Das Boot Camp–Norman, OK

Das Boot Camp
229 E. Main St.
Norman, OK
(405) 701-3748
Das Boot Camp

Das Boot Camp


The official name of this restaurant is Das Boot Camp Restaurant & Bar, and I think the key part of it is the “Bar.” When I visited late at night on the way back from Dallas it was one of the few restaurants in town that was even open, and they were running a special on large servings of beer in a boot shaped glass (they could not have been making a huge profit from the prices charged for the beer but it seemed to also get people in to try the food).

For most people (in Oklahoma, at least) it does not take much persuasion to get them to order some good German food, and of course it is a natural to go with beer. Das Boot Camp happens to be an outgrowth of Royal Bavaria, a standard dinner style restaurant in Moore, and the German food at these restaurants is well known as being the real deal. The menu at Das Boot Camp is scaled down from the larger restaurant, and is more of a bar menu, but there are still enough choices for a full meal.

When I went to Das Boot Camp I did not have a huge appetite and I was not looking for the type of full meal that is served at Royal Bavaria, so for me Das Boot Camp was perfect.

Schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel was one of the six or so items that are served as dinner items (the rest are sandwiches, soup, appetizers, etc., although they also have bratwurst plates). I thought that this was as good as any schnitzel I have had in Oklahoma, with good meat and a good breading.

The more disappointing part of the meal was the spätzle (I have had others with a better flavor). I ended up ordering fries, the side that normally comes with the schnitzel (they substituted the spatzle for me), which I thought went better with the dish. Overall this was a very satisfying meal and still at a good price.

Other Comments
If you go to Royal Bavaria instead of here you will have other dinner choices such as Hähnchenbrust and cordon bleu. Das Boot Camp advertises that all of their items are under $10, so you just get basic German food here (although it is the same as Royal Bavaria in terms of being authentic).

I think one of the biggest advantages of going to Royal Bavaria is in the side dishes. Royal Bavaria has items such as Bavarian potato salad which I thought was excellent (and may be the same as the potato salad served at Das Boot Camp), but the large menu at Royal Bavaria makes me fairly certain that whatever you want you would be able to get there.

I need to try more items at both restaurants to make a fuller comparison, but it seems that the main difference between the two restaurants is that Royal Bavaria Restaurant has a larger menu with more expensive and fancier items.

Das Boot Camp definitely serves my basic needs for German food, though.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: German
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily (food served until 11 PM)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 28, 2017

Number of Visits: 1

Best Item: Wiener Schnitzel

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Wiener Schnitzel
star 4 Spätzle

Jeng Chi–Richardson, TX

Jeng Chi
400 N. Greenville Ave.
Richardson, TX
(972) 669-9094
Jeng Chi

Jeng Chi


When I have a great experience at a restaurant a lot of it has to do with ordering the right items. Before going to Jeng Chi I read numerous reviews recommending the xiao long bao (steamed dumplings with soup inside), and I also know that there are a very limited number of restaurants in the United States that serve them. I had already tried them at Kirin Court, located a few blocks away in Richardson, and this just encouraged me even more that another experience would be worthwhile.

Chinatown strip mall

Part of the “Chinatown” strip mall in Richardson

If I were not on this particular mission it would be quite difficult to even choose Jeng Chi as a destination. It is located in the “Chinatown” strip mall which is filled with Asian restaurants and shops, quite a few of which also have cuisines which are as hard to find as the one served at Jeng Chi (xiao long bao is known as Shanghai cuisine although Jeng Chi’s web site says the restaurant has authentic food from Taiwan and mainland China).

The block long shopping center does have an air of authenticity in which you are unlikely to find any Americanized food, but rather a mixture of traditional foods from various parts of China and other Asian countries. Internet reviews also indicate that this is the case, but of course I hope I get the chance to confirm this on subsequent trips.

I happened to arrive at Jeng Chi at just about the only time it is not open–between 2:45 and 4:00 P.M. every day (but of course this means they are open the rest of the time every day). Although closed they let me sit in the lobby and relax while waiting for service to resume, and I will have to say that for me it was worth the wait to eat here. The combination of having outstanding food, prices that were commensurate but not inflated, and the right portion sizes gave me no regret that I passed up the other nearby restaurants.

Tea

Churshe jasmine tea

Chur she jasmine tea

Before ordering the food I was asked to make a decision about a drink. This is because some of them take a while to prepare, but also they have some very special teas such as the Chur She Jasmine Tea I ordered. This was prepared in an infuser, and even with additional hot water it maintained its flavor. A wide variety of other drinks are available including tea, beer, and wine.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao long bao

Xiao long bao

Xiao Long Bao is the unofficial specialty of the restaurant, and I say this only because so many people have reviewed it. Listed on the menu as “small juicy steamed dumplings” (which come in an order of 8), these are different than many others because they have soup inside. I thought they lived up to the hype, partly because they give you a ginger dipping sauce that adds to the flavor. They also instructed me about how to use the plastic spoon to trap any juice which spills from the dumpling so that none of it is lost.

One comment I would make is that they actually serve seven types of “Juicy and Steamed Dumplings,” as well as a large selection of boiled dumplings. A group of people could order several of them to sample, but I think it is hard to go wrong with the one I ordered.

Pork with Garlic Sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

I am sometimes known to go overboard on ordering food when I am in a place that has especially good choices, such as Jeng Chi. By ordering the Pork with Garlic Sauce, though I felt that this along with the dumplings was not really too much food if I considered it to be the main meal of the day (which it was). In any case, I got an unexpected taste experience which in some ways was equal to the dumplings.

Pork with garlic sauce is a somewhat standard dish that I order in many restaurants, but this one was different in that it had a red color. When I asked about this they said it was because of the chile (which is mixed into the sauce). It was quite strange because it looked like the red sweet and sour sauce found in many restaurants, but the complexity of the flavor in this dish placed it far from the ordinary experience of getting something with a red sauce. The chile level was about four out of five, and the meat was very good quality in keeping with everything else I experienced.

Additional Comments
I had a large enough sample of the food to make me think that this is not a restaurant that specializes only in one dish, but rather I believe everything is good. This is how I think Chinese restaurants should be, so that I am free to order according to my appetite rather than choosing among the few items they do well.

The dumplings lived up to my expectations, but the pork with garlic sauce was also the best presentation of this dish I have found in any restaurant. This might not have been the traditional Chengdu version of the dish, but it was so good that for all I know it may be totally authentic (but just not a way that other restaurants do it). The balance of garlic, ginger, and other flavors, though, did seem very authentic to me even though visually it was different from any others I had tried.

The dining room

The dining room

The restaurant is very comfortable and fairly upscale, although I was happy that the prices seemed to be at the level that you are only paying for the food and not the atmosphere.

One reason I liked the restaurant is that they explained everything, such as how to eat the dumplings, etc. They have a seasonal menu and probably items that are not on the menu (I did not ask about this but I am very sure they will work with you to get the type of food you want).

As of the date of publication of this article I am giving Jeng Chi the highest rating of any Chinese restaurant on my blog. This is not necessarily because I think it has the best Chinese food I have ever had, but because this excellent food is combined with ease of ordering and prices that do not make it for special occasions only. I think many Chinese restaurant have excellent dishes, but this is one place where I think most people can actually find them and know what they are ordering.


RATING: 28

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 28, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Xiao Long Bao, Pork with Garlic Sauce

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (brewed)
MSG: N/A
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Xiao Long Bao
star 5 Pork with Garlic Sauce

 

Sam’s Southern Eatery–Bossier City, LA

Sam’s Southern Eatery
2910 Barksdale Blvd.
Bossier City, LA
(318) 658-9980
Sam's Southern Eatery

Sam’s Southern Eatery


Sam’s Southern Eatery is a chain of Cajun style restaurants based in Shreveport, and which consistently shows up on restaurant review sites as a readers’ favorite. There are several locations in the Shreveport area, and they appear to be individually owned although linked to the chain through the supply of shrimp they receive as well as following the same recipes for cooking the food.

One feature pointed out to me that made this location unique was its sale of freshly made home made cakes. The regular menu appears to be the same at all Sam’s locations, although I did notice some differences between this restaurant and the one I had previously tried in Oklahoma City (the OKC restaurant served fried rolls and this one did not).

When I went to this location in the evening hours it had already run out of some items. They had run out of red beans and rice, and they initially said they were out of gumbo but then said I could have the gumbo but they were out of the rice that went with it (I gladly accepted this offer).

Gumbo

Gumbo

Gumbo without rice

The Gumbo was my main order, and it was a very good one. They were out of the rice that usually came with the order, but I thought the gumbo was very good anyway. The flavor of the roux was really a lot better than the one I had tried in Oklahoma City, although the shrimp and other ingredients were about the same at both restaurants. This was not the largest size gumbo they had, but was nevertheless filling if you ate it with side dishes.

Fried Shrimp

Fried shrimp

Medium sized order of fried shrimp

The sign on the front of the restaurant says “Home of the Jumbo Shrimp,” and this is to be taken seriously. I think these are actually prawns, but in any case this order of eight shrimp really seems to be enough for three people although two of us with great effort managed to eat it (and enjoy it very much).

My dining companion ate the side dishes, and they were reported to be very good as I have found them to be in the Oklahoma City Sam’s.

Cake

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

This location features home made cakes made by a third party, with about eight or ten varieties available. The restaurant recommended peanut butter and reviews also indicate this is one people particularly like, but I thought the chocolate I ordered was quite satisfying (you probably can’t go wrong with any of the flavors).

General Comments
This was not the absolute best fried shrimp I have ever had, but it was close, and I can see why it is the featured dish of the restaurant. Keep in mind, though, that the pieces are quite big. In my mind about three or four pieces per person is about right if you eat it with side dishes or a small gumbo.

The gumbo is what I enjoyed the most, though. I feel that it is a special treat to get gumbo as good as the one here, and ones with comparable flavor are not available in most parts of the country.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Cajun
Cost: $$
Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM (closed Sun.)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 27, 2017

Number of Visits: 1

Best Items: Gumbo, Fried Shrimp

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Fried Shrimp
star 5 Gumbo
star 5 Chocolate Cake