it has felt like eons since we did an official restaurant review, so i promised myself i wouldn’t go two months into the year without changing that fact. last wednesday kyle, kari, phillip, and i carpooled to the southeastern part of town to check out krog street market.
since it was the first time there for kari and i, we didn’t quite know where to start. so, we let the experienced boys lead us on a loop of the place to check everything out. this development has been around for a little while now and whoa! it’s obvious why people all over town love it. it kind of feels like a grown-up food court where you can pick from several types of cuisine depending on your preference that day. there are also tons of store fronts for local artisans who are selling anything from dog treats to handmade soaps. there’s even an adult beverage shop right next to the bar where you can go to get away from work, life, the kids, whatever it may be! if you’re a small business supporter, krog street market is the place for you.
i had been craving greek food for a while and finding yalla! online is what actually led us here. kari was on board for greek as well, but phillip and kyle wandered elsewhere for their meal. the yalla! stall is very inviting if you ask me, and i guess other people felt so, too, because there was a little bit of a line. kari grabbed us a couple menus and we joined them.
the yalla! menu is perfect because one side has all the menu options and the other has a little glossary of terms for you to ensure you are ordering something you will fully enjoy. although i had been coming in completely convinced i was in the mood for lamb, my mind changed the second i saw falafel as an option. done and done!
as we waited patiently, we both liked the fact that you get to watch as the chefs make your meal. they take care with each dish, treating food like the form of art i truly feel it is. as our orders approached, we heard one of the line cooks call out a lamb laffa. we both looked at the tray in amazement. the laffa is massive! it’s a humongous flatbread that’s used as a sandwich wrap. kari and i were both convinced the laffa is something you can easily share between a couple people. it looked filling and delicious!
after retrieving our orders, we found the boys had done the favor of finding some seats for us. to give to that “community” feel, krog street market has long tables perfectly designed to encourage conversation among groups. this layout also obviously lends greatly to some stellar observing and people watching. i bet it was intentional; what do you think? 😉
we’ll start with the gentlemen first since they were ready to get their eat on the moment they sat down. across from me phillip was feeling a burger, so he ordered from the stall next to ours at fred’s meat & bread. it actually turns out that fred’s is named after frederick krog, the man for whom both the market and the street are named. how about that! i guess if you’re going to eat at krog street market, fred’s is a perfect choice!
phillip is a sucker for a good burger, and i think he was highly satisfied with the bacon cheeseburger that night. double patties well-done but not dry, thick-cut bacon, sweet butter pickles, and melty cheese – it doesn’t get much better than that. this burger was so delicious as-was that it didn’t need a single condiment atop! each bite had some burger because the patties were the same size as the bun. i mean, this meal took about ten minutes to make, so you know it’s super legit.
phillip kindly shared a couple bites with me and i agree with all my being that this burger is “damn good.” the juicy patties, gourmet bun, and white american cheese made me close my eyes as i savored all the flavors. to go along with a great burger were deliciously chunky fries, sir kensington’s ketchup, and a swig of coca-cola. i mean, can we all agree it just takes better out of that iconic glass bottle? i know you’re nodding in agreement.
next up is kyle who was dining on gu’s dumplings that night. he started his meal with their famous spring rolls. he commented that they were light and crispy and not too oily, which is nice to not have any splurting going on when you take a bite. he liked that they were cut kind of hotdog style to help keep all the filling in place as you consume, and the zhong style dumpling sauce was sweet and sour and a great companion to the rolls.
as for his entree, kyle very much enjoyed the traditional dan dan noodles. the egg noodles were cooked well, not too chewy. the seasoned ground beef and spinach on top were also very tasty. there was a lot of heat flavor and even a little heat spice on the front of each bite. in nathan review terms, he would order it again.
now onto the greek. next to me kari kept it simple that night with the falafel plate. we both agreed it was the cutest thing we’d seen all day, but it wasn’t so cute that she didn’t want to eat it. if dictionaries had a way to give an example of the way a food should taste, yalla!’s falafel is what would be next to the word falafel. since sumac radish isn’t really on her palate preference, she didn’t think it was necessary for her. however, she definitely was craving more of the tahini along with the delicious labne, an accoutrement she declared very appropriate for the dish.
so! what did i have, you ask? i went with the falafel bowl and could not have been happier with my choice. the flavor combinations were awesome and the falafel was perfectly cooked. with so many delicious seasonings and pleasing textures and a lovely swipe of hummus, it was, to use my father’s words, a COMPLETE HOMERUN. i left my favorite bite for last, a forkful of falafel and labne. everything was just heavenly – from the preparation to presentation, this dish was light and fresh, a perfect representation of what “happy food” should be. i mean, even just sitting here writing about it makes me want to eat it again!
as we munched on our meals, i couldn’t help but notice the different sorts of eaters here. small groups like our, couples in their pairs, families with little ones, large parties of friends, and, of course, local hipsters. 🙂 it’s definitely a diverse crowd, which i guess speaks to the fact that krog street market is doing a good job of drawing in just about any kind of customer. kudos!
as we each finished dinner, kari and phillip decided that dessert was an absolute necessity. they both left and shortly returned with ice cream from jeni’s splendid ice creams. they had scoops of the milkiest chocolate and the peanut butter-chocolate something, but we all agreed after taking a taste that the darkest chocolate was the absolute best. mm!
as if chocolate ice cream wasn’t enough, we couldn’t leave the evening without stopping by xocolatl chocolate. walking into this charming, small-batch chocolate shop just makes you feel like you’ve been transported to willy wonka’s chocolate factory with all the divine smells. as kari, kyle, and i looked around at their offerings, phillip loved getting to talk to one of the employees to get the inside scoop on their process. phillip was intrigued by the machinery and steps and thanked the employee by purchasing a bar of the mint chocolate chip. we haven’t spoiled ourselves with a taste just yet, but i bet it will be out of this world.
if you’re looking for a place when your party cannot agree on what to eat, i highly recommend swinging by krog street market. it makes for a great, chill wednesday night when you’re wanting something a little out or the ordinary. my only caution though is to come at your own risk on the weekends. kyle often jogs through this area on saturday mornings, and he says this place is packed. we’re talking so packed that it might be standing room only and you’ll be lucky if you find a table. well, i guess this can only speak to its popularity!
oh, and did i mention the great music they played? kyle was won over when “norwegian wood” came on by the beatles, and i’ll concur that the song selection was quite on point all night.