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La Bonne Table

"We left thinking that a person would probably enjoy the food if they weren't familiar with French bistro cooking"

That is, of course, a huge customer base...

Nov 25, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Ototo Sushi Co.

Second time out to Ototo today, and had another enjoyable lunch.

Of the three "small plates" I ordered, the standout was the Gyoza, a half dozen or so lightly fried delectable dumplings served with a complimenting dipping sauce. Just delightful.

The thin-sliced Pork Negi Chashu, a serving of five or six pieces, was very tender and good, but I thought it tasted much better when dipped in soy sauce. (They have two kinds of shoyu, regular and low sodium, color coded. Red is regular.)

The Shishito Peppers were also very good. A generous serving; I think there must have been at least 30 of them in the bowl. Pretty darn spicy chilies, sautéed, and with a nice sauce.

I've yet to have sashimi or sushi rolls here, but since it looks like I'm going to be a frequent customer, there's plenty of time.

Just wish they'd turn those darn TVs off, or at least do what Sirena was doing when ElC visited -- a slow-cycle slide show of menu items. No one was watching the TVs anyway.

Nov 25, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

The Underrated- what's yours?

Never been to the Keil's in San Carlos, but the salad bar at the one in Clairemont/Bay Park is definitely the best in that area.

Nov 25, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

The Underrated- what's yours?

I don't know much about chefs, but I'd read about Kurt Metzger's background in the news after his unfortunate accident and subsequent personal struggles. One thing that it seems he didn't lose was his vision for creating dishes using what's fresh and available. Vision goes beyond memory.

Nov 25, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

The Underrated- what's yours?

Yes, he has vision, it seems.

Nov 24, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

One week in November with little kids - where should we eat?

Thanks for the feedback. Your OP instigated a pretty good thread!

Hope future adventures are equally fun.

Nov 24, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

Turns out I really didn't need a huge amount of gutsiness the way the “pork leg stew rice” is served at J&T. Once I saw it, in fact, I recognized it as something I'd had before. I'll admit I had to look up the name, though: It's “khao kha moo”, if I'm right.

Here the stewed pork leg is served in slices; in fact, there was only one very small bone and then only on one piece. Very tender, tasty meat, with a delicate sweet, fruit-like background flavor from the broth it was stewed in.

It was served on rice and with a small cup of a sweet hot sauce on the side that had lots of fresh minced garlic in it. I ate part of the dish without and part with the hot sauce, to taste the difference. This dish doesn't really need the hot sauce -- it’s good just by itself -- but I preferred it with the flavor that this particular hot sauce added, and ended up getting a second little cup.

Some kind of blanched green leafy vegetable came on the side. Whatever it was, it added a nice fresh vegetable flavor to offset the meat and rice and add balance to the dish, as did the halved, cold hard-boiled egg.

This is another dish I’ll return for. Thanks for the suggestion, cstr.

Nov 24, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

The Underrated- what's yours?

Agree with ipse on Kitchen 4140, and will add Daofu and Cantina Mayahuel. All excellent in what they do IMO, but rarely mentioned.

Nov 23, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

The Underrated- what's yours?

Sidebar: Since you mentioned JSix, I found out the hard way today that they no longer serve lunch, which I thought was their strong point after their "reinvention". Went there today and there weren't any diners at all for the brunch. Granted, there was a game on.

Had lunch instead at Comun down the street...then back to JSix for drinks and to watch part of the game. I could do without TVs at JSix, as in most places, but at least they're positioned so that people at tables can't see them.

And now, back to the thread...

Nov 23, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

I also can see J&T expanding. It's that kind of place: Tasty fast Asian food and a nice casual atmosphere.

Nov 22, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

I'm definitely game to try the pork leg stew rice. And will.

Nov 22, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Restaurants on par with Cucina Urbana

Hmmm... Isn't Del Mar in Ventura County?

Nov 21, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Restaurants on par with Cucina Urbana

Yes, of course. I guess I was thinking south of the merge.

If OP wants something that's not dissimilar to CU and wants to go north, this would certainly be a good addition to the list.

Nov 21, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

I just posted a response to BC about my "bush league" remark (below), which I herewith retract, but I was talking about the food; I like the atmosphere.

My impressions of J&T are pretty much the same as they were last year when I posted about it here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9185...

Postscript: Truth be told, I was actually heading to J&T for lunch yesterday to get another round of that great chicken soup (and might have bumped into BC there) but ended up stopping off at MXN on Morena instead.

Nov 21, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

Well, ok, "bush-league" was a little harsh, but I was really just comparing J&T to other Thai places in the same area that -- in my opinion -- are better and not much more expensive.

And if one takes Lourdes out of the equation for the reason you cited (yes, I get it), then J&T's chicken noodle soup is the hands-down best I've had -- since Mom's, of course (which is then comparing apples to oranges to pears).

Nov 21, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego
1

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

I'm glad you liked it, but don't you think J&T is kinda bush-league compared to Sab-E-Lee up the street? Koon's is a superior option in that area of town, too -- IMO.

Except, of course, for the dynamite chicken noodle soup at J&T! Hard to beat that one in SD! Maybe Lourde's can compete, but it's a long way to drive for soup, way up there in (shsssh, hidden!) Escondido.

Nov 20, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Achiote chicken california burrito?

Happily, this MXN location once again has those great grilled yellow chilies and yummy grilled scallions and onions, both of which are freshly made and still warm, and put out ever so informally on the counter adjoining the condiments bar.

A carnitas tostada, slathered with their salsa brava and accompanied by tons of these and other condiments, made for a tasty lunch today and set me back all of $4, including tax.

Nov 20, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Restaurants on par with Cucina Urbana

Well, there's only one Cucina Urbana, but here are a few other places you might enjoy:

Urban Solace, JSix, Juniper & Ivy, Tidal.

Nov 20, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread Numero Tres.

First experience here was very nice. Excellent black squid pasta with a seafood mix. Delightful.

Nov 19, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Sirena Little Italy

Ye: "...small portions, but every bite was impactful."

Me: "I'll take small impactful portions over the alternative every time."

Sounds like a very nice meal.

Sirena is on my list.

[Panic attack!! Will I ever make it to the bottom of My List? Will those places still be there when I finally visit?]

BTW. True confessions is it? Aren't you a proponent of dressing classy to dine?

Nov 19, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

La Jolla Thanksgiving

Only time I've been I had a grilled beet salad of some sort and it was pretty good. My recollection is that it was reasonably priced.

Never have ordered/picked-up food there.

Nov 19, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

North County: Searching for holiday dinner resto to please the in-laws...

'Twas the day of Christmas

And all through the town

Not a restaurant was open

Not even (oh, you know, pretty much everybody)

Nov 19, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Sirena Little Italy

Did you prefer the food here over what Berta's has to offer, putting aside the differences in menu emphasis between the two?

Nov 19, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Pizzeria Mozza--Underwhelmed

I think Old Town is a nice place to take a walk and people-watch. We go from time to time for that and try to score a corner table on the elevated patio at Cantina Coyote, where we order margs in tumblers "en las rocas", enjoy the fresh air, and watch people go by on the sidewalk.

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Nominate your favorite restaurants in San Diego for "Best of 2014."

The silence on this thread is deafening.

Could this be due to (a) the general disdain for “best of” lists by many of the ‘hounds in SD -- including me? Or maybe (b) the many restaurant business affiliations of active posters? Or (c) both of the above?

I’m happy to downselect one uber-favorite restaurant from among all my favorites (which is the same as BC’s, as it happens, so there you have it). But do I want to generate a list of favorites in many categories?

No, I don't think I do. And is that even what’s being asked for? The wording of the OP can be interpreted in more than one way.

I think I’ll sit this one out.

Time to reboot?

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Nominate your favorite restaurants in San Diego for "Best of 2014."

Are you asking for just one favorite per person, or a list of favorites per person?

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Ototo Sushi Co.

The ambience in this smallish place is nice enough, with some of the tables along a long high bench, some regular tables, and seats at the sushi bar. And a small shared patio. I could do without the TVs, but at least the sound is off.

I sat at one of the tables along the bench. Fast friendly attentive service.

The sautéed garlic edamame was quite good, as was the tuna nigiri. The red tonkotsu ramen, which was my "main course" at lunch, was served with a soft-boiled halved egg, and roast pork slices. (There's a chicken option, too.)

The mildly spicy soup was ok but not a standout, and the meat was a little tough. I'm certainly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on that considering it was their first full day open.

Washed everything down with a Coronado Brewing Mermaid's Red, which paired very well with all.

I'll be back.

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Stew. Daube. Hearty Soups. Chili con Carne (not ramen or pho)

Eater put up a pretty good list of places for hearty soups today:

http://sandiego.eater.com/maps/the-sc...

OK, two of them are pho and ramen, but that still leaves six that aren't.

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Pizzeria Mozza--Underwhelmed

It does surprise me that with the substantial Mexican population in LV there aren't a bunch of decent Mexican restaurants there. Instead, there aren't *any* decent Mexican restaurants there at all.

Anyway, my comment about LV was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego

Pizzeria Mozza--Underwhelmed

Yes, but I was excluding CV and thinking about SD proper, as I said. And no, my vision most definitely doesn't rest with burritos.

I suppose Olde Towne is as close as it gets to a clustered Mexican restaurant enclave, but other than El Agave, I never go there for Mexican food.

A more "real" area is bounded roughly by 805/15 and El Cajon/University, where we have El Comal, Super Cocina, Pancho Villa, Northgate...and lots of other little places. But they're not clustered.

Nov 18, 2014
DoctorChow in San Diego