Specialty Restaurants SD
Negro Durazo in Chula Vista says mariscos but they serve Shrimp (listed on menu) about 30 different ways. It's a strange place but they DO fish. Their menu is 4 pages long.I had pan fried sea bass and licked the plate. Noisy, macho (big screen boxing, etc.) sort of a dive yet lots of family clientele. Strange place. Nobody speaks English there. They had a guy in one of the front tables with 3 pretty women in short skirts passing out beads like Mardi Gras. They have 4 places in Tiajuana. Alex, please go there and tell me what you think! It's on Broadway just south of G street on the east side of the street...I didn't get the address. It's across the street from the card room where the Samson's Deli used to be. It seems the specialty is Shrimp, although they serve other dishes. Maybe I should have posted this elsewhere.
Last time I was in La Nortenita right after it changed hands was a complete disaster. That was a few months ago so I'm not certain that's still the case.
Kare, my wife and I had a superb birria at El Chiapaneco a few weeks ago, perhaps the best I've ever had. They serve birria on Saturdays and Sundays along with Menudo. The birria was extremely rich and dense, not at all oily/greasy and came with the shank portion of the leg instead of the usual rib sections which made for incredibly succulent and tender meat. The cartilagenous portions of the shank were simply beautiful - not my wife's favorite but one of my guiltiest pleasures! We both came away wowed by the quality of the birria and the meat.
As a balance to this, a couple of weeks later I got some to go on a Saturday morning and the birria was disappointingly salty - not inedible - and less remarkable in the portion of chivo. On an up note, however, the rellenos I got were fantastic! This woman can cook!!!
Give it a try on a weekend morning, I hope you have the same experience as I had.
The real issue here is one of definition. How do we define "one dish in particular?" Is "sushi" a dish or a whole chapter in a cuisine? Is a "plate lunch" a dish or a way of eating? Is a hamburger a hamburger if it is made of vegetables, or bison, or rattlesnake?
Is birria a dish or a method of cooking? It can be anything from taco to an appetizer to a main course. The meat can certainly be beef or goat or lamb, perhaps even turkey or chicken.
I don't think I should mention places that specialize in yogurt or ice cream or cakes or beer or wine. That seems like a different topic. I gather that you meant "one MAIN dish in particular".
But I'll do my best to add a few places to your list:
Pho Ca Dao, and many others with "Pho" in their name.
SD Chicken Pie Shop
(Tioli's) Crazy Burger (though they do stretch the category of "Burger", most all the menu items are of that category); Other burger places (Rocky's, In-N-Out...)
El Salvador Restaurante y Pupuseria (Other menu items, but Pupusas are in the name - they are Salvadorean filled "tortillas", made with thick plain corn "masa" around a filling, cooked on a skillet)
Kim Chan, K Sandwiches, other vietnamese Ban Mi places
Crispy Fried Chicken (El Cajon blvd / 49th st)
Tofu House (Korean Tofu)
Carnitas Uruapan (Mexican Carnitas)
Curry House (Japanese curry)
Little Sheep (Mongolian hot pot)
Leocynn's Lumpia (Filipino)
Dumpling Inn (Northern Chinese dumplings)
Bronx/Lefty's/Sicilian Thing/Any pizzeria
Buga, other Korean BBQ places (is this a dish or a way of cooking? Don't know)
This could be a long list.
How about this: what are some unique or outstanding specialty restaurants? I think kare raisu was getting at that.
On a less positive note, most fast food places specialize in one or two dishes. And so does every crappy "sushi" place (The dish? Sushi rolls with funny names)