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Grant Grill Bar Menu

Agree about their cocktails, but I was on a mission and wine sounded like a better match with the steak.

about 3 hours ago
DoctorChow in San Diego

Grant Grill Bar Menu

I didn't keep the receipt, but the bill before tip was 31, so maybe the total before tax was about 29. I had a glass of house Cabernet, which was $6 (HR price), so the steak plus fries would have been 23. The fries are 7, so that makes the skirt steak after the $2 HR discount 16, meaning they charged the old price for the steak itself. Which was fine with me. I was glad to get what I wanted.

No, I failed to ask for the bread, and didn't remember it until I re-read your original post. My mistake. Seems like they'd just bring it, though, or offer.

I also enjoyed the dark sauce under the steak. I usually abhor steak sauces, but this one actually worked very well, and there was just a touch of it, on one side, just right. Made for nice presentation, too.

about 3 hours ago
DoctorChow in San Diego

Grant Grill Bar Menu

I was determined to have the skirt steak and parmesan fries at the Grant Grill Lounge today, even though they've (just) changed their menu, and skirt steak is no longer a separate item. It's now an add-on with either a Caesar or "artisan" salad. But hey, this is the Grant, and *of course* they accommodated my request. They didn't bring out any of that complimentary focaccia bread, though. :(

The small skirt steak was perfectly cooked (ordered rare) and delicious. They brought it to me with a tiny arugula salad, which was a nice touch -- not surprising. I have to say I wasn't very excited by the fries, but they were tasty enough and came with a flavorful dipping sauce.

Next time when I'm in the mood for the skirt steak here, I think I'll just go ahead and order the "artisan" salad, and add the steak. That would come to just $20 with the happy hour (until 7 pm) discount. Unless they change the menu again before I return.

about 20 hours ago
DoctorChow in San Diego

visiting Foodie on moderate budget seeks suggestions

Could do worse than Mountain View. Gonna miss you, "MVH".

1 day ago
DoctorChow in San Diego

visiting Foodie on moderate budget seeks suggestions

Hmmmm....

1 day ago
DoctorChow in San Diego

visiting Foodie on moderate budget seeks suggestions

Here are some additional favorite small places that won't break the bank:

RakiRaki on Convoy for ramen;

Salt & Cleaver in Hillcrest for bratwurst;

Thai Papaya in Linda Vista for yen ta fo, khao soi chicken, or som tom;

J&T Thai on the same street (spicy lime salad with shrimp, or pork stew rice);

Pho Hoa, also on the same street, for pho tai or pho bo kho;

Cucina Basillico for great house-made pasta;

Qi Wei Kitchen for Chinese;

Ototo Sushi for nigiri and small plates (kimchee, garlic edamame, gyoza, negi chashu);

K-Sandwiches for seriously good and dirt cheap bahn mi thit nuong;

and finally, Iceskimo on Convoy for delicious shaved ice

2 days ago
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

Fair enough, Kirk.

A comment on the ubiquitous vinegar. Yes, every Chinese place has a dark-colored vinegar on the table or will get some for you, but the one at Dumpling Hut had a special aspect to it, at least in my experience. The flavor was deep, dark, soft, sweet -- and perhaps slightly herbal. I thought it was unusual, and special for that, and it added a lot.

I enjoyed the food at Dumpling Hut tonight, so I'm glad to hear there's a higher level of quality yet to be discovered (by me, that is). I'll look forward to experiencing that some day.

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

Sorry to hear you've been disappointed by Dumpling Hut. My impression is very different. Perhaps dipping in that dark-colored sweet vinegar and chili oil is what made the difference for me. Actually I usually like vinegar and oil with dumplings, which can often be fairly plain without.

I got good service when I went, but it was close to 8 pm, and there were just a few other customers, so I had pretty much the full attention of the staff and owner. My food came quickly and tasted very fresh.

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

Sumptuous. That's the best word to describe the food I just had at Dumpling Hut.

I guess I'm pretty impressionable, because I hadn't planned to check this place out until later in the week. But after your post, suddenly dumplings were what I was craving.

Dumpling Hut is a small place just two doors down from Qi Wei Kitchen, in a spot that used to house a hamburger place. And like Qi Wei, it's very spartan inside.

I ordered pork and fennel dumplings, and xiao long bao buns.

The fennel dumplings came first, a generous serving (maybe 15 of them), and they were simply delectable. They did benefit from some of the exotic, dark-colored (and dark tasting) sweet vinegar that's on the table. I was also offered some chili sauce, a mildly spicy oil with red chili flakes and some minced garlic. The dumplings didn't need spiciness, but the chili oil was nice for dipping. I think they also have sesame oil if you want. The filling was nice and juicy, with a wonderful fennel flavor; perfectly done.

The server insisted that XLB are not dumplings, but "buns", and they're listed under that heading on their menu. "Dumplings", strictly speaking (here, anyway) are relatively small chubby-shaped things, and "buns" are larger, with the shape and appearance of large white chocolate kisses. Whatever the classification, these were just great. Lots of juice inside, and flavorful, very moist large meatballs. Once again I dipped them into the sweet vinegar mixed with a little of the chili oil.

The wrappers on both dishes I had were as good as they get, IMO. Sturdy, soft, tasty. They held up well throughout the time I was eating, yet weren't tough or overly chewy.

I will definitely return.

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

No, haven't been there. Sounds good. Noted.

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

The short list is El Agave for tacos; Grant Grill Lounge for skirt steak and parmesan fries; A.R. Valentien for Heirloom Salad; Cocina 35 downtown; Park & Rec for a burger; Sovereign Kitchen (Vietnamese); Kitchen 4140 (haven't been in a while); Blue Ribbon Pizza (after the fair ends).

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

Dumpling Hut is on my list for this week.

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Chad White rumored to be on Top Chef

That's really great, except for the part that he'll be away from the kitchen for two months...

Jun 30, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Pizzeria Mozza - closing

Apologies and with due respect, ElC, but I can't understand why you, knowing what I think I do from your posts, wouldn't like the pizza at Buona Forchetta.

I really don't think there's a lot of hype going on there. It always seems to be very low profile that way.

Jun 23, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

I don't see that "house-made" is any different in grammatical structure, even if slang, than the parallel term "home-made" is for things one makes at home from scratch. Except that "home" isn't quite right for a restaurant; "house" is more suitable.

I'm no expert in grammar, either. But I'm guessing that it's something else about the term "house-made", other than grammar, that somehow irks ipse.

Jun 23, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

Not to digress too far from the essence of your post, but what's the issue with the term "house-made", if I may ask? And how is "house-made" different from "made-in-house", except that the latter is turned around and requires one more word?

Jun 23, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

I had BBQ on my mind for some reason, so stopped into the new Mike’s in Clairemont, which may have just opened a little earlier in the day.

The interior is really quite nice for a BBQ joint, and has an interesting layout. One side has full service and a bar; the other side is self-service. The full service side has wood tables, many of them high, while the self-service side has booths. The greeter asks at the door which side you want to be on. There were dozens of taps at the bar, and eight TVs, all with sports. The sound was low, though, so not so bad. I sat on the self-service side.

I ordered a brisket sandwich at the counter, which comes with a small side. The brisket came on a square ciabatta roll (one of three options), which tasted a little on the “day-old” side, but held up very well throughout the meal, a plus. The brisket was tender-juicy, another plus. I asked for the “spicy” sauce (it wasn’t) on it, and the sandwich came with just the right amount, meaning not too much. I was offered more (in little cups) when I picked up the order.

The meat had just a slight touch of mesquite flavor, and lacked that rich beefy taste that I associate with excellent brisket. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a knockout.

I also had cole slaw on my mind today, so that’s what I got as a side. Given that it was a “small” side, the serving was generous. The slaw itself was very fresh but ordinary, and needed some hot sauce on it. What? No hot sauce on the tables (or anywhere else)? Black pepper had to do.

Will I go back? Sure. I’d like to try the pulled pork and some other things. Does it fill the “Coops gap” in the area? No, but I didn't expect that.

Jun 23, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Dickey's BBQ?

Actually, when there's hot sauce on the table and I get cole slaw, I'll usually add some, unless the cole slaw is particularly good by itself (which most aren't). El Yucateco red chile habanero sauce, which was on the tables at LW's for example, is really good on cole slaw.

I think you're a nascent chili-head, cstr!

Jun 23, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Dickey's BBQ?

No, I haven't been to these yet, except Iron Pig, like you.

Mark's has been on my list since I heard about it from a friend not too long ago. Sounds good. Whole Hog is mainly pork (surprise), which I like, but have to be in the right mood. Will try sometime. As to Ranch, well if I'm going to drive that far for BBQ, I figure I might as well just keep going and eat at Coops, which I know I'll enjoy, unless Ranch turns out to be really special -- I'll wait for a CH report.

It's an interesting list, worth re-posting here. Thanks.

Jun 23, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Best dumplings in San Diego are at Lezzet Cafe

I think J&T is a pretty good little place, but no, they really don't seem to know "Thai hot" the way Sab-E-Lee does. There are some chilies in jars on the counter, so when I get something there and it needs more heat, that's Plan B. Or maybe I should say Plan A, because it always needs more heat there. Alas, adding chilies from a jar at any Thai restaurant is never as good as when the chilies/oil were added during cooking.

Jun 22, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Lunch outside today

Maybe Fathom, if you can score an outside table.

Jun 21, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego
1

Bracero

As a follow-up, my companion and the others she was with at Finca Altozano on Friday shared a number of things on the menu (including the borrego), and what was her favorite? The "octopus dish"!

Jun 21, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Pizzeria Mozza - closing

That was my take as well from the Eater article and Flour & Barley's website. Pretty expensive, but I'm sure I'll try it at least once when it opens.

The outdoor patio area in the Las Vegas location is attractive, I think, and something similar would fit in well at Headquarters.

Jun 20, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Best dumplings in San Diego are at Lezzet Cafe

That's another one.

Jun 20, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Best dumplings in San Diego are at Lezzet Cafe

Uh huh. Yeah, yeah. :-)

Well, not *everything* has to be spicy for me to enjoy it. Far from it.

When a dish depends on chilies to express intended flavor and impact, then yes, definitely. Pour them on! And I'm glad I've developed a tolerance so that I can fully enjoy them. But no, not everything.

And, to get to the point, dumplings are one of those things that are in the "but no, not everything" category.

Jun 19, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Best dumplings in San Diego are at Lezzet Cafe

And...

Jun 19, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Bracero

Let's hope we'll find that on the Bracero menu, as well.

Jun 19, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Bracero

Hah! As it turns out, coincidentally my companion was in Ensenada today (with others). She said the plan was to have lunch at Finca Altozano, a Placencia place in the Valle that's billed as an "asador campestre". I've not been there, and haven't heard back from her yet, but my curiosity was piqued because of today's discussion about Bracero. So I was looking on Finca Altozano's website and their menu includes things like "borrego de rancho a la caja china". Now *that's* something I hope he's bringing here! Sounds like it, from what you said.

Jun 19, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

steakhouse for a group of guys

Well, no, Cowboy Star isn't in the Gaslamp, but nearby. Like Donovan's, it's definitely not "cheap bar food". Excellent steaks, although I personally prefer Donovan's.

Actually, though, for a "a fun scene", they might like the Strip Club, provided they understand who the steak chef will be.

Jun 19, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego

Bracero

This gets more interesting by the minute.

Jun 19, 2015
DoctorChow in San Diego