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THE EATBEAT: Finding good food is trick to traveling

Home baked goods on sale at Old Town Bistro in Sterling, Colo. Submitted photo.1 / 2
Marilyn Hagerty2 / 2

It’s a good idea to stop at Perkins if you are traveling through North Platte, Neb., during breakfast time.

I can tell you for sure Highway 83 going north has little by way of meals to offer along the way. You always know what you are getting at Perkins. The restaurant is pretty much the same as in Bemidji, Bismarck or Jamestown, N.D.

Same goes for Subway. You might as well stop by there if you get hungry near Ogallala, Neb. There isn’t a lot of choice for eating places.

. . . But there is more than Subway and Perkins to be found when you are out on the road. At the outset in Bismarck, Kobe’s Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar proved to be a delightful place for an early evening meal. And in Sterling, Colo., the Old Town Bistro proved to be a real find — a hometown business in an old automobile dealership. And it is well worth a drive off Highway 80 and downtown.

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Kobe’s Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar

915 W. Interstate Ave., Bismarck.

Hours: Opens 11 a.m. daily, closes 10 p.m. weekdays and Sunday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Telephone: (701) 751-3088.

A popular place, Kobe’s opened two years ago in the relatively new Pinehurst shopping complex in Bismarck. The place has a streamlined feel about it. And there’s action during the hibachi show hours that begin about 3 p.m.

Kobe’s has a roll special for $8.95 on its lunch menu — anything from salmon and cucumber to eel and avocado. And there’s a choice of teppanyaki lunches from the kitchen ranging from $6.95 to $14.95.

My dining mates were daughter Gail Hagerty (GH) and granddaughter Carrie Sandstrom (CS). We were impressed by the King Crab Crunch Roll ($13.95). It came with crab, white tuna and salmon. It was served with spicy mayo and the ponzu sauce, which is considered a must for Kobe’s fans.

A crab and cucumber salad was the choice of CS. It is presented in a nice crunchy and spicy mayonnaise blend. My choice of the California roll seemed rather unadventurous, but it often suits my fancy.

And this was as good as they come. I especially like the appropriate serving dishes for each order. Japanese servers are knowledgeable and helpful.

Kobe’s draws customers during the dinner hour who prefer the relative quiet of the regular seating. There is more merriment and more groups around the sushi bar with chefs busily preparing orders.

The extensive menu, the cheery ambiance would draw me back to Kobe’s.

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Old Town Bistro

402 Main Street

Sterling, Colo.

Report card: A small town cafe with local ownership and a menu that brings people back. Located in the heart of Sterling.

In a fine old brick building where people used to buy Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles, they are now eating very good food. The Old Time Bistro is located in a 1926 vintage brick building in the heart of the city. It was for decades the General Motors dealership.

In its first couple of years, the Old Time Bistro has won approval of the community. Customers come in the morning for coffee. At noon, they show up for lunch that seems to be a cut above other places because of the quality and presentation of favorite foods.

The Old Town Bistro has a bar and lounge where some prefer to eat dinner. It has a small coffee shop with a couple of tall tables where there are home baked cupcakes, bagels, croissants, dinner rolls, breads and bars. And there’s a window right off the bakery for those who want to get their coffee on the run.

It is unlike any other restaurant I have seen. It was so inviting that we gathered up the relatives for lunch. My choice was chili, which was excellent but not quite hot enough to suit my taste. Grandson Curtis Werner (CW) was more than pleased with a burger that seemed better by far to him than the usual run-of-the-mill fare.

There was something on the menu for all of us. Everything seemed just a cut above fare found in most restaurants. Salads are made with a nice mixture of greens — none of this iceberg lettuce alone and unadorned.

The place is pleasant with the big display windows. It is so spacious that there is no clutter or clanking.