Kyochon Chicken

Kirk over at mmm-yoso blogged about chicken wings recently and mentioned Kyochon.  I realized I still hadn’t blogged about my experience with this place yet.

KyoChon

While exploring the new Zion Korean market off Beach Blvd (still labeled Fresia when I went)  in Garden Grove, I saw this place inside near the entrance.  Since I didn’t feel like cooking, I decided to give Kyochon a try.

All Kyochon does is chicken.  You can get chicken wings, chicken bentos, chicken chicken chicken.  I guess it’s sort of like a Korean Chik-fil-et but not sandwiches…okay, I’m stretching here with that comparison but you get the idea…

Anyways, the smell wafting from the kitchen was making my tummy grumble.  Looking at the menu, they offered up chicken with two different sauces – soy-garlic and spicy.  The option to place orders for half/half is available but you have to order at least 4 wings, if memory serves me correctly.  The prices were a little high, I thought till I saw I could get a “whole chicken” for ~$20 (tax included).  Now, I was thinking a whole chicken would be quite a lot of food and $20 wasn’t too steep for that.  I opted on half/half for the sauces since I  planned on sharing with my husband who doesn’t do spicy.

Packaging

When my number was called, I received these two boxes in a rather nice bag, the sort of bag you get when you shop at Banana Republic or Coach.  These boxes seemed a little small to each contain half a chicken, but they were crammed to the top with pieces of hacked poultry and taped shut so I guess it adds up.

I had to wait till I got home to munch on it.  While I was driving, I could smell the garlic coming from the soy-garlic sauce and let me tell you, it was pretty cruel since I was starving.

Soy-garlic chicken

Spicy chicken

Because they had been packaged hot, the steam made the skin on these a little soggy, though there was some crispness here and there.  Made me think that next time, I would have to eat some right when I got my order.  The meat was nice and moist and the flavor, intense.  The spicy really packed a punch for me.  Either the chef had it out or my tolerance is diminishing…  Looking inside, there really was quite a bit of food, enough that I had leftovers for dinner for the following two days after gorging myself on quite a bit that night (the Husband decided to forgo trying any for some insane reason).  They did reheat well, though they did start drying out.

While the chicken was really good, doing the math in my head, it was a bit pricey.  Still, I don’t think it’s enough of a deterrant for me to not eat at Kyochon.  I’d just do so only when I have a craving for them specifically. Maybe next time, I will try some of their more affordable bentos…

I give Kyochon 3 1/2 NOMs.  It would have gotten 4 if it was cheap eats!

Kyochon Chicken
12840 Beach Boulevard
Stanton, CA‎
(714) 891-2449
Kyochon Chicken 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

Gyenari redux

img_0134The Friday before Superbowl, Dan and I, along with M went to lunch at Gyenari.  This was our 2nd visit back and we were seated at the same booth as last time.

They’ve done some redecorating since then, turning the tables in the center of the room into booths. They were also putting up plasma TVs in their bar/lounge area at the front of the restaurant.  A flyer on the table advertising a Superbowl event explained why.

The kinks in service seemed to have been smoothed out and we had an excellent and attentive waitress.  We never had to ask for refills on water.

I was surprised by how empty the restaurant was when we arrived but soon the lunch crowd hit and it was no longer so lonely.  I guess they go to lunch later in Culver City.

The food is still excellent and the prices are still the same.  I think they may have added a few items to their menu and it looks less strictly Asian and more fusion-y.

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Gyenari - Bacon & Cheddar Jeon Jeon

One of the new items I noticed was an appetizer dish, Jeon Jeon, which is sort of like a savory Korean pancake.  There were two options – applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar or shrimp, calamari and kimchee.  Intrigued, I had to try the bacon n’ cheese.  What came out was a plate of a quartered Jeon Jeon and a side of ranch dressing.  (I forgot to grab a pix before 2 pieces were consumed).  The chef was quite generous with the cheese and the portion of bacon sprinkled around was decent.  The edges of the Jeon Jeon were crispy while the inside was nicely soft.  It wasn’t overly greasy which was a nice surprise given how much cheese was on it.  It was a great dish and one I would definitely have again.

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Gyenari - Ox-tail broth

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Gyenari - banchan

Along with the “banchan”, came bowls of delicious ox tail broth with slivers of daikon in it.  The side dishes consisted of spicy pickled shredded daikon, steamed broccoli, cucumber (“oi”) kimchee, bean sprouts, a potato-egg salad and, of course, kimchee.  Nothing uncommon or out of the ordinary and what you would find if you went to a regular Korean restaurant.

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Gyenari - Spicy Pork Bulgogi lunch special

Like last time, Dan went with the lunch plate but opted for the braised beef – a chunk of beef that’s been braised in a soy sauce mixture.  It was tender, flaky and full of flavor.  I opted for a lunch plate as well, going with the Spicy Pork Bulgogi.  Like before, rice, salad, japchae, fruit and tempura accompanied the meat.  I like how Gyenari uses mixed greens instead of plain iceberg lettuce.  The tempura is light and not greasy and they include a green bean, asparagus, sweet potato slice and shrimp.  The spicy pork bulgogi had quite a bit of heat to it, surprisingly.  Between 2 slices of the Jeon Jeon and half my main course, I was pretty stuffed and required a to-go box.  The leftover meat, tempura and japchae heated up quite nicely for dinner, by the way.

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Gyenari - Bibimbap

M opted to try the “Gyenari Bibimbap” which ended up being Dolsot Bibimbap – bibimbap in a hot stone pot.  For those not familiar with “bibimbap”, it is rice with various vegetables, beef and an egg.  You add in a flavorful, sometimes spicy, red paste and mix everything together.

Gyenari’s version of toppings consisted of beef, cooked spinach, shitake mushroms, cucumbers, carrots and a sunny-side egg.  The bibimbap sauce proved to be too spicy for M so he did without.  He liked it quite a bit.

I only get Dolsot Bibimbop from one place, a Korean restaurant down in San Diego.  I’m going to have to give Gyenari’s a try one day to see how it compares.

The Catty critic gives Gyenari an upgrade to 4 NOMs.

Gyenari
9450 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-3131
http://www.gyenari.com/
Gyenari on Urbanspoon