Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gorilla Korean Fusion Restaurant

Rating: Two sideways thumbs
Date: 12/19/10
Time in:
5:50 PM
Time out: 6:55 PM
Server's recommendations: Beef bulgogi, kalbi short ribs, spicy seafood dduk bae gi (spicy seafood soup with tofu), boo dae jji gae (lots of ham, ramen, sausage, veggie stew)
What we ordered: Boo dae jji gae, corn cheese
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $18.48
  • Panchan is served at the beginning.  Delicious cucumber pickles.
  • Good sticky rice.
  • The stew included more than it said -- there were also rice cakes and tofu.   
  • One soup is enough for two. 
  • The corn cheese is greasy and delicious, but easy enough to recreate at home.  We suspect that it's nothing but corn, mayonnaise, sugar, and a ton of melted cheese, baked in an oven.
  • The Korean pop music is really loud and terrible (in Miko's opinion) / terribly awesome (in Jenne's opinion).
Address: 4688 Convoy St, Ste 112 (Plaza del Sol)
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- spaces available.
Ideal group size: 2-8
Available vegetarian options: Corn cheese
Noise level: 4
Chopsticks: On the table (both metal and wood)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet

Meat buffet!
Just a few of the many things to grill.
Delicious side dishes!
On the grill.
Unexpectedly delicious ice cream.
Rating: Two thumbs up!
Date: 12/12/10
Time in:
5:40 PM
Time out: 6:45 PM
Server's recommendations: N/A
What we ordered: All-you-can-eat buffet
Number in our party: 3
Final check amount: $67.86 ($19.99 buffet for each person; rice, miso soup, and soft serve included.)
  • We really didn't know what to expect when we walked in, but it turned out to be a MAGICAL WONDERLAND.  There are about 100 different things to grill!  Plus many sauces.
  • Side dishes: potato salad, bean sprouts, spinach, kimchi, many more!
  • Meats: beef brisket, top sirloin, marinated pork, marinated chicken, mussels, shrimp, liver, etc.
  • Vegetables: tofu, onions, carrots, mushrooms, corn, etc. 
  • Interactive and fun.
  • The rice is very good -- it was the sticky shiny kind.
  • The soft serve didn't come with toppings, but it didn't need them.  It was creamy and delicious.
  • Friendly service.  They offered to change out the grill.  
  • There may be a wait for your table.  We accidentally jumped the line because we thought they were saying "Miko" instead of "Nico" but they let us stay because Nico hadn't shown up.
Address: 4690 Convoy St, Ste 104 (Plaza del Sol)
Phone number: 858.292.4670

Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- spaces available.
Ideal group size: 4-6
Available vegetarian options: Many vegetarian side dishes.  Tofu and vegetables to grill. 
Noise level: 4

Friday, December 3, 2010

San Tong Palace

Boiled dumplings.

Mapo tofu.

Spicy noodle soup.
Excellent fortune cookie.

Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 12/3/10
Time in:
1:40 PM
Time out: 2:30 PM
Server's recommendations: Dumplings, spicy noodle soup
What we ordered: Boiled dumplings, mapo tofu, spicy noodle soup
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $32.50
  • The tofu was flavorful, delicious, and comforting.  Recommended!
  • The server was nice -- it felt like a friend's mom was cooking me dinner.
  • The tea tasted like pancake syrup, only not sweet.  But in a good way.
  • Free kimchi to start.
  • Good rice.
  • Spicy dishes were on the milder side -- they weren't overpowering.
  • The fortune cookies were very goodThey were made of thicker wafers and came unwrapped on a plate.  And the paper slips inside were actually fortunes, not lame-o proverbs or advice.
Address: 4690 Convoy St, Ste 105 (Plaza del Sol)
Phone number: 858.571.6837
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- spaces available
Ideal group size: 4-6 for everyday dining, but there are party rooms available.
Available vegetarian options: They have a large "Vegetables" section in the menu, which includes Buddha's delight, moo shu vegetables, and three mushroom tofu.  But the dishes might be made with meat or fish-based broth, so we would recommend double-checking.
Noise level: 2

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spicy City Chinese Restaurant

Shredded pork with Szechuan peppers
Deep fried chicken cubes
Cold noodles
Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 11/19/10
Time in:
7:30 PM
Server's recommendations: Twice-cooked pork with garlic shoots, casseroles, deep-fried chicken cubes, shredded pork with Szechuan peppers
What we ordered: Cold noodles, shredded pork with Szechuan peppers, deep-fried chicken cubes, sauteed baby bok choi
Number in our party: 3
Final check amount: $36.84
  • Expect a line--we had to wait about 15 min.
  • Most of the food was just okay, but the cold noodles were SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS that it made the trip worthwhile.  When we go again, we're just going to each get an order of that and inhale it.
  • The server was very knowledgeable and had lots of recommendations.  We got the feeling he had literally tried everything on the menu.  And the menu is, in a word, extensive.
  • It was very like Ba Ren, only the flavors were more American-friendly.  Sweeter, maybe.
  • The deep-fried chicken cubes were very spicy.  Miko had to eat them with the baby bok choi.
Address: 4690 Convoy St, Ste 107 (Plaza del Sol)
Phone number: 858.278.1100
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza--spaces available
Ideal group size: 2-8
Available vegetarian options: There are a number of vegetable-only dishes, but make sure to ask because there can be hidden meat.
Who not to bring: People who can't eat spicy food -- there are non-spicy options, but the really good stuff is spicy.
Noise level: 3.5

Manna Bakery

Okay, so at last I will tell the story of Manna Bakery.  It was such a weird experience that we didn't really know what to say, but Miko insisted that I at least write something, so here goes:

As you know, part of the rules says that if we want dessert, we have to go to the next available dessert place.  And after our lunch at Dokdo Sushi, we wanted dessert, so we were excited to see that there was a bakery right there in the same plaza.  Hooray! we thought.  We can try some fabulous Korean desserts, whatever they might be!

It looks like it should be a bakery, right?
 So we went inside.  Inside, we found what looked like someone's house, with a large dining table, a couch, and a guy in an armchair with a giant cleaver and a big pile of roots. There was also a woman helping him.  Huh, we thought. Those look like gobo.  (Not a dessert food, as far as we know.)  There were also a lot of refrigerators with what looked like banchan in them.

Cleaver guy.
We felt very awkward, like we had accidentally walked into someone's living room, but since we were there to conquer, we forged ahead.So we asked him, Hey, what's that?  And he said, Gobo. 

Then, the door opened and two old white guys came in and looked around, confused, and asked the guy, Hey, what are those?  And we said, Gobo. 

The old guys apparently also felt awkward, and left, but we were there for dessert and by god we were going to get something, so we asked them, what do you have? 

This is what they had.

So we bought something that looked like mochi with kinako, and I (apparently in tourist mode) was like, HEY CAN I TAKE YOUR PICTURE? and then we left quickly, feeling like we had entirely missed the point.  Soooo...we don't recommend Manna Bakery as a bakery, but maybe it has some other purpose that we're not aware of.

This was $5, and not very good.

Dokdo Sushi

Salmon tempura roll.

Hot kiss roll!  Scandalous!
Side salad.
Miso soup.
Sushi guy.
Rating: Two sideways thumbs.  We actually had to come up with a "neutral thumbs" category for this restaurant, because while we didn't think any of the food was bad, exactly, we also wouldn't make any special effort to go back.  It was all just okay.  It's the kind of place you would go to if you worked nearby, but you wouldn't make a special trip.
Date: 12/3/10
Time out: After about a half hour?
Server's recommendations: Sushi lunch specials.
What we ordered: Hot kiss roll, salmon tempura roll (lunch special came with one special roll, spicy tuna/California roll, salad, and miso soup).
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $32.50
  • The server was very nice and helpful (as almost all the servers we've encountered so far have been).
  • There's a whole Korean side of the menu that we didn't even try.
  • The tuna in the spicy tuna roll was a little mushy.
Address: 4690 Convoy St, Ste 108 (Plaza del Sol)
Phone number: 858.278.1100

Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- spaces available
Ideal group size: 1-6 for everyday dining, but there are party rooms available.
Available vegetarian options: Some vegetarian sushi options
Noise level: 2
Chopsticks: Provided without us asking  

Friday, November 5, 2010

China Max

Beef rice noodle.
BBQ pork buns.
Shrimp and spinach dumplings.
Shrimp har gow.
Baked custard buns.
Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 11/5/10
Time in:
12:50 PM
Time out: 1:50 PM
Server's recommendations: Shrimp har gow
What we ordered: Shrimp and spinach dumplings, shrimp har gow, beef rice noodle, steamed BBQ pork buns, baked custard buns (We ordered from the Dim Sum menu but they have a lot of other things.)
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $21.40
  • The server was a very friendly and helpful "kind of adorable" older man.
  • We liked the shrimp and spinach dumplings best, but everything was good.
  • The bathroom was clean, but shabby.
  • Small plates were about $2.75, large were $4.50.
  • It has a very nice atmosphere (white tablecloths, nice patio).  You could come here for a celebration, but it's not too expensive and we didn't feel out of place in jeans.
Address: 4698 Convoy St
Phone number: 858.650.3333
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-11pm; Sat-Sun 9am-11pm
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- spaces available.
Ideal group size: Any -- they even have banquet space upstairs.  Most of the dim sum came in multiples of 3, so keep that in mind.
Available vegetarian options: Mainly sweets; a few vegetable dishes.
Who not to bring: People who hate Chinese food?  Otherwise this would be a great place to bring almost anyone, including in-laws, children (if more or less well-behaved) or unadventurous eaters.
Noise level: 2
Chopsticks: On the table; no forks offered.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BBQ Chicken - CLOSED

Teri-Q wings.

Chicken porridge.

All restaurants should have this.
Rating: One thumb up (Jenne), one sideways thumb (Miko)
Date: 10/17/10
Time in:
6:00 PM
Time out: 6:57 PM
Server's recommendations: Sweet and spicy wings, Teri-Q Gold wings
What we ordered: Teri-Q Gold wings (10pc), chicken porridge
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $19.02
  • The food tastes like it's been coated in MSG, much like savory Japanese snacks.  [But in a good way!--JB]
  • The chicken porridge feels like comfort food that you'd want if you're feeling worn down.  The portion was of enormous size.  It could use some shichimi.
  • The Teri-Q is slightly spicy, even though it doesn't say so.
  • Nice server system, where you can ring a bell if you need them.  They come within 10 seconds.
  • Average bathroom.
Address: 4768 Convoy St
Phone number: 858.571.3333
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5pm-12am; Fri-Sat 12pm-2am; Sun 12pm-11pm
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Small private lot, lots of street parking
Ideal group size: 2-8
Available vegetarian options: No entrees that we could see. Vegetarians would be stuck nibbling side dishes.
Who not to bring: Vegetarians; those who have to limit their salt intake; people who think they are allergic to MSG; kids if you're afraid of profanity (the music is loud and uncensored)
Noise level: 3.5
Chopsticks: Just forks on the table, and there was no mention of them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yakitori Yakyudori

Shoyu ramen.
Fried rice.

Chicken katsu skewers.
Rating: Two thumbs up!
Date: 10/3/10
Server's recommendations: Karamiso ramen, shoyu ramen, hatsu (chicken hearts)
What we ordered: Shoyu ramen, shoyu ramen with corn and butter, large fried rice, hatsu (2 skewers), teriyaki chicken bowl, chicken katsu (2 skewers)
Number in our party: 3
Final check amount: $38.06

Address: 4898 Convoy St, Ste 101
Phone number: 858.268.2888
Hours: 11:30am-12:00am, 7 days a week
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot w/ plentiful spaces
Ideal group size: 2-4
Available vegetarian options: Not a lot.  Roasted vegetable skewers, eggs, yakko (cold tofu).  Lots of pescatarian options.  
Who not to bring: Vegetarians
Noise level: 3.5
Chopsticks: On the table for everyone

Data To Be Noted For Each Location

Restaurant information
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Hours
  • Accepts credit cards?
  • Parking situation
  • Ideal group size
  • Available vegetarian options
  • Who not to bring
  • Noise level, on a scale from 1-5
            1 = Library
            2 = Nuclear family dinner
            3 = Church potluck
            4 = Preschool recess
            5 = Metallica concert

Our experience
  • Date
  • Number in our party
  • Time in and out
  • Server's recommendations
  • What we ordered
  • Final check amount
  • Thumbs up or down?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Rules

1. We'll be covering Convoy St. from Clairemont Mesa Blvd. to Aero Dr.  We'll go down the west side of Convoy first (north to south), and then we'll go up the east (south to north).
2. We must order at least one of the server's recommendations.
3. We can only choose to skip a restaurant if we have both eaten there.
4. We are allowed to skip chain restaurants.
5. If food is not the main business of the place, we do not have to go there (e.g. bars/karaoke spots that serve food).
6. If we would like something sweet after the meal, we have to try the dessert places/cafes in order.
7. We are not allowed to look up reviews beforehand.