Back from Hiatus – Tsuruhashi!

For those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been, I was flattened by a nasty little bug and then ran over by a final project for my class. But we’re much better (except for a lingering cough) and my project has been turned in.

So where did we leave off? *flips thru photos* Let’s review…Tsuruhashi!

Tsuruhashi is a Yakiniku place on Convoy Street in San Diego. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, think of Yakiniku as the Japanese version of Korean BBQ.  The restaurant is tucked away in a small shopping center filled with plenty of restaurants and very easy to miss.  I recommend you don’t as it was good eats.

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Tsuruhashi - interior

The interior is very small.  It’s filled with about 8 booths like in the picture and 3 tables.  Because of the size, or lack thereof, and the fact that they are only open for dinner, stick to small groups or go early.  Large groups should definitely go early so they can grab the 3 tables which are movable; otherwise, the group will end up being split between booths.  Tsuruhashi does not accept reservations and can get quite busy, especially on the weekends.

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Tsuruhashi - table grill

On each table is a grill.  In case you don’t know, Yakiniku involves you cooking your own food.  You order cuts of meat or seafood and grill them.  At Korean BBQ restaurants, side dishes (panchan) and rice is included.  At Tsuruhashi, you have to purchase these things separately.  My friend and I opted to skip the panchan and just order rice.  The panchan menu consisted of a variety of kimchis, seaweed, marinated garlic, and green leaf lettuce with a miso sauce.

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Tsuruhashi - Meat Special

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Tsuruhashi - Seafood Mix

Tsuruhashi’s menu boasts some wonderful cuts of meat.  There are a couple of US Kobe offerings, several types of USDA Prime beef, pork, chicken and some more exotic choices like organ meats, tripe and tongue.  There’s also a seafood mix and a couple of vegetable-only dishes.  They also offer some soup, noodle and rice dishes.

We noticed a special on the menu that’s offered only Monday thru Thursday before 8pm.  For $23, you get ribeye, skirt steak, boneless short rib and chicken.  My friend and I opted for that and an order of the seafood mix ($9.50).  The ribeye and skirt steak were not marinated. However, we were provided with two standard “sauces” to dip in.  I believe one was sesame-based.

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Tsuruhashi - Chicken and Boneless Short Rib

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Tsuruhashi - Ribeye and Skirt Steak

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Tsuruhashi - Shrimp

The beef had nice marbling and color.  Because the pieces weren’t big (two bites), they cooked quickly.  I recommend keeping an eye on the meat.  Otherwise, you may end up with overcooked beef and that would just be sad.  The ribeye and skirt steak were pretty tender; there definitely is a difference between grades and USDA Prime is gooood.  The short rib was a little tough and chewy, though, so that was a little disappointing.  The chicken was marinated and had good flavor.  This was a decent dish for people who want to sample a few different things or aren’t adventurous in trying the more exotic cuts like tongue.

The seafood was wonderfully fresh.  We grilled the salmon and calamari first.  The salmon was okay and really could have benefited from a marinade or even salt and pepper.  I love mussels and these were great.  The shrimp were huge.  Because they are whole, you do have to peel them.  The scallops seared quite nicely and were plump.  For the price, this was quite a good deal.

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Tsuruhashi - Black Sesame Ice Cream

The amount of food we ordered was decent for a comfortable meal.  However, I was enticed by the offering of black sesame ice cream ($1.50).  Having never encountered it before, I couldn’t pass this up.  I’m so glad I ordered a scoop as this was the highlight of the meal.  It reminded me of coffee ice cream without the acidity.  Not too sweet, creamy…a perfect way to end the meal.

The Catty Critic gives Tsuruhashi 4 NOMs.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ
3904 Convoy St
(between Kearny Mesa Rd & Ostrow St)
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-8929
http://www.tsuruhashibbq.com
Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ on Urbanspoon

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