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May 23, 2006 05:27 PM

Anything worthy in South Bend, IN?

  • r

I'll be there this weekend. Anything that a hound should check out?

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  1. It's been a while since I've
    been to South Bend, but I
    consider a meal at the LaSalle
    Grill reason enough for a
    return trip as soon as possible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SCUBAchef

      LaSalle Grill is very good. Call ahead for reservations.
      If you do go and eye the lamb chops...

      I've heard good things about the vine.

      My favorite pizza place is Rocco's... totally casual spot. Supposedly the story is that they brought pizza to south bend. I grew up in SB and never had it... went back to visit from Chicago a few months ago and dropped by there... I've been craving it ever since.
      537 N Saint Louis Blvd
      South Bend, IN 46617
      (574) 233-2464

      1. re: Annie

        Its too late, but I had amazing pizza at Polito's in Mishawaka

    2. Elia's Restaurant on 933 is a decent Middle Eastern restaurant.

      Parisi's, Sunny Italy, and Francesco's all have good Italian.

      Polito's, Bruno's Original, and Rocco's have good pizza.

      Stay away from the Greek owned "family dining" restaurants. THe food is usually bad. No decent Chinese. Some decent Mexican, but unless you know your way around kind of hard to find.

      In general the culinary culture is savored by philistinics.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Brisket Dog

        Carriage House; more traditional and a great wine list. Sometimes you can get game.

        And for something completely different (excellent ribs and chicken at rock-bottom prices):

        Rib Shack
        12613 Adams Rd
        Granger, IN 46530-9640

        1. re: Brisket Dog

          I'll respectfully dispute the "no decent Chinese" statement. I've had many many wonderful meals at Mandarin House on Edison.

          1. re: umphilly

            I will respectfully dispute the notion that Mandarin House even approaches the standards of "good Chinese". My family had a saying growing up, that Chinese food tasted like the food of the region you were eating in. My dad travelled frequently, so I've had Chinese-Polish (dumpings=peirogi), Chinese-Argentinan (lomo with broccoli), etc...

            I've now had Chinese-South Bend. Unfortunately, since South Bend cuisine approximates the travails of English gastronomy of the immediate post WWII era, this is an unmitigated disaster of bland, flabby, large-portion-poor-quality food.

            To it's credit, Mandarin House is the best Chinese joint in SB. However, that's damming with the faintest praise of all.

            There are excellent, very reasonably priced Korean entrees served at the ostensibly Japanese 'Toyo Grill" (on Edison by Grape in Mishawaka, next to the Bonefish Grill). If you crave East Asian, this is your best option.

            1. re: dzop

              I agree to a point, but I may not have had the excellent entrees described above.

          2. re: Brisket Dog

            I have had excellent Chinese from Ho Ping House...though the egg rolls are not their strongest suit,

          3. I find The Vine to be very boring - the food is mediocre at best, and the pasta is oftentimes soggy. I would go there for the ambiance, but not for the food. I'm also not a fan of Elia's - their flavors just seem a bit off to me. I haven't been to Mandarin House - having grown up in a Chinese household in the San Francisco area, I'm a bit reluctant to try the Chinese restaurants out here - but I have tried JW Chen's (near South Bend Ave. and Edison), which is remarkably good and one can order items that are not the typical Americanized Chinese food. It just recently opened, and the owner, Mrs. Chen, is great - if there's something you want that isn't on the menu, she'll be more than happy to accommodate your request. This is especially great for customers who are looking for more authentic Chinese cuisine.

            5 Replies
            1. re: kcchan

              I just tried JW Chen's this week and our meals were wonderful. Try the Ko-Pa Shrimp (?).... I assume most things are good because our meals were great for lunch at only six dollars.

              1. re: LBO

                So glad you enjoyed it! The lunches are really good deals, but I also recommend the fried rice noodles (with soy sauce, I haven't tried the curry style yet). The thin rice noodles are cooked to al dente and then quickly stir fried with vegetables - we tried it stir fried with pork, under Mrs. Chen's recommendation, and it was yummy!

              2. re: kcchan

                The staff & food , in my opinion, is much better at JW Chen's than Mandarin House. And we have been to both. I will probably NOT go back to the Mandarin House as I was told on the phone they would seat us if we came in before 9PM. We rushed as we were returning from a trip out west, & arrived at 8:56PM. We were told that the kitchen staff had been sent home, & they would not serve us. We rushed then to JW Chen's and greeted as though we were family. And the food is / was delicious!
                They deserve 5 stars! Thank you Mrs. Chen.

                1. re: fkathleen

                  Just came back from a weekend in South Bend. Another vote for JW Chen's here. Mrs. Chen will sit right down at your table, ask you what kind of things you like, and bring you what she thinks best. We got a delicious, very spicy appetizer of squid and cilantro, then a couple of dishes which were relatively standard but well done: a fried fish with scallions and pork with greens. The place was packed; had to wait about 15 mins on a Saturday night at 8. Recommended.

                2. re: kcchan

                  I had a late lunch/early dinner at J.W. Chen's today. Good place. Yes, Mrs. Chen came over and sat down at the next table and I asked her for recommendations - unfortunately she does not speak/understand Cantonese and I do not speak/understand Mandarin or Taiwanese so we fell back on English for the most part (heh) but she was obliging in suggesting some off-menu stuff to me (mainly Taiwanese-Chinese) and I selected a special lamb dish and a hot pot with fried tofu and misc seafood/squid/chicken. The lamb was excellent. The hot pot was fine although not as good as the lamb. Recommended place.

                  J.W. Chen's
                  1835 S Bend Ave, South Bend, IN 46637

                3. I believe that LaSalle Grille, Bonefish Grille, Cambodian Thai and The Fondue Parlor are all worthy of visits!

                  Cambodian Thai will run about 20-25/couple, but it's authentic and wonderful. DO NOT ORDER THE HOT! Be advised, I don't know what HOT is for these people because Medium is plenty hot enough and I love hot. Trust me.

                  LaSalle Grille is the best kept secret, but be prepared to pay 100/couple. Reservations REQUIRED as previously mentioned. This place could easily beat several upscale Chicago restaurants.

                  Bonefish, albeit a chain, is very enjoyable and in the 75/couple range. I highly recommend the Asian Tuna. All of the specials they offer are worth a try, never have had anything poor there.

                  The Fondue Parlor, in the Historic 100 Center in Mishawaka, is a unique dining experience. The atmosphere is dark and romantic. You can expect to pay 25/person. If you do not enjoy preparing your own food, do not attempt this experience. It has several sauces to experiment with: Dill, Horseradish, Sweet and Sour, Bbq, Teriyaki, Honey Mustard and I may be forgetting another. I really enjoy this and while it may not be right up a guys alley, I bet it's a winner for the women.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: booba

                    Regarding Cambodian Thai - I agree that it's good cheap food if you need a Thai fix. I usually get the Chicken Pad See Ew. I've gotten the Pad Thai before, but wasn't overly impressed (when I've ordered it, the noodles were much too dry and not very flavorful). Also would not recommend the Drunken Noodles or the Crispy Egg Noodle lard nar. The drunken noodles are heavily laden with basil and bamboo shoots which are just too overpowering -perhaps I should try the dish without the bamboo shoots. The Crispy Egg Noodle lard nar was simply terrible. The noodles were an oily, soggy mess. If you want good Asian food, do try J.W. Chen's - that's where I go for my Asian food fix these days.

                  2. I just wanted to mention that the Star of India (at Grape and Edison) has a great lunch buffet for those who like Indian food or just want to try it sometime.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LBO

                      I prefer Taj India to Star of India. I just get an odd vibe from the Star of India, and the food is a bit bland, especially compared to Taj India.

                      1. re: kcchan

                        I also prefer Taj, but it's worth noting that both these places have had changes of ownership and food quality in the four years I've lived here. I always went to Star until they moved around the corner to Grape Road and the food (for me) went south. There must have been a new cook or management. Since then, I've been a fan of Taj, and I go there sometimes every week or two. There's a new place called, I think, Indian Garden, on Edison. I tried the lunch buffet, but have since returned to Taj.