Solid thumbs up, 4.5 stars. Not 5 stars, because, Mitsuwa.
Excellent selection of shochu and sake, good looking fish (ready to slice, or already prepared sashimi), marbled shabu shabu beef, butane cookers, Aloha shoyu, and the smorgasbord of other goodies you'd expect from a place that has those items -- all the necessities if it's necessary for you to have Japanese nom noms.
For exotic items you'll probably have to travel farther (or maybe to Draeger's?) but if you're looking for adorable items like "Kalua pork sliders," they're here!
I used to come to this place regularly around 10 years ago, to buy random Japanese nom-noms and a piece or two of assorted Japanese tableware. Over 2-3 years I accumulated quite a bit of Japanese tableware.
Today I went back for the first time in most of a decade and ... wow! It used to be quite popular. Now it is SUPER POPULAR. The assortment of small stores that used to be in the front of the market have been replaced by a food court. I didn't assess the food court carefully, but whatever they're serving, A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO EAT IT. I can't imagine so many people going to a somewhat awkwardly located food court for Saturday lunch unless they are either serving something really tasty, or are lacing everything with high-quality crack.
Meanwhile, the tableware shop is gone. :( That shop now only exists in LA. So, that's sad.
But ... everything else about Mitsuwa is now supercharged. The fish, meat, alcohol (shochu!!!), prepared sushi and bento, appliances (high-end fuzzy logic rice cookers/pressure cookers even!), snacks, all that -- used to be somewhat sparingly distributed about the store. Now, the place is pretty well crammed with Japanese goods. I've never looked for a Japanese grocery in LA, but aside from that the only comparable place I've seen in the US is the Honolulu Daiei (which closed almost 10 years ago).
I will dearly miss that tableware shop, and they had some really cool stuff. But otherwise, Mitsuwa, you are freakin' amazing!
Tragically/horrifically slow service experience recently: Over 30 min in drive-through line (several minutes per vehicle), and they got the order wrong to boot.
Complaint to McDonald's via web form yielded an email form letter in response.
I've gone to this McD's occasionally in the past and it has been "not fast," but this was ridiculous, and the corporate non-response was annoying.
The only other Fairbanks McD's I visit semi-regularly is the one across from Lowe's. It's also usually on the slow side, but I don't think I've ever had an order botched.
In the amount of time I spent here just to get two cheeseburgers and fries in the drive through, then back inside to get the order corrected, I could have driven to Oasis, sat down, had a beer and a cheese steak.
I'm not much of a wine-lover, but this shop is my go-to for single-malt Scotch as well as any kind of out-of-the-ordinary distilled spirit. The selection is good/great and they can special order items for you if desired
They also have a great selection of specialty beers. If Fred Meyers has it, it will probably be a little cheaper there, but Fred doesn't have nearly as many different beers as Northern Vines does.
Their prices on specialty liquor and beer are competitive, and where Scotch is concerned (my main area of interest), certainly better than that other store with the dusty bottles a couple miles down Parks.
The "clean, shiny" ambiance is great, but I think it might actually be to the disadvantage of the business in Fairbanks. Who knows.
3.5-4 stars if w/in 20 miles of Fairbanks, but 5 stars in this exquisitely remote location.
Burger and all-day breakfast items seem to be reliable, greasy, generously portioned, and tasty. The rest, I wouldn't know.
Also, the prices are really reasonable for 200 miles from the middle of nowhere. They are pretty much in line for similar greasy spoons in Fairbanks proper.
I live in the area and this is my go-to convenience (mostly for beer) store.
The nice lady who buys wine, beer, and liquor does an amazing job securing a mixture of interesting and even eclectic selections, and "good buys" (which could be horrific failed-flavored-vodka-marketing-experiments, or "We just shipped WAY too much Yellow Tail to Fairbanks"). My most recent excellent score was a half dozen bottles of Palate Wrecker (a very sturdy Double IPA) at $3.50 each.
Therefore: Recommended as a source of what gets you through the winter, or the midnight sun, or both. You will spend much less accomplishing that here than next door at Ivory Jack's.
Also, there's gasoline, diesel, AND propane, for when you just don't want to drive into town.
I had an assortment of semi-serious repairs and long-neglected maintenance performed on my my car here recently. Work was fine, price was reasonable, communication is good, everyone is friendly, relaxed, professional.
So, two thumbs up, and five stars.
This place is kind of creepily immaculate and soulless, but aside from that, I really have only good things to say.
Food: I enjoy the carpaccio. Lots. If I haven't been for a while, I forget how tasty it is. In general, the food is good. It's also reasonably priced, for a Nordstrom in downtown SF anyway.
Drinks: On my most recent visit I asked the bartender if anyone ordered French 75s there these days, as I thought it was a drink that was ripe for a comeback. (I discovered the French 75 while watching John Wayne and Janet Leigh share them in Jet Pilot.) He said he made a great French 75. So I had "his" recipe, which was gin, champagne, sour mix, with a twist, and a float of Chambord. Okay, that's freakin tasty.
Seriously. Freakin. Tasty.
If this place lived up to its menu or its promise, it would be an easy 4-5 stars. But there are problems.
(1) Price. Some beers are weirdly overpriced. I'm not talking about the exotic beers that you can't find anywhere else. It's fine by me if they're overpriced.
(2) Price. Some of the food is weirdly overpriced. Tri-tip with potatoes and greens for $24? That's about $22 more than the ingredient cost. Gordon Ramsay would be proud.
(3) Kitchen. Although the menu has promise, the execution is inexperienced. On one visit, I had a lamb burger. Good presentation, garnish was fresh, taste was fine but ... the burger leaked juice like it was a ripe orange and I'd poked a hole in it with a straw. When I finished, I had a puddle that filled the bottom of my plate. If you're using frozen meat, that's cool, but you might want to mix in some bread or starch, or fork them when they're cooking, or something. On my most recent visit, I had the abovementioned $24 tri-tip dish. The potatoes were cooked perfectly (awesome!), and the meat was excellent, but although the veggie (a stringy relative of bok choy) was tasty, it was served whole and slightly undercooked, and I was picking it out of my teeth for an hour. More disappointingly, the sauce reeked of raw garlic. Pardon me, raw garlic on beef and potatoes?
So, I dunno, it's a cool place to spend $50+tip for lunch and a buzz, but I'm not sold yet.
One of these days I'll find a place in the Bay that is as nommy for a beer lover as Philadelphia's Monk's, or Georgetown's Brickskellar, but ... not yet.
Still, tweak the prices, and get a more experienced chef involved, and you could have a real winner.