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WHATS NEW IN STATE COLLEGE

d
dining with doc Aug 19, 2013 07:28 AM

TAKING MY KIDS BACK TO PSU THIS WEEKEND. ANYTHING NEW OR GREAT IN STATE COLLEGE?

  1. m
    mookleknuck Aug 19, 2013 10:40 AM

    NO. NOT SINCE YOUR LAST POST. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/864712

    Too snarky? What are you looking for?

    1 Reply
    1. re: mookleknuck
      m
      mookleknuck Aug 19, 2013 04:36 PM

      I inadvertently lied. The last time I had driven by the former Watkins Dairiette found it filled with construction. But this indicates that they've been open for a couple of weeks: http://www.statecollege.com/news/loca...

    2. linguafood Aug 19, 2013 04:10 PM

      Fuji Jade still has the best sushi in town, and they recently added a new Sichuan menu that is pretty damn fantastic.

      Not sure if you've been to Gigi's -- ownership and chefs have changed recently, they're now doing "upscale Southern", whatever that may mean.

      I've had some luck with a few of their small plates, and the wine list is decent.

      1. b
        Burghfeeder Aug 19, 2013 04:48 PM

        Not new, but new to me is the American Ale House in Toftrees. I really enjoy a bowl of steamed shrimp or mussels with a bowl of jambalaya and a beer! It's also entertaining watching them cook right there.

        http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

        1. linguafood Aug 19, 2013 04:51 PM

          PS: There's also a Sichuan hot pot place scheduled to open in September in the former Westerly hi-way pizza place.

          1. linguafood Sep 11, 2013 01:09 AM

            Aaaaand.... as if four Sichuan places in town weren't enough, a fifth one is opening soon next to Five Guys on College Ave., apparently by the former chef of Sichuan Bistro.

            There's also the Lemont Brewing Co. scheduled to open some time in October, and a Thai/Sushi place in Lemont (don't know when that's opening).

            1. linguafood Sep 19, 2013 01:32 PM

              A new sushi & Thai place, Kamrai, has opened up in Lemont in the old Victorian Manor building.

              The sushi menu is extensive, but with lots of, um, "crazy" rolls -- lots of ingredients, sauces, etc.

              The chef is from Chiang Mai, so there's hope for the Thai food. That said, the nam sod we ordered "Thai spicy" wasn't. A little kick perhaps, but not a single bird pepper in it.

              The atmosphere is nice, tho, and it's BYOB. I'll go back to try some other things next time.

              2 Replies
              1. re: linguafood
                d
                dining with doc Nov 3, 2013 09:50 PM

                we went Friday night to Kamrai and we had a very good meal by any standards and an outstanding meal by State College standards. Each dish was carefully prepared with high quality ingredients and outstanding complex flavors. Very nice ambiance Two highlights were the bomb appetizer- a skewered fried dumpling filled with chicken and shrimp that was super and a delicious filet of red snapper in a subtle light sauce. We definitely will go back again the next time in town. Night 2 we went for the first tine to the American Ale House and again had an excellent meal with complex dishes made with local ingredients. Really enjoyed dinner. My seasonal salad made with roasted veggies and kale and my short ribs of beef were both great plus we shared a nice pinot noir. Service was extremely professional and again we will not hesitate going back here on our next visit to penn state. so there is good chow worthy places in what people have formerly
                described as a wasteland of dining

                1. re: dining with doc
                  linguafood Nov 4, 2013 02:36 AM

                  I went to Kamrai twice in the meantime, but I doubt I'll be back. While the atmosphere is pleasant enough to take out of town speakers (and the BYOB keeps the bill down), I found the food to be generally disappointing.

                  The second time we actually had to ask for a side plate with chopped fresh chile peppers, as the mains we had ordered *Thai* spicy once again didn't deliver on the heat. At all. The "Volcano salmon" was way overdone and covered in some sweet chili sauce. The bomb dumplings people raved about on Yelp were bland.

                  We also split one of their monster rolls: deep-fried, lots of sauces -- you could barely taste the fish. It's usually not a good sign when most of your "sushi" offerings are masked with sauces and have 5+ ingredients.

                  But I also know there are plenty of people out there who love that style, and the overwhelmingly positive reviews for the place on Yelp demonstrate this fact.

                  That said, having two restaurants a stone throw away from my house, i.e. My Thai which reliably brings the heat and doesn't shy away from more authentic flavors, and Fuji Jade which has some of the best quality fish in town (not to mention the new Cantonese dishes), I just don't see any reason to travel to Lemont. I found it mediocre at best.

              2. m
                mookleknuck Oct 31, 2013 11:11 AM

                http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/bor...

                1 Reply
                1. re: mookleknuck
                  linguafood Oct 31, 2013 11:48 AM

                  Gee. "Finally", some Asian restaurants in SC.

                  But all kidding aside -- I'll be curious to see whether the ramen is any good.

                  I *really* think we have Sichuan food covered (Chopstick Express, Sichuan Bistro, Fuji Jade, the soon to be opened 2000 Degrees Hot Pot)….not sure we needed yet another one.

                2. linguafood Oct 31, 2013 11:50 AM

                  A new brewpub in town: Happy Valley Brewing Co.

                  Haven't gone yet, but plan to check it out on Sunday (their soft opening was last Saturday) after the football freaks leave town.

                  The menu is quite interesting with a few unusual items like fried smelts, venison steak, sardines liders…

                  Here's a link:

                  http://happyvalleybeer.com/?q=food

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood
                    m
                    mookleknuck Oct 31, 2013 02:34 PM

                    Yes, I saw that opening report and look forward to your review! The ownership leaves me in doubt of how well they will execute their menu...

                    1. re: mookleknuck
                      linguafood Oct 31, 2013 04:12 PM

                      Not to mention the music booking :-D

                    2. re: linguafood
                      Bacchus101 Nov 1, 2013 07:20 AM

                      Thanks for the link, ahh interesting! They must have spent days thinking up names for the food items and their beers. I must say the menu is intriguing. I like to consider myself an adventurous eater but some of these items are quite odd and as mookle noted questionable as to execution. Their website history pushes "return home/welcome back" a place to meet old friends over a beer, sardine sliders and fried smelts. Not what I would call Pud Grub or comfort food from the "good olde days". But hey, HVBC has invested huge amounts of time and money evidenced on their great web site. Menus can be easily reprinted if in actual practice they are found to be a bit difficult to execute and too strange for a college town in the middle of Pennsylvania. I would love to hear some reviews of both food and beer.

                      1. re: Bacchus101
                        linguafood Nov 1, 2013 11:50 AM

                        As I wrote -- I'm going Sunday with a few friends (so we can try a bunch of stuff) and shall report here. I don't think that one visit, especially a mere week after opening, will justify a rounded critique, but I find nothing wrong with first impressions.

                        1. re: linguafood
                          c
                          cleobeach Jan 27, 2014 10:04 AM

                          Linguafood - what are your thoughts on Happy Valley Brewing Company?

                          We were in State College two weeks ago and waffled back and forth between Otto's and HVBC. We picked Ottos and sort of regretted it.

                          1. re: cleobeach
                            linguafood Jan 27, 2014 01:48 PM

                            Kinda depends on what you're looking for. I like Otto's beer better but am not a fan of the location or the food (that said, I haven't been in a *long* time -- just not much reason for me to go there).

                            HVBC I think has better food, though judging from recent reviews, a lot of the things there are hit or miss, but the beer is pretty uninteresting. It's a nice place, and I do like the wings & fried Korean ribs. Sometimes, they even have fried smelts!

                            But honestly -- neither place rocks my boat much....

                            1. re: linguafood
                              d
                              dining with doc Jan 27, 2014 07:27 PM

                              how about the Ale House. We had a great meal there during the fall

                              1. re: dining with doc
                                linguafood Jan 27, 2014 07:43 PM

                                It's ok. Haven't been there in ages, either. Service can be spotty, the food is overpriced for many items, and it's not really my crowd....

                                What did you have that you liked/would recommend?

                                1. re: linguafood
                                  d
                                  dining with doc Feb 3, 2014 08:12 PM

                                  I had short ribs but everyone in our group enjoyed our meal

                    3. linguafood Nov 26, 2013 02:30 PM

                      100 Degrees Hot Pot. Get thee there pronto:

                      Wow.

                      Seriously, though: WOW!

                      I was so blown away by my recent dinner here that I am breaking my personal rule of never reviewing a place after only one visit.

                      The owner (who runs half of State College's Chinese restaurants & then some) has clearly put a LOT of thought, not to mention cash, into completely remodeling what used to be the old HiWay Pizza location -- in fact, I had to remind myself of what used to be in this location, and how dingy that place used to be.

                      But no more. The front of the restaurant is bright, clean and inviting. There are special tables for those who come for the main attraction -- the hot pot, as well as regular tables for à la carte Sichuan items.

                      The special tables are available with either personal hot plates or hot plates for a table to share. My only criticism/warning about these tables is their construction, which I'm sure can't be any other way since they contain the heating elements -- but they are very, VERY LOW.

                      So, if you're fond of your kneecaps and would like to keep them attached and safely in place, keep that in mind when you sit down. It's a little awkward, but once you get used to it, it's all good.

                      And by good I mean absolutely fantastic. You can choose between a great selection of different broths -- spicy Sichuan, seafood, chicken, veggie, clam, beef, etc. etc., and then you choose from an extensive menu of items to cook in your broth -- meats, seafood, vegetables, various kinds of mushrooms, tofu in all of its glorious variety, dumplings, different noodles.... it sure takes a while to work your way through the menu.

                      We picked two broths: the spicy Sichuan, which was incredible -- studded with peppers, serious mà lá, and glistening with hot chile oil, and the veggie, which was a bit of a letdown -- the broth was seriously lacking salt or *something* umami. It was pretty bland to the point of watery, but sorta made up for that by containing a good amount of veggies like lotus root and tofu skin (yes, I know that's not a veggie).

                      For our cooking items, we chose fatty beef, pork, black mushrooms, king trumpets, shrimp dumplings, scallops, 2 orders of udon noodles and 2 orders of the veggie combo -- mostly napa, spinach, watercress & a few potato slices.

                      The next thing to do is visit the condiment bar. And oh-my-freaking-goodness, does that condiment bar rock. I won't list all the many excellent sauces & condiments here, and there's also fresh chopped garlic, scallions, cilantro, ginger, chile peppers in all kinds of preparations, etc. to take the hot pot experience to a whole 'nother level.

                      The owner was nice enough to prepare a 'special sauce' for us -- I believe it included *lots* of chopped garlic, sesame sauce, sesame oil, hot oil, soy sauce, scallions, cilantro plus a few things more.

                      This little bowl of awesomeness then serves as a dipping sauce for your prepared foods, and you can refill it at any point, or mix yourself a completely new flavor experience.

                      The service is incredibly friendly and attentive; the prices are moderate but fair, and you will NOT leave hungry.

                      After we paid, we were given a brief tour of the karaoke facilities: several private rooms that can be reserved on an hourly basis with state of the art sound systems, comfortable couches and tables, and even a bit of a light show :-)

                      As for now, the place is BYOB, but is supposed to get a liquor license in the future.

                      I cannot recommend this place highly enough. And to think they only opened a week ago! No growing pains here, for sure. What a wonderful new addition to the State College dining scene!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: linguafood
                        m
                        mookleknuck Nov 26, 2013 03:27 PM

                        Thanks for the review, linguafood. I look forward to checking it out this weekend or over the winter break. Do you know if this place is owned and operated by the same person who owns the Icy KTV down on Pugh and College?

                        Did you notice if they had sacha (Chinese BBQ sauce) and eggs available on the condiment bar? How much was each broth or for the split pot (if that's what you did)? Did you see anyone get any of the other broths? What were the other a la carte Sichuan items?

                        1. re: mookleknuck
                          linguafood Nov 26, 2013 04:35 PM

                          I don't know who runs the Icy KTV (I don't even know what that is, frankly), but this place is run by the same guy who runs:

                          Penang, Fuji Jade, Okinawa, Hunan Wok, East Asia grocery store and My Thai, though I am probably forgetting a few.

                          The did have sha cha, which was also part of the 'special' sauce the owner created for us. Really good stuff!!

                          I didn't see eggs, but I didn't look for them, so they may well be there.

                          Each broth is around $7-9 for a personal hot pot; don't know how much the shared pots are. I didn't see any of the other broths.

                          I honestly can't list all of the items on the Sichuan menu, but it's the same that is currently available at Fuji Jade.

                          1. re: linguafood
                            m
                            mookleknuck Nov 27, 2013 09:57 AM

                            Linguafood, thanks again. I'll post my thoughts here after my visit, including whether or not I'd return. Your information has been very useful in the State College area.

                            1. re: mookleknuck
                              linguafood Nov 27, 2013 12:13 PM

                              I'd be interested to hear what you think. And I'd be surprised if you didn't return.

                          2. re: mookleknuck
                            w
                            Wingo Jan 9, 2014 11:02 PM

                            I tired to answer before but looks like the reply disappear.
                            1.Owners of Icy and 100C Hot KTV are different
                            2.Sacha is available in 100 Degree Hot Pot on the condiment bar
                            3.You may have to ask for the eggs as they are not standard in the Sichuan Style. Eggs are used in almost every Hong Kong style(and some Taiwanese) hot pot. If you ask the right person, they probably will give you with/without charge. I know the owner wants to make your experience the best and make the restaurant into a "melting pot" of all styles.

                        2. linguafood Jan 22, 2014 03:31 PM

                          Tadashi, a new ramen & yakitori place recently opened on College Ave. where there briefly was a cupcake place. No liquor license or BYOB, which is kind of a bummer.

                          Great selection of yakitori, although sadly they were out of chicken hearts, livers & skin, which is what I *really* wanted.

                          The ramen selection isn't very large and offers just 3 kinds of broth: soy sauce, spicy miso ramen and a third whose name escapes me right now -- something Japanese of course, and you're supposed to dip cold ramen noodles into a bowl with this broth/sauce.

                          Despite the waiter's instructions, I just poured the liquid over the cold noodles, resulting in a luke warm dish. Duh. The spicy miso ramen was very good, however, and the portions are quite large.

                          Definitely will go back to stuff myself with yakitori.

                          1. linguafood Jan 26, 2014 11:56 AM

                            Local Whiskey, the top bar above the Phyrst. Huge wings, massive whiskey/whisky selection, ginormous cheeseburgers. The tray of fries is also available just like downstairs.

                            Not as student-y as downstairs.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: linguafood
                              b
                              Burghfeeder Feb 7, 2014 06:00 PM

                              I've never been, but I tend to like the casual places but finding one without the crowd of students is a struggle! I'll make it a point to visit Local Whiskey this week when I'm in town. Thanks for the tip.

                              1. re: Burghfeeder
                                linguafood Feb 7, 2014 07:08 PM

                                It'll be less student-y the further away from the weekend (as in *before Thursday nite* hahaha) your visit will be. Mon thru Wed should be fairly quiet. Of course, that's all relative in State College.....

                            2. linguafood Feb 9, 2014 06:42 PM

                              Bad news for anyone who knew about the former good news: Joie de Crêpe, a place that had started offering Southern soul food (and with that I mean fried chicken, who cares about biscuits and BEP, anyway?) in August of last year, has closed for good.

                              Shame. I don't care much for crêpes, but a place with good fried chicken would've been wonderful.

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