with only being open from 11-3 pm which makes it hard at times to make it out there.

We all arrived not too long after they opened and were seated immediately. The restaurant wasn't that busy when we got there. Our plan for each place was to order the same thing. Nearly everybody split a cheeseburger and along with that, we'd all split a full order of fries. Tiffany and I ordered a cheeseburger with everything on it. Erica and Dave ordered a cheeseburger with all the additional toppings on the side and Ricky ordered a cheeseburger plain with ketchup. Everybody ordered their smallest size of fries but our server kindly suggested that if we ordered a whole order of fries, it'd be cheaper and be enough for everybody to split. Well done missy!
Better be using the gloves!
It didn't take long for our burgers to come out. Right when they arrived, our server gave us extra plates at no charge to split our burgers and fries up. We all liked that as well since some restaurants charge an extra plate charge. One of the first comments that came up was how the burger looked like Freddy's. It's a hamburger patty that is flattened and barely had any grease that we could recall. Everybody for the most part liked what they had but I wouldn't say LOVED it. Ricky was a fan but preferred a thicker burger and he didn't find it as filling for a whole burger. Probably the only person who loved it was Tiffany. As for the fries, they were your standard fries that were a bit greasy and needed a little more salt to it. Nobody thought it was a big draw but nobody thought they were horrible either. I was actually going to say, "They are nothing to write home about" but was told I'm using that line too much so if I used it in the context I just did, it doesn't count!

One quality about Ty's that Eric and Dave commented on was the ambience. It was a really good atmosphere inside. The building is a little smaller but still can seat a good number of people. Plus you can see the cooks make your food as the grill is open for all to see. Our food order came out quick. The service was also nice and friendly. Our server ribbed Ricky a little at the start of the lunch, all friendly....... or was it flirty?!?! Who knows!

My personal thoughts on the place? Service was excellent and friendly. Seriously folks, a smile and speedy refills can go A LONG ways! The burger was really good. It's not the thick and juicy type of burger you may be accustomed to at a hole in the wall but it's still delicious. I do agree with Ricky though, it wasn't quite as filling. The fries were your regular run of the mill type fries. The atmosphere as mentioned earlier was excellent. Seemed like a place where everybody knew your name. Would I go there again though? Definitely. It's just that the hours are not too convenient for me.

A whole basket of fries split three ways along with a whole cheeseburger ran everybody around $6-8 not including tip.

I asked around the table their rating for Ty's and this is what I got.
Erica - 3.5
Dave - 3.5
Tiffany - 4
Ricky - 3
Eddy - 4

The final Super Scientific Score Rating: 3.60

We all tabbed out, chatted for a minute and headed over to our next destination. Before that though let me mention if you park behind the Ty's building, there are a lot of trees and birds will poop on your car. Just like Chris Farley said in Billy Madison: "I know from experience.....dude!"

T J's Burger House
1003 W Douglas Ave
Wichita, KS 67213
(316) 269-3770

The back entrance

Does this place look like a Burger House
or a Diner to you?

T J's Burger House (make sure you put the space between the T and J when googling) is located on west Douglas in the Delano district, just east of Seneca as well. The building is much larger and can accommodate quite a few people inside. T J's is open for lunch and dinner. If I can find their hours, I'll modify this portion of the blog. They too don't have a webpage.......ugh!

We arrived and took the back entrance. You can find the entrance off of Douglas but there is also parking in the back. One thing we noticed as T J's had more of a diner type look inside. Not sure why they didn't just call themselves T J's Diner because that would have made sense. We were seated pretty quickly even though they were pretty busy at the time. Our server came up and took our drink orders; she seemed nice but you could tell she had that "I'm busy look" (not in a mean and smug way though).

Everybody ordered something similar. Erica and Dave went with the cheeseburger and a 1/2 order of onion rings. Ricky went with the cheeseburger plain with ketchup and a 1/2 order of fries and then Tiffany and I went with the cheeseburger with a 1/2 order of fries. It took a little longer for our order to come out but that could be attributed to how busy the place was. Drink refills were a little slower too. Once the food did arrive, first comment was on the size of the burger. It was definitely a thicker and juicier burger. Tiffany pointed out the grease on the burger while Ricky tried to play it off. I would later state, "If it can kill you, it's probably good food." Dave liked the size of the burger and his first comment was, "I like it to fit in my mouth." The table went quiet..........

Time to eat. Erica along with others thought the burger packed a lot of flavor. Everybody was given their own basket to eat out of, once again, at no additional charge. Ricky kept going on and on about the burger and how much he liked it. Tiffany wasn't quite a big fan, noting that she liked burgers with less grease and patties that were packed down. Her comparison for T J's was that it was an "upgraded Sonic burger". Dave....well he just kept eating away. The fries, once again, were nothing special. They lacked flavor and needed a little extra seasoning. Dave and Erica really liked their onion rings though.

For the service, as mentioned earlier was a bit slower. We didn't look at what the staffing looked like, just the number of customers that were coming in. Items like refills and the time it took to get our burgers took some time so I wonder what the service is like during lunch time during the weekdays. The atmosphere had a diner/restaurant feel. Erica was the first person to say that Ty's was more to her liking. I would add that Ty's is a bit more "cozy" for a restaurant and you felt more at "home" I suppose. T J's is more open and there's a lot more space. So it's a total matter of opinion.

The prices at TJ's are comparable to what you'd spend on anywhere for a burger or "should spend", I should say. Everybody's ticket for a burger and a 1/2 order of fries or onion rings rang up to between $6-8 not including tip.

My personal opinion, if you value that at all, was I really liked the burger. It should be said though that I like the juicy and large size burgers that really fill you up. I wasn't sold on the fries and the service was forgivable. We waited but it wasn't at time lengths where we would be looking at our watches or cell phones counting the minutes.

Before tabbing out, I should mention that Erica and Tiffany were looking at the malts and shakes being served. They both looked like they would give their left arm for one.

Everybody was then asked for their rating on TJ's and this is what I collected:
Erica - 4
Dave - 4
Ricky - 4
Tiffany - 3
Eddy - 4

That puts TJ's Burger House with a final Super Scientific Scale score of 3.8.

T J's Burger House on Urbanspoon
So if you're comparing TJ's or Ty's, TJ's Burger House just edged Ty's Diner by 2/10's of a point.

I don't think you can go wrong with either place. I loved both burgers; T J's a bit more but liked the ambience and service of Ty's more. Both places have qualities that anybody would love. It's all a matter of preference on the style of burger you'd prefer.

I would like to thank Erica, Tiffany, Dave and Ricky for joining me on Letter T. Only six letters away from completing the first entire installment of Dining by the Alphabet.

Up next is Letter U. Not sure there are even that many U restaurants out there! Otherwise happy dining all and don't forget to check us out daily for the continuing Project Minimum Wage Blog!

The week before Christmas weekend and I wanted to knock out yet another Dining by the Alphabet Letter (yes Microsoft Word, that is a fragment and I don’t care). This time it was Letter S. There were plenty of suggestions of decide from: Such staples as Sumo and Scotch and Sirloin (how's that for alliteration!). I decided against those two because of their popularity especially on the East side of town. Many people have been to them.

I then narrowed down my list to two places. One of them was Savutes but since they are closed on Monday's, we went to our other option.

Sal's Japanese Steakhouse
6829 E Kellogg Dr
Wichita, KS 67207-1509
(316) 682-8880

This is located on the south side of Kellogg just east of Woodlawn. It's next to a bed shop right off the Kellogg frontage road.

Sal's Japanese Steakhouse is mainly known for their hibachi grill similar to Kobe's and Sumo's. I'd say it's probably one of the less popular ones in Wichita. So why not give it a try?

My guest diner for tonight was Melisa. This was her first time being a guest diner. She brought her husband and three children (two, Maggie and Ivie, who decided they would help me in rating this place!). Ivie and Maggie even brought paper and markers to write their notes down. Two others joined us to fill up the hibachi grill and watch the excitement.

We made reservations Monday evening but in reality they were not needed. The place wasn't busy at all so we were seated once our entire party arrived. Our server was quick to bring us out waters once we sat and we don't recall ever having to wait for my water to be refilled.

Throughout the dinner, many "Sumo" comparisons were made especially by two of the girls as that has been the only hibachi grill they've been to. Even when the cook was out, they would say out loud, "This is just like Sumo!". I wonder what was going through the cook's head while they were saying it!

When our server came out to take our order I decided to go with the Filet Mignon and fried rice. Melisa went with the Teriyaki Steak and fried rice. Around the table others ordered Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Steak, and Steak.

Better than any appetizer I could think of
In short time, miso soup came out. I wonder if miso is short for "i love MI SOme soup" cause I do. The miso soup according to Melisa was more flavorful than other places. I seconded the opinion as did some others at the table. Once it was apparent we were finished with our miso soup, our server then brought us the salad with ginger dressing. If you like ginger dressing, you won't be upset here. This is just as good as other places I've been to that offer it like Sumo or Ah-So.

Next up, our cook came out. He looked friendly and gave everybody a warm hello. He did his little pregame performance and made sure he verified everybody's meal. One thing everybody noticed was he was very good with the kids. He never looked annoyed with the kids asking him questions and took it all in stride and tried to make sure they enjoyed it all. Nice touch.

We did the whole shrimp catching and only person, I believe, caught it on the first time. Shrimp catching is when the cook tosses shrimp into the air and you try to catch it in your mouth. I missed mine and it was totally because I lost the shrimp in the light. He threw it directly where a light bulb was facing me so I was blinded. I was set up to fail! After the kids saw me miss, I felt like less of a man. :(

Our cook did all the tricks like flipping bowls into his hat, the onion volcano, tossing shakers in the air and catching it. It's always entertaining if you go to hibachi grills in moderation.

There is something about fire that can hypnotize
the eyes of any child.
Can I use the caption "Rice Rice Baby" again?
We were eating as the show was being put on and getting full as time went by with all the fried rice, cooked veggies, onions, shrimp, etc. A couple people at the table noticed that their little vegetable medley included carrots and potatoes. It's something that was new to us and wasn't bad at all. Melisa loved the fact that they used less garlic in their rice allowing for more flavors to come through other than being overwhelmed like you were preparing for a vampire attack.

Melisa and I each had our steaks cooked spicy. Melisa had to ask since she wasn't sure if she saw it on the menu. She said the chef was precise in preparing it spicy without trying to kill her. She's had it at Sumo before where it is so hot, she cannot eat it. She did mention that it was better than Sumo's since there was seems to be a lot of fat on her meat there. My filet mignon was cooked medium rare and it was delicious. Each bite was very tender and flavorful; by far my favorite part of the meal.

The shrimp with a sauce that was delicious

Filet Mignon and extra stuff. I focused on the filet!

Teriyaki Chicken a friend ordered
 After dinner, they gave everybody little bowls of sherbet. The kids liked it a lot.

For their service, they did everything they were supposed to. Melisa liked how the server slipped in to clear plates and bowls without disturbing us or letting them sit and pile up. Her water was never empty either. As for the cook, he interacted very well with the kids and even giving her two year old pretty much everything they ordered for free. Other places, charge a plate fee or a special charge. They did not at Sal's. I have zero complaints about their service and was happy with everything.

For price, I think some people were kind of expecting it to be a little cheaper than the competition. After browsing around, I noticed that prices between all the hibachi grills in Wichita are about the same with minimal differences in price. Melisa spent $63 without tip for her family of five while I spent $24 without tip. I think both prices included an 8 person gratuity charge. The kid's meals ran $9.95 in case some of you parents are wondering. She mentioned had the meals been $3-5 cheaper, it would have been exceptional on value.

The atmosphere was nice and quiet. Having it not be busy, probably added to that. But even if it was, the place has a calm demeanor to it compared to the east side hibachi grill. Melisa gave extra points for the atmosphere. Being able to carry on a conversation with friends at a table is important and Sal's is conducive for that. I thought the atmosphere was pleasant and didn't put off a pretentious vibe to it. It's a little dark inside but it seems to be that way at most hibachi grills.

It must be mentioned that one person at the table did not like their meal. He said the steak was tough and he would not go again. So take that for what it's worth. Personally I had no problems with the meal at all and loved every bite of it. I did give him a bite of my filet and he enjoyed it much more than what he had.

Overall Sal's is a good place to go with friends or a group of people. It's a good alternative to other hibachi grills that may be busy and I don't think it's one of those places you feel like you have to get all dressed up for.

Review time!

First I should probably post the kid's review.

Maggie's Review

Ivie's Review
I promise that is their handwriting even though it looks similar to mine. Maggie thought the service was fast, the food was very yummy, the soup was sweet, the chef was hilarious, and the water was spilly (because she spilled it on herself). Ivie thought the steak was good and the cook was funny funny. Let me repeat, not just funny but double funny and to end it all, the service was fast.

As for the adult review: For price, Melisa was hoping they would be a little more competitive on price and rated it a 3 noting that taking kids can get expensive. She enjoyed the food and gave it a 4. She mentioned if her stomach had made it, she'd give it a perfect score. She thought the service was perfect. On the Wichita By EB scale, they went back and forth between a 4.5 and 4 and finally went with a firm 4. My sentiments were pretty similar outside of the kids because frankly I don't have kids and don't plan on that anytime soon! My final score for Sal's Japanese Steakhouse was a four. So that puts the final Super Scientific Scale rating at a 4 (out of 5)!

I want to thank Melisa and the family for joining me in Dining by the Alphabet. It was a great and entertaining time.

P.S. - When I got in my car to drive home, there was no one in it but me. As I'm driving, I hear a little girl's voice in the very back. I look back and see no one. It freaked me out! Then I realized I still had toys from Christmas shopping over the weekend. Crisis averted!

Up next is Letter T! The 20th letter of the alphabet! Anybody have suggestions?


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