Chow Noodle House in Hilcrest
I recently stopped by the new noodle house on university in hilcrest and was extremely dissapointed by what I recieved. I ordered chow mein and my sister ordered pad thai noodle dishes and while the dishes were okay, the prices were absolutely staggering. From an inside source I heard the dishes cost .75 cents to make and the owner took the iniciative to charge 8$ for dishes that are good but by no means excellent. Has anyone else had the opportunity/misfortune to dine at this new spot in hilcrest?
I haven't eaten at Chow Noodle House yet, but I have to ask if you've been grocery shopping recently? The price of food is also going up at a staggering rate. Beef prices are on the march as are dairy prices and don't even think about cheese, it's gone up dramatically, and we all know that gasoline prices in SD are some of the highest in the nation. You do have to factor gas prices into the price of food because food has to get delivered to each operation. Every vendor I deal with has either taken prices increases or is tacking a fuel surcharge onto their deliveries. And then there is the whole ethanol thing which is wreaking havoc in all segments of the food industry. Food prices have not been this unstable and volatile in a long time.
$ .75 may or may not be an accurate product cost, noodles are typically an inexpensive item to produce. But the cost of goods all depends on what else goes into the dish and size of the portion being served. You can't forget that the price of a dish also has to cover, rent, utilities, linens, payments on any loans the owner took out to open the joint, and salary for the kitchen and non-wait staff, among other things. Hillcrest is a high rent district. Without seeing the product coming in the back door (or front door in this case), the corresponding invoices, the recipe for the noodle dishes, and the rest of the restaurant's overhead, it's impossible to know if $.75 for cost of product or an $8 selling price is accurate or not. The owner may be charging what s/he thinks the market will bear...or not.
Um, its a business. There to make a profit...after expenses. They have to pay rent, utilities, salaries, insurance, taxes, purchase product, have spoilage, cleaning/sanitation. It is the real world.
This will be quick, since I'm on my lunch break at work (fish tacos especiales from the Rubios on Villa La Jolla):
We ate at Chow Noodle House last night, and after reading Foodpuppy's original post, I was a little bit leery. They are owned by the same folks as Celadon, but no website yet that I could find, so the menu was a surprise.
The place is located on the north side of University in the block between Sixth and7 Fifth in a space that has been lots of other restaurants in the past. It's been redecorated in a kind of minimalist way, but it's bright and cheerful with windows at the front that open onto the passing parade on University.
From the discussion here, we were worried that things might be a little skimpy, so we ordered two appetizers ($6 each); shrimp spring rolls and "Japanese fried chicken." There were six spring rolls, each with a big slice of jumbo shrimp and lots of fresh greens (lettuce, cilantro) wrapped in rice paper and served with two dipping sauces (peanut and tamarind) -- a bargain. The chicken wasn't recognizably Japanese to me, but I suppose it was a bit reminiscent of one of the karaages I had a while back at Sakura. It came with a sweet dipping sauce that was also very tasty. By the time we finished these off, we could have left and felt reasonably satisfied. But, glutton that I am, I waited for our entrees.
Di loves the wide rice noodles, so she opted for Lad Nar with chicken. It came on a big platter with lots of noodles, gravy, tiny chicken pieces and Chinese broccoli. Without being asked, they brought us two small plates to divide it. I just sampled it (delicious) and then my Thai "dry egg noodles" with ground pork arrived. They came in a big bowl with the ingredients kind of separated, and served with another bowl of near-boiling broth on the side, which I finally poured into the the noodle bowl (a la Pho). These stringy yellow noodles were totally tangled in a medusa-like snarl, and if anyone knows of a dignified way to eat such a thing, please let me know. I'm sure I looked like a total slob, but I steadfastly refused to make eye contact with anyone else, so I did maintain plausible deniabililty. The ground pork was also very good, but the tiny pieces were tough to handle with chop sticks, so I resorted to the soup spoon.
A tray of sauces that was served with the noodles included a little bowl of finely chopped Thai red chiles in vinegar. They were so cute...looked just like pomegranate seeds, but caused my remaining hair to spontaneously combust. Delicious!!! We also had a bottle of Albarino that went very well with everything.
The young waitstaff were all friendly and attentive, and quite helpful about explaining the menu. We'll definitely be back. The Lad Nar was $8 and the Thai dry egg noodles were $9 (among the more expensive items). It was a lot of food; we took two boxes home. Unlike the OP, I thought it was a good value.
. . . jim strain
p.s. The fish tacos were damn good, but the second one got cold as I wrote this.
Well we just loved it, but then we are big fans of celadon and Rama, and found the old celadon to be a little cramped and rushed.
We ordered the shrimp and veg tempura, papaya salad which were all excellent, the tempura was lovely and crispy although not maybe the same type as I've previously had in Japanese restaurants.
For mains we had Katsu curry with veg and tofu, 360 degree vietnamese beef, and dry noodles. We were very happy with all three and we had a nice bottle of pinot. The service was excellent despite being quite understaffed. The only thing I noticed is that they dont seem to have any tables for 2 which seems a bit of an oversight, so they put the couples on tables for 6 with a space between.
I thought the price was very reasonable for a spacious prime location. If you want to be rushed in and out of a place and all cramped together then I'm sure you could get cheaper, but for somewhere we can walk to we were more than happy with the prices. I'm absolutely baffled at someone who thinks that it only costs a restaurant 75c to make noodles!!