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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Nozomi Sushi and Teriyaki

Nozomi

Nozomi

When Nozomi first opened, I used to come here a lot because their sushi rolls were cheap, tasty and HUUUUGE. As my taste buds migrated to preferring nigiri, I stopped coming here.  Last week, I wandered back for dinner last night with a friend. I noticed that while they still had their mile-long list of specialty rolls and non-sushi menu, they had added an “all you can eat” sushi option for $25-ish. Starving, my friend and I chose to try it out. BIG MISTAKE. I’ve been to different sushi restaurants in San Diego that had all you can eat options and was never disappointed…till now.

Nozomi - nigiri (scallops, salmon, albacore, hamachi, tuna, unagi)

Nozomi - nigiri (scallops, salmon, albacore, hamachi, tuna, unagi)

Nozomi - Rolls (Dragon and ???)

Nozomi - Rolls (Dragon and ???)

The nigiri and some of the rolls are half-portions, meaning instead of the usual two pieces of nigiri, you only get one. Not really a problem…just got to remember to mark twice as much as you wanted. The huge issue was the quality. It was like they wanted to get rid of whatever old fish they had lying around. The nigiri didn’t taste fresh at all and frankly, some of it was disgusting. The rolls were better because there were other things like sauce to mask some of that fishy flavor.

I ordered an amaebi nigiri and this was probably the most foul thing of the night. There was still a piece of shell. The flavor seemed…off and I almost spit it out. The shrimp head wasn’t fried enough either.

The quality of Nozomi seems to have gone down and yet this place was packed. Frankly, even though the rolls were still okay, after that horrible nigiri experience, I’m not sure I’m keen on coming back here.

The location in the La Jolla/UTC area (Nozomi 2) seems to still retain some sense of fish quality as only a couple of weeks before, I shared a sashimi platter with a coworker and was quite happy with it. I think I’ll stick with that location instead of the Convoy St. one. Also, there seems to be some differences in the menus between the two Nozomis.

I would have given Nozomi a higher rating before but after this visit, they only get 2 NOMs from the Catty Critic.

Nozomi
4637 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 569-7773
Nozomi Noodle & Teriyaki on Urbanspoon

OKAN revisited

After my first visit, I knew I had to come back to OKAN. And bring friends. More people must know about OKAN and eat there!

On my 2nd visit, the same coworker came along and I dragged two friends with us.  Since one of them was a pescatarian, we stuck mostly with vegetarian or fish dishes.  This time around, we ordered:
– 2 Kabocha pumpkin salads
– eggplant
– Braised pork – Nagasaki style ($8.50)
– Pan-fried pork homemade dumplings ($5.50)
– Grilled Hamachi cheek ($12.50)
– Green tea tiramisu
– Pudding with black honey
We also ended up with some grilled hamachi ($8.50) because the waitress didn’t realize we wanted the cheek.

So we ended up ordering pretty much all the same stuff as last time, but it’s because it was all amazingly delicious!!

OKAN - Kabocha salad

OKAN - Kabocha salad

The Kabocha pumpkin salad was as good as I remembered.  I pretty much ate almost an entire bowl on my own.  This is one of the “must order” dishes if you ever visit this restaurant.  There’s just something about the perfectly cooked kabocha paired with the crunchy cucumber and whatever seasoning they use that makes this dish magical.

OKAN - Egglplant

OKAN - Eggplant

The next dish was the eggplant.  We attacked the bowl before I got around to taking the picture.  While it does not look appetizing, it was pretty good.  The eggplant was nicely cooked and seasoned and had a lot of flavor though the texture was mushy.  I think this may be a “special” menu item rather than a regular one as I don’t recall seeing it last time I was dining here.

OKAN - Braised pork Nagasaki style

OKAN - Braised pork Nagasaki style

Here’s a much better picture than in the previous post of the Braised Pork Nagasaki style.  I would consider this another “must order” dish for OKAN diners.  This really showcases how well the chef(s) at this restaurant handle red meat.  The pork is perfectly cooked; it’s got lots of flavor and is never dry.  I like how they leave a thin layer of fat as that just adds to succulence of this dish.

OKAN - salt and green tea salt

OKAN - Salt and green tea salt

At this point, the waitress brought us grilled yellowtail.  We had ordered the cheek but that seemed to have gotten lost.  We told her we would eat it anyways since it was already at our table but we still wanted the cheek.  The grilled yellowtail (which I apologize for failing to nab a photo of…it was a beautiful piece of fish!) came with a side of salt and green tea salt.  I didn’t think the fish needed it as it was already seasoned well and had a bit of a soy sauce-based glaze on it.  I had to try the green tea salt.  Sadly, green tea being such a mild flavor, you didn’t really taste it.

OKAN - pan fried pork dumplings

OKAN - Pan-fried pork dumplings

OKAN - pan-fried pork dumpling

OKAN - Pan-fried pork dumpling filling

The homemade pan-fried pork dumplings arrived shortly after we devoured the grilled yellow tail.  These were nicely fried with a crispy bottom.  The wrapper was not sticky or chewy and the filling was moist.  As you can see, there’s quite a bit of green stuff in there.  I think that overpowered the pork a little.  Not the best dumplings I’ve had but better than some I’ve had at other places.  If these were home-made, I couldn’t tell, because they were assembled as neatly as the store bought ones.  The only thing that would convince me that this was home-made is the filling as I’ve never tasted anything quite like it.  I’m not sure what the green vegetable in it was but it had a slightly peculiar taste I was not familiar with.  I would have asked but the waitresses barely spoke English. Most of the patrons are Japanese, which, in my book, is a sure sign that OKAN serves good and authentic cuisine.

OkAN - Grilled Hamachi Cheek

OkAN - Grilled hamachi cheek

Our hamachi cheek arrived and it was just as good as last time.  Consistency!!  The top skin was cooked to a crisp; the meat inside was moist.  And as before, this was a huge serving.  The four of us did a number on this dish but we were already getting full from the previous entrees.  One thing about OKAN is that even though you think you’re not getting a lot because the servings seem small and you’re sharing, you’re actually getting quite a lot of good food for a great price.

OKAN - green tea tiramisu

OKAN - Green tea tiramisu

OKAN - pudding with black honey

OKAN - Pudding with black honey

This time, they had the green tea tiramisu available.  We ordered that as well as the pudding with black honey.

The green tea tiramisu suffered an assault from 4 spoons before I remembered to take a picture so the perfect square was ruined.  However, you can see the nice green tea layers and the fluffiness of the lady fingers.  This was a tasty and light dessert.  You could actually taste the green tea which was nice.  However, I think the pudding is better.  The black honey…mmmmmm. For dessert, the pudding is imperative.

Overall, this was a better meal than my first visit because we didn’t have that horrible tuna and avocado roll.  The service was spectacular as always minus the order mix-up which actually turned out to be beneficial for us because we got to eat another great dish!

OKAN gets upgraded to 5 NOMs!!!

Wa Dining OKAN
3860 Convoy St., #110
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-0941
http://okanus.com
Wa Dining Okan on Urbanspoon

Decent inexpensive sushi in San Diego – Convoy Sushi & Fish Market

If you want decent inexpensive sushi, you can’t go wrong with Convoy Sushi & Fish Market.  I went here for lunch with some coworkers. One of them and I split
– a Rainbow box
– 3 orders of nigiri
– Kalbi appetizer
– two handrolls
and were comfortably full.

Convoy Sushi & Fish Market - Rainbow Box

Convoy Sushi & Fish Market - Rainbow Box

The Rainbow box contains a rainbow roll, half a spicy tuna roll, some edamame and seaweed salad…all for $5. You can’t get a rainbow roll for $5 at most sushi restaurants! I won’t lie, this wasn’t the best RR I’ve had; the crab was a little overpowering. But the fish was fresh, the roll nicely packed, and the rice seasoned and cooked just right.  This would make for an okay sushi lunch for a tight budget.

Salmon, Yellowtail, Tuna nigiri

Salmon, Yellowtail, Tuna nigiri

For the nigiri, we ordered salmon, hamachi (yellowtail) and tuna. These were also pretty good and tasted fresh. The fish to rice ratio was good although I’m used to more fish and less rice thanks to Sushi n’ Joy.  I had a spicy tuna hand roll and wished it had a little bit more of a kick to it but it was still good and rather plump. For $2.50-3.50 an order, this was a pretty good deal.

Kalbi "appetizer"

Kalbi "appetizer"

The Kalbi appetizer was a surprise. I was expecting a small plate with a few pieces of kalbi but instead, we got what could easily be a lunch entree for a single person. Rice, a good amount of marinated short ribs and kimchi filled the plate. The ribs were tender and well-marinated. The kimchi was good and slightly on the spicy side. And this was only $5-6.

The service was great. I never had to ask for a water refill. Our food arrived rather quickly (though I think it helped that it wasn’t super busy) as well.

I expect to come here more often as this is a quick, cheap place to get both good sushi for the price and delicious hot entrees.  It isn’t the best sushi and won’t compare to places like Sushi Ota but the price vs. quality makes this a bargain and worth coming to when you want sushi but have a thin wallet.

4 NOMs for Convoy Sushi & Fish Market because the bargain hunter in me was happy.

Convoy Sushi & Fish Market
7905 Engineer Rd
(between Brinell St & Mercury St)
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 634-3233
www.fishnsushi.com
Convoy Sushi & Fish Market on Urbanspoon

Wa Dining OKAN

Tucked away in a small shopping center is one of the best meals I’ve had in a while.  Not your typical Japanese restaurant, OKAN offers a memorable dining experience for your eyes and taste buds.  OKAN means “mom” in Japanese slang and offers dishes that are reminiscent of home cooking rather than the usual teriyaki, curry, and sushi options.

My work friend and I had heard this place gets quite crowded, especially on the weekends, and because it is small, it would be best to have a reservation.  We didn’t need it for the time we chose to go (around 6pm on a weekday).  When we walked in, the tiny space was practically empty.  There was a large bar-seating area dominating the room with a few small tables along the walls.  We were warmly greeted and quickly seated at the bar which had several large dishes displaying some of the specials.

Ordering at Wa Dining OKAN is sort of like going to a tapas bar (no, not topless… ;P).  You pick several items off the menu and share with the rest of your party.  The portions aren’t large but enough to get a good tasting size depending on how many people dig in.  They have a rather large regular menu but offer several specials as well that are listed (in Japanese and sometimes English) on a chalkboard sign outside the door. There is no shortage of choices and the problem of  what to get is a common one because it all looks and sounds tasty.

Since there were only two of us, we decided to split 6 dishes.  We opted for
– Kabocha pumpkin salad
– Braised pork Nagasaki style ($8.50)
– Roast duck with green onion and yuzu pepper ($8.50)
– Grilled yellowtail cheek with ponzu ($12.95, if memory serves me correctly)
– Tuna and avocado spring roll ($8.25)
– Pudding with black honey

OKAN - Kabocha salad

OKAN - Kabocha salad

It’s hard to decide which was the best dish of the night – the Kabocha salad or the pudding.

Made with Japanese pumpkin and cucumbers, this vegetable dish was simple and delicious.  The pumpkin was soft but firm, perfectly cooked and the cucumber not only was a nice compliment visually but texturally, adding a crunch to each bite.  This is one of those surprise dishes that seem like it wouldn’t be anything special but absolutely wows you with each bite.  I was very tempted to lick the dish clean and wanted more after we were done.

OKAN - Braised Pork Nagasaki-style

OKAN - Braised Pork Nagasaki-style

Next came the braised pork.  I’m not sure what “Nagasaki style” entails other than yum.  I believe there’s a soy-sauce based marinade involved.  Two pieces of pork (roughly about 2-3oz each) with a nice thin layer of fat on each arrived.  The pork was moist and tender and quite easy to bite into since we didn’t have forks and knives to use.  As you can see, we dug right in before I remembered to grab my phone to take a picture.  And you can see the empty dish that used to be filled with Kabocha salad.  I was still contemplating licking it…

OKAN - Roast Duck

OKAN - Roast Duck

The roast duck was one of the average dishes of the night, I think.  While it was cooked perfectly, the flavor was a little bland.  I tried eating it with the piece of grilled green onion but that overpowered the duck.  Adding the yuzu pepper (the little bit of green in the left upper corner) did help.  I liked the dish but I wasn’t crazy about it; there are other items on the menu I want to try before I return to ordering the duck again.

OKAN - Grilled Yellowtail Cheek

OKAN - Grilled Yellowtail Cheek

The grilled yellowtail cheek was a surprise.  I love hamachi whenever I go to sushi bars and some places have this on the menu but it was always on the pricy side for what you got – a cheek bone with a little bit of meat on it.  So when this arrived, I was quite pleased with the HUGE portion!  The rather large piece of fish was around the size of my hand.  The top skin was nice and crispy while the meat inside was moist; there was no fishy flavor which made me think that this fresh, not frozen.  Dipped in ponzu, each bite was light and mild but delicious.  It was a little troublesome to eat with only chopsticks but we managed.

The next dish ended up being the disappointment for the night.  While a tuna and avocado spring roll sounds delicious, the reality of it was not.  This dish involved wrapping tuna sashimi, some sort of green leafy vegetable and avocado in rice paper. The flavor of the unknown vegetable completely overpowered the tuna and avocado.  It was also a crunchy type of leaf so the texture overshadowed everything else.  Both the work friend and I were not impressed with it.

When it came to ordering dessert, we had heard they had a tiramisu variation that was to die for along with a heavenly pudding with black honey.  The tiramisu was not available so we opted to just get the pudding instead.  Oh my goodness, this was amazing.  The “pudding” was actually akin to flan in appearance, texture and consistency.  But instead of caramel, they used black honey.  I had never heard of black honey so some googling resulted in hits stating it’s actually “sugarcane syrup”.  Well, whatever it is, it is delicious.  Sweet like honey, there’s a bit of a taste to it that reminds me of coffee or something bitter like it.  We got a little bowl with extra black honey to pour over our pudding.  Needless to say, it was all demolished and we were licking our spoons to make sure we got every last bit of sticky goodness.  An excellent way to end a meal on a high, especially after the prior dish.

OKAN also has a decent list of alcohol including beer, sake and shochu as well as plum and yuzu wine.  It’s not a full bar though so you won’t find mixed drinks.  My work friend ended up with a red rice beer – Hitachino – that he liked. There’s also a white rice beer.

Overall, this was a splendid meal and not a very expensive one for the amount and quality of food we ate.  We were both stuffed to the gills; we could have done without the sad spring rolls and still been full.  I definitely want to go back and try other items on the menu that looked enticing.  And eat more Kabocha salad if they have it!!!

I give Wa Dining OKAN 4 1/2 NOMS.  It would have been 5 if we didn’t get that awful spring roll….that was a hairball.

Wa Dining OKAN
3860 Convoy St., #110
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-0941
http://okanus.com
Wa Dining Okan on Urbanspoon

Crab Hut

Based on Mmm-yoso’s blog, I gathered up some coworkers and we ventured here for lunch.

I have to say, first off, that the shopping center Crab Hut is located in is one of the worst for parking.  ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE PARKING.  1) Asian drivers (and yes, I can say this cuz I’m an Asian driver myself) 2) not enough spaces 3) ASIAN DRIVERS!!!  Once in a blue moon, you might find a spot but most likely it’ll be small and hard to get in/out of.  Save yourself the headache and just park on the street.

Crab Hut is a Vietnamese-owned place that serves up Cajun-style seafood boils.  Yeah, weird.  But that’s what it is.  There’s a huge neon sign in the window boasting Lousiana crawfish.  When we walked in, we were immediately greeted and seated.  The restaurant was practically empty so this place isn’t a big hit for lunch.  We found out why later on.  The interior was very clean and decorated with a fishing village island-type motif.  Anyways, the waiter took our drink orders and explained the menu and made suggestions since we were newbies. Really helpful and friendly.

The way Crab Hut operates is you order your seafood of choice by the pound with the exception of shrimp which you can order by the 1/2lb. They offer up shrimp, live and frozen crawfish, a shrimp and crawfish mix, whole Blue and Dungeness crab, Snow and King crab legs, clams and mussels.  The crawfish comes with sausage and corn.  Everything else is just the seafood.  There’s a selection of sides that you can add on for extra including Cajun fries, sweet potato fries, garlic bread, corn and rice.  After you select your seafood, you select a “flavor” – Cajun Sensation, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Butter, Full House, Old Bay and Plain (Boil Only).  Then you select your degree of hotness – mild, 1/2 medium, medium, hot, K.O.  If you want to start off with some appetizers, you can order some fresh oysters, fried catfish, shrimp cocktail, crabcakes, fried calamari and other things.

Our party of four all ordered the same thing – 1lb of the shrimp & crawfish mix with the “Full House” seasoning at varying degrees of hotness; I went with medium.  We also got Cajun and sweet potato fries which arrived first.  The sweet potato fries were good and a little overcooked to give it a little extra crunch which was nice, but without burning them.  The Cajun fries were the frozen crinkle-cut kind that you got  in the elemetary school cafeteria only sprinkled with cajun seasoning.  I -LOVED- these.  I dunno why but I just adore crinkle-cut fries.  And waffle-cut as well.  But there’s just something in me that regresses back into a little kid when I have crinkle-cut fries.  The Cajun seasoning brought me back to adulthood, though.  The fries were nicely cooked and not at all soggy like how they were in the cafeteria.  Fabulous!

Our bags of bugs arrived and when I opened mine, I could smell the seasoning…and a little bit of spice.  I started with the crawfish.  I had never had these whole before and got a little weirded out.  They looked a bit…creepy.  But I got over it and quickly figured out a shelling technique.  Rip off the heads, suck out the juices and then shell the tail and nyom nyom nyom.  The only problems with that strategy were 1)the Medium Full House ended up having the sort of spicy kick that hits the back of your throat if you inhale too much.  2) The crawfish tails were tiny so technically, all you got was more like nyom.  The crawfish was nice and juicy if small but the Full House was a very powerful seasoning so I didn’t really taste  the crawfish at all.  Overall, the amount of effort vs. the amout of meat made me decide I’ll stick to crawfish in other forms.  The shrimp, however, was a bit of a different story.  It had the same issue with the Full House flavoring overpowering it but the size of the shrimps were great and they weren’t as hard to shell.  The medium spiciness builds so by the end of lunch, my lips were a little tingly.  I don’t think I’d go any hotter than medium.

IMG_0179Now, I mentioned why this place wasn’t that crowded during lunch.  I’m guessing it’s because eating here is MESSY.  Crab Hut supplies everyone with giant plastic bibs and towelettes and there is a roll of paper towels on each table.   This is not a place for dainty eaters.  As you can see, we went thru quite a bit of paper towels…and crawfish n’ shrimp.  🙂 And we were trying to be neat!

As for cost, this place was not bad.  The shrimp/crawfish mix goes for $8.99/lb.  Given that this was all shrimp n’ crawfish, this was a deal!  You could go to Red Lobster and end up spending $18 on a 2-skewer shrimp entrée or something like that.

I give Crab Hut 3 1/2 NOMs. Not the greatest seafood boil but a great value for what you get and pretty decent taste-wise.  The parking situation gets a big fat hairball, though.

Crab Hut
4646 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 565-1678
http://www.crabhutsd.com
Crab Hut on Urbanspoon

China Max

A couple of coworkers and I went out to China Max for lunch yesterday. I had been to this place a few years back for dinner but never got around to returning, even though it was a great Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurant.

I had read from Mmm-yoso’s review that dim sum was available and that’s what I and one coworker ended up getting and sharing, along with an order of their Beef Chow Fun.  The other coworker ordered a spicy chicken off their “Recession” menu ($9 for the entrée plus rice and egg drop soup).  While that may sound a little steep for a “Recession” menu, this was not a skimpy sized lunch special.  A large plate with the chicken over crispy noodles appeared and you could see the pepper seeds in the sauce denoting that this was not spicy on an American scale.  I tried a piece and yup, it had a kick to it.  Also, the chicken was nice and moist.  I don’t know if it was worth the $9 but it sure beat Panda Express.

China Max does dim sum a little differently.  Instead of ordering off carts that pass your table, you have a picture menu (handy for people not familiar with dim sum or know what they like but don’t know the name of it) and a sheet where you check off what you want.  The waiter collects the sheet and then a few minutes later, dim sum starts appearing on your table.  A lot easier and simpler than the cart places, in my opinion.  The selection of dim sum at China Max is decent and a lot of the classics like shrimp har gow (shrimp dumpling) and char siu bao (steamed bbq pork bun) are on the menu.  The cost is based on the items which are marked Small, Medium, Large and Kitchen.  Small dishes were priced at $3.75, Medium at $4.something, Large at around $5.75 and Kitchen varied from $8-11, if memory serves me correctly.

We ordered:
– shrimp har gow
– char siu bao
– pork and shrimp shumai
– fried potstickers
– bbq pork cheung fun (bbq pork wrapped in a rice noodle topped with a sweetened soy sauce)
– pork spare ribs
– turnip cake
– egg custard tarts

This coupled with an order of beef chow fun ended up being quite a large order for 2 people and we ended up with leftovers.

Some of the dishes like the pork spare ribs were a little milder in flavor compared to the other dim sum restaurants I’d been too.  Most of the dishes were steamed so they were not heavy or oily.  The fried potstickers were quite light and had a good crispy skin and moist filling.  The pieces seemed to be a little bigger than what you get at Emerald or Jasmine.  I really enjoyed the bbq pork cheung fun; I think that was my favorite. The beef chow fun was also quite good.  Altogether, the meal ended up a little less than $40, not counting the spicy chicken dish.

The only downside is the service.  I guess it’s not really that different from other Chinese places I’ve been to but they aren’t attentive and it’s really hard to flag people down to get something as simple as a water or tea refill.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the food experience and would come back for the dim sum.  It was a lot quicker coming here for a workday lunch than it was going to a cart place.

I give China Max 3 NOMs.

China Max
4698 Convoy Street #C101
San Diego, CA 92111
(858)-650-3333

http://www.chinamaxsandiego.com/
China Max Seafood on Urbanspoon