I want some tongue.
- kare_raisu Feb 27, 2008 11:46 AM
Ideas for good places to get my tongue fix in SD? All cuisines open. Bonus points for some seriously good lengua tacos.
Hard to describe, really. I've had tongue a few different ways. My favorite is Jewish deli style, which is cold and thinly sliced, on rye bread with spicy brown mustard. This is an impossibility in San Diego, alas, because there's no good rye bread here (except Bread and Cie), and no good deli. Texture-wise, it's like any other sliced meat. Flavor is rich and beefy.
The guisado though, was larger pieces. Very tender. I wasn't impressed with it enough to order it, but it was still pretty good. It tasted more of the sauce than the tongue, I thought.
I'm going to start looking like a shill or something, as I've blabbed about this resto over and over in the last few days. Noodle Town on Convoy has tongue on its BBQ menu. Very memorable.
Yakitori Yakyudori is great since you can sit at the bar and get it while it's still hot - very important. The problem of getting it at the izakayas such as Tajima or Sakura is that very often by the time it's served to you it will have most likely already cooled down a bit. I find tongue loses its heat very quickly, so immediate service is important.
When you order tongue it's normally sliced very thin. For a real treat ask for gyutan-steak, which will be served in much thicker slices cut across the thickness of the toungue - very nice.
Another option is Tsuruhashi where you would cook it yourself on the grill and would still be hot when you eat it. But the use of bincho charcoal at Yakyudori makes it a better bet. (Technically Yakyudori uses a combination of bincho and oga-bincho charcoal...) It definitely adds its own component to the taste.
BTW at home I grill it indoors over oga-bincho on top of a shichirin (Japanese grill). It ends up tasting just like it does at Yakyudori! (BTW the rear part of the tongue, if you can get it, is the fattiest and most tender part...)
Well a good selection of konro/shichirin and oga bincho-tan can be easily obtained through Marukai. The new San Diego branch in Kearny Mesa is rather limited in this regard, but I've seen 1 or 2 of the smaller shichirin's there. I'm sure if you make a request, one can easily be transferred over from their Costa Mesa store, which usually carries around 5-6 different models!
I've also bought a bulk, 10 kg box of oga bincho-tan through the same Costa Mesa branch. Again I'm sure that you can do the same by asking the local store, though I believe at one time I've even seen it here in the new Kearny Mesa store. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam...)
FYI the oga bincho-tan is considerably easier to use than the bincho-tan, the former which is an extruded product. It should not be compared to the somewhat similar looking charcoal that you can find at Zion Marketplace; from my own experience the latter is far from smokeless (and the smoke it does produce is very "off-smelling") and behaves as if loaded with accelerants and not very pure.
If you do want to try your hand at the bincho-tan vs. the oga bincho-tan, then Nijiya always has it stocked, and usually Marukai as well. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... )
I had some good lengua tacos from La Princesita Taco Truck(trailer/cart) in the parking lot of Joe's 99 cent store in Linda Vista. The flavor of the cabeza and lengua seem to alternate when it comes down to which is better for a given day. And there are some days when neither is available.
6882 Linda Vista Rd
San Diego, CA 92111
They are in the parking lot daily from 6pm to 11pm
Otherwise, the gyo-tan from Yakitori Yakiyudori, as mentioned by cgfan above is heavenly.....
The Beef tongue from Buga is decent.
Love the miso marinated beef tongue from Tsuruhashi, well, I just love tongue(somehow that just sounds wrong) anyway.
The most memorable tongue I've eaten recently in SD has to be the tongue at the Korean place next to Sammy Sushi on Engineer. (Sorry - can't remember the name). I'm posting this in reply to your message, Kirk, as you may remember more of the details.
The thinly sliced tongue there was excellent at picking up the smoky flavors of the charcoal. Good taste memories.