North Raleigh Food

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$ – Grab change from the couch cushions Archive



May 2014



Tenko Japan

Written by , Posted in $ - Grab change from the couch cushions, Asian

Tenko JapanLooking to grab some quick Hibachi-style cooking? Tenko Japan is located in a busy shopping center, just off of Falls of Neuse Road in North Raleigh. Tenko’s is a very tiny setup, wedged inbetween other stores in an outdoor strip mall setting.

Don’t bother dressing up for this one, and don’t plan any big parties. Rather, this is more of a “place your order and take off” kind of place.

First Impressions

Because of its location, plan on battling parking lot traffic during busy lunch rush hours. This time around, we lucked out and managed to find parking right in front of the restaurant. Immediately when you walk in, you are hit with the smell of fried food. There are 3 – 4 tables at best, so if you plan to eat in, make sure you scope out the table situation first and claim a spot quick.


Dish #1 – Hibachi Chicken (Entrée)

Tenko’s is a simple atmosphere. It doesn’t have the most attentive wait staff. The food is simple and cooked well every time. Yum Yum sauce is the reason for living.

Hibachi chicken

Dish #2 – Chicken Bowl (Express Bowl)

The Chicken Bowl was served in a small plastic container. Per someone’s recommendation, I ordered a separate side of Yum Yum sauce as well. The portion size was on the smaller side, but it was perfectly apportioned for a normal person.

Despite the menu description, explaining that the dish would be served with broccoli, mushrooms and fried rice, there were hardly any vegetables in the resulting dish. In fact, I only counted three small pieces of broccoli, and 2 slivers of mushroom. In actuality, I would have preferred a greater proportion of veggies in my dish compared to rice.

The ill famed ‘Yum Yum’ sauce was a disappointment to me. It tasted like flavored mayonnaise, and being someone who absolutely hates mayonnaise in all forms, this was a complete turn off.

Chicken Bowl


The service could have been better. While I understand that we all have ‘bad days,’ it wouldn’t have killed the cashier to crack a smile or act in a way that didn’t say, “I hate my life, this job and every person who walks in the door.” The meals were presented to us without any fanfare. This is mostly a DIY establishment – i.e. get your own forks, knives, napkins, etc.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Tenko’s to anyone I personally know. The food was abysmal, at best; and I found myself airing out my clothes while chewing on gum to get rid of the lingering smell of the restaurant, which permeated throughout everything I was wearing.

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of fried food and Hibachi and are looking for a quick, inexpensive bite to eat, you may want to swing through and grab an order.



March 2012



Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

Written by , Posted in $ - Grab change from the couch cushions, $$ - Bring your debit card, Dessert



My kids and I saw THE CUTEST character waving at cars while driving up Spring Forest Road at Falls of Neuse Road a few weeks ago and had to check out what he was doing. He looked like a mushroom at first but then we realized he was an ice-cream cone.

Further inspection showed he is actually the little mascot for Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, which we have never heard of before. Never one to pass on sweets, we decided we needed to should try Menchie’s.

We walked in and loved the theme and style of the design of the shop. Everything is in bright colors and the store is nice and clean and new. The ladies working the counter were so friendly and asked if it was our first time in. It was and they explained what to do and how to do it. Sounds like ordering a frozen yogurt is a no-brainer but it was a little overwhelming at first. Like most newer frozen yogurt places, you get your own yogurt from one of several dispensers, add toppings and then check out.

We were allowed to sample whatever flavors we liked with a little tiny cup which was perfect. There weren’t a ton of flavors to choose from – probably about 10-12 flavors which many were able to be combined for an extra yummy flavor. According to their website, Menchie’s rotates their flavors.

Here it’s the same idea: you can get a large cup/bowl (one size but remember: your final price is based on WEIGHT so don’t feel like you have to fill ‘er up!) and put as much of your fave flavor as you’d like, then move over to one of two topping bars. One had the more yummy (read: bad for you) stuff like crumbled cookie toppings or candy toppings, and the other bar had good-for-you yumminess like fruit and little round balls that look like giant caviar bits but are mango flavored or other fruit flavors. The name for these mysteries currently escapes me. There was also hot fudge and caramel.

My favorite was the pomegranate-raspberry which tasted more like a sorbet than a yogurt. My companion selected “vanilla snow” with maraschino cherries on top. She filled up her cup about 3/4 of the way so her total cost after tax was just under $5.

Even the spoons are darn cute with the Menchie yogurt guy’s face on the end and a little message on the spoon “This is my mix!” I’d probably come back here based on the high cuteness factor alone.

For those of us mindful of our waistlines, Menchie’s offers low-carb, sugar-free and dairy-free flavor options. Most of their flavors (with some exceptions) are also gluten-free.

You can get a “smileage” card (rewards card) and after you acrue a certain number of points (50?) you get a reward for $5 worth of product which isn’t too bad.

We’d like to come back on a day we aren’t so rushed and hang out here for a bit. It’s definitely a neat little place for all to enjoy. Menchie’s is located in the Sutton Square plaza and there are several options to eat a meal before coming here for a dessert.

Then again, Menchie’s is a great place to come any time of the day! :)





March 2012



Arbys Chicken Tenders Triangle Town Center Raleigh NC

Written by , Posted in $ - Grab change from the couch cushions

By far these are some of the BEST fast food chicken tenders on the market. Due to the volume of the store in North Raleigh by Triangle Town Center Mall they are fried fresh upon each order (in our experience). Yes I have tried any and all tenders from every fast food restaurant and non fast food restaurant.

These beat McDonalds Chicken Selects because they are not fried to the point they hurt your teeth and gums when you bite into them, and theres more Chicken in every bite & less bread. These truly are Prime Cut chicken tenders.

The 3 piece is great, especially if you get the combo with a side. I prefer the 5 piece just by its self (trying to cut some carbs out of my diet). The 5 piece is plenty to satisfy a Man’s hunger and the 3 piece is usually good enough for a lady.



December 2011



Piper’s Tavern

Written by , Posted in $ - Grab change from the couch cushions, $$ - Bring your debit card, Bar and Grills

A fun place to eat with decent food, Piper’s Tavern is one of our go-to places for lunch or dinner.

Piper’s Tavern is located at 8304 Falls of Neuse Road. It’s a bar and grille sort of place, where repeat business is probably the core of this restaurant’s success. They have a live band some nights, and there’s always a mix of folks: older or younger couples, families, friends having dinner and drinks together. They have a bar area attached to the main dining room, but it’s never too rowdy. Parking can be a little tricky if it’s a busy night, but if you are a little creative you can squeeze in somewhere closeby.

I usually order their portobello mushroom sandwich, but today I wanted something different. I opted for their Cuban grille while Mr. Man got their pizza. I wouldn’t have thought to get pizza at a bar and grille, but it was pretty good!

My Cuban sandwich was good – not great – but it was good for the price we paid for it. We also got some grilled bbq chicken wings. They were not breaded and the sauce was light, but they weren’t too bad! We paid about $30 for dinner and water. Adult beverage prices are comparable to other bar and grilles.

We’ve always had good service at Piper’s and we enjoy the atmosphere. They have special monthly events and a Sunday brunch.

Check out their website at




November 2011




Written by , Posted in $ - Grab change from the couch cushions, Uncategorized

The Sunday after Thanksgiving and everyone is hungry, but there’s no way I’m cooking!

We decided to head over to IHOP at Six Forks and Saw Mill (Celebration Station). The restaurant used to be an Applebees until that was closed down. This restaurant has only recently opened but we had yet to eat there.

This morning we thought pancakes, bacon and other breakfast foods sounded good, so we hopped into the car and arrived around 10:45 or so. There was a little bit of a wait – 15 minutes at most – and then we were finally seated.

It took a while for our server to show up – not so much that she was busy but rather she moved a little on the slow side. We ordered a short stack of pancakes, a kids cheeseburger, waffles and pancakes with eggs and sausage. The water tasted stale, our soda was a little flat, but the OJ was pretty good.

The pancakes were alright (but our syrup was missing and it took forever for our server to bring it to us) but the kids burger was dry. The waffles were a little overcooked and the eggs runny.

In all, I could probably have done a better job cooking on my own by means of frozen waffles, pancake mix and some fried up eggs, but it was nice to have someone else do the cooking (and the cleanup!).

I’m not sure if it was just an off day for IHOP or if the food/service here is always a little less than stellar.

Our total was less than $25, which isn’t too terrible for 3 people to eat brunch, but it wasn’t worth it in our opinion. We’ll probably give it another shot but we’re easily satisfied with a simple bowl of cereal for breakfast.