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Best Dish In San Diego?

paloucsd Nov 28, 2008 01:24 PM

If you had to pick just one, what is the best singular dish you have had in San Diego? Could be an entree from a fine dining place or maybe a burrito from a robertos in a strip mall. List the dish, restaurant, and location. I think mine would be...a seared ahi tuna sandwich from blue water market and grill out on india st.

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  1. cgfan RE: paloucsd Nov 28, 2008 10:16 PM

    I just love the singular focus, the use of incredible culinary restraint, and the courage to let the best of a simple ingredient practically speak for itself in Oceanaire's incredible crabcake. (Gaslamp Quarter)

    1. u
      Uncle Lefty RE: paloucsd Nov 30, 2008 10:19 AM

      To me, right now, it would be the fish tacos at Mariscos German. Four for $4. 36th and University.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Uncle Lefty
        ginael RE: Uncle Lefty Dec 3, 2008 10:59 AM

        Lefty, I just had my first fish taco from M.G. It was delicious! That was by far the best fish taco I've had in S.D.

      2. notjustastomach RE: paloucsd Nov 30, 2008 10:44 AM

        Right now I'm thinking Gobo Salad at Okan.

        1. b
          Bobierto RE: paloucsd Dec 1, 2008 12:20 PM

          Hmmm, this is a tough question. We all know this isn't a dining town but I have had some good meals. Lately, I'd say the green papaya salad at Sep E Lee on Ulrich St. Last year, the crab cake at Prado. 14 years ago, when I moved here, tacos al pastor at some taco joint on Kettner for making me re-think what I thought I knew about Mexican food. Sorry, that wasn't just one.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bobierto
            paloucsd RE: Bobierto Dec 1, 2008 07:45 PM

            Thanks for the reply. Maybe I should have stated it in the original post, that although San Diego is not really a "dining town" but relative to San Diego's culinary scene, which dish is the best.

            Do you know if the tacos al pastor on kettner still open?

            1. re: paloucsd
              Bobierto RE: paloucsd Dec 2, 2008 12:20 PM

              I think so but I would have to walk by to get you the name. It's a take-out window only, no seating, on the west side of the street around Ash St or so.

          2. deckape RE: paloucsd Dec 2, 2008 02:43 PM

            Among many dishes, one of them would be a sausage sandwich from Pete's Meats on India.

            1 Reply
            1. re: deckape
              keena RE: deckape Dec 2, 2008 06:54 PM

              I can't believe it was an amuse bouche, but it was. At Market, a very thick potato chip with applewood bacon, creme fraiche, chives and it had some hint of citrus too. I could have eaten a whole plate of them.

            2. b
              bagwhat RE: paloucsd Dec 2, 2008 07:50 PM

              The California Burrito with Guac at Rudy's
              Duck Breast with Parsnip Purée, Cocoa/Clove Crumbs, Kumquat Confiture, Star Anise Jus at the Dining Room at Jack's (remember that place?)
              in january i'll decide on my favorite asian dish from the convoy area and post it

              1. d
                DougOLis RE: paloucsd Dec 3, 2008 08:24 AM

                Mysore Masala Dosa from Surati Farsan Mart

                1. honkman RE: paloucsd Dec 3, 2008 10:30 AM

                  Pork belly at Better Half. ( I like the current version with spinach even more).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: honkman
                    DougOLis RE: honkman Dec 3, 2008 01:35 PM

                    That one's also in my top 5

                  2. sd4life RE: paloucsd Dec 3, 2008 04:09 PM

                    The dish is "Crying Tiger", a nice sized, well seasoned, steak. Layed on top of a mixture of veggies, cooking on a fajita style skillet at your table. The restaraunt is "Amarin Thai Restaraunt" located in a strip-mall in Mira Mesa. It is tucked inside a food court next to a couple other Asian restaraunts, one Indian Tanduri and the other Filipino fast-food style restaraunt among a few others.

                    1. SaltyRaisins RE: paloucsd Dec 3, 2008 04:58 PM

                      The Jidori chicken preparation at Starlight is pretty perfect- always beautifully cooked with interesting and appropriate seasonal accompaniments such as homemade wheat cavatelli or Crow's Pass squash, mustard greens, a flavored butter or a bacon jus to name a few that come to mind. Something about "ordering the chicken" on a menu usually indicates gastric surrender or pressing financial concerns or something and is usually rewarded by the chef in kind with watery and stringy boiled chicken breast or a near-vaporized greasy and bony half-hen, but something about ordering Starlight's chicken redefines this act for me. Crispy skin, boned with dark meat attached to a small wingbone for traction, never over or undercooked...really very good.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: SaltyRaisins
                        Josh RE: SaltyRaisins Dec 4, 2008 04:22 PM

                        That is a delicious dish, for sure.

                        1. re: SaltyRaisins
                          SaltyRaisins RE: SaltyRaisins Dec 4, 2008 10:26 PM

                          Kare turned me on to Romesco's. What a place ... what a menu. Almost too much good stuff- not familiar enough with it all yet, but I too could see this place as having a favorite dish hiding somewhere in there. And the churros are great.

                          Somehow I keep spelling the name of one of my favorite places incorrectly. Starlite, not Starlight, folks. Sorry.

                          1. re: SaltyRaisins
                            DiningDiva RE: SaltyRaisins Dec 5, 2008 07:41 AM

                            If it's still on the menu, try the duck with fig risotto at Romesco's.

                        2. Josh RE: paloucsd Dec 4, 2008 04:25 PM

                          Having just come back from NYC and eaten two amazing meals there, I'm totally at a loss. Nothing I've had here comes close.

                          Ummm, maybe the buta kakuni at Sakura. It's gently stewed pork belly in broth. Incredibly rich and delicious.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Josh
                            cgfan RE: Josh Dec 4, 2008 05:08 PM

                            Josh, have you tried the buta kakuni at Okan? I find their's to be better than Sakura's, though Sakura's version's no slouch either...

                            1. re: cgfan
                              Josh RE: cgfan Dec 5, 2008 06:30 AM

                              Haven't been to Okan yet. I'm not really eating too much meat these days (pastured only), so I doubt I'll be trying that.

                            2. re: Josh
                              guide boy RE: Josh Dec 13, 2008 03:26 PM

                              Do tell -- what was so great in NYC?

                            3. kare_raisu RE: paloucsd Dec 4, 2008 04:44 PM

                              The Lengua en pipian at Romesco's. The tenderest tongue pieces come swimming in a smooth slightly spicy pumkinseed sauce in a iron pot with small tortillas to make small tacos out of it.

                              1. kare_raisu RE: paloucsd Dec 9, 2008 05:00 PM

                                Anticuchos del corazon de res [beef heart skewers] at Latin chef- i must add. They have this pleasant chew and deep beef flavor and an incredibly tasty marinade. Add the spicy huacuatay mint sauce and some beef fat coated perfectly cooked halves of potato and bliss for me.

                                mmm-yoso kirk's picture of these hearts: http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/.shared/i...

                                1. s
                                  sabotage RE: paloucsd Dec 14, 2008 01:25 AM

                                  I can't pick just one!
                                  uni at Sushi Ota, Chicken and dumplings at Urban Solace, and tacos adobada at El Gordos. I do love that seared ahi at bluewater too!

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: sabotage
                                    avagax RE: sabotage Dec 14, 2008 11:36 AM

                                    My vote goes to Yakitori Yakyudori in Hillcrest and their perfectly grilled chicken wings.

                                    1. re: avagax
                                      stevuchan RE: avagax Dec 15, 2008 07:28 AM

                                      Fresh Uni from Catalina Offshore Products, hands down.

                                      1. re: stevuchan
                                        littlestevie RE: stevuchan Dec 15, 2008 03:09 PM

                                        I don't know if it qualifys as a dish, but the uni shooters that COP served at the Celebrate the Craft reception were really, really fresh and good.

                                        1. re: stevuchan
                                          cgfan RE: stevuchan Dec 15, 2008 04:19 PM

                                          If it's the best uni that you're after, I'm told that the best that's available to Sourthern California sushi bars is from a boutique uni processor called Matsushita. Unfortunately almost all of their output normally gets bought out by the best of the L.A. sushi bars, leaving none for San Diego.

                                          However Kaito Sushi was able to get a rare shipment from Matsushita, and I can tell you that it's incredible stuff.

                                          When I asked Morita-san why the stark difference in quality versus the other processors, he said something about the use of traditional processing tecniques that Matsushita uses for their uni.

                                          Whatever their secret, it was wonderful. Dense with flavor and incredibly creamy, it game me the impression that that was due to it being somehow more "concentrated" due to a lower moisture content.


                                          1. re: cgfan
                                            DougOLis RE: cgfan Dec 15, 2008 10:10 PM

                                            Is Kaito going to get it regularly now or was it more of a one time thing?

                                            1. re: DougOLis
                                              cgfan RE: DougOLis Dec 16, 2008 12:12 PM

                                              My understanding is that Kaito will be first in line after the L.A. sushi bars. Apparently due to the economy there was some Matsushita uni available for S.D. distribution, the balance of which Kaito was the only S.D. bar to receive.

                                              It did sound to me that it is not something that they can just simply order and expect to receive due to the limited supply. However with Kaito's strong reputation for having a clientelle that welcomes the most exotic ingredients and with Kaito's boutique L.A.-based supplier, they're in a good position to receive some more if it again becomes available

                                              Probably the best bet would be to track their "sushi blog" of ingredient arrivals when they do obtain a shipment: http://sushikaito.com/SushiBlog.aspx

                                              The drawback is that they only blog about twice a weekly, though they receive shipments daily.

                                              1. re: DougOLis
                                                cgfan RE: DougOLis Dec 18, 2008 11:04 AM

                                                I did find out a little bit more... Apparently the L.A. sushi bars who want to ensure a chance to get some Matsushita-processed uni must go to the fish market themselves and buy it directly.

                                                As to how much beyond what is bought at market reaches distribution I don't know, but with all of the competition for good ingredients out there one can imagine that some making it through distribution to San Diego is rare and a cause for celebration.

                                                1. re: cgfan
                                                  DougOLis RE: cgfan Dec 18, 2008 01:13 PM

                                                  Hmmm, well thanks for looking into it more. Hopefully we start seeing more of it down here!

                                              2. re: cgfan
                                                littlestevie RE: cgfan Dec 16, 2008 07:48 AM

                                                At Celebrate the Craft, The Catalina Offshore guys were processing it so to speak right there.. They had live urchins, and were just breaking them open, and pulling out the roe, and a little rinse and away you go.So the question is, what does Matsushita do that is different from the other processors?

                                                1. re: littlestevie
                                                  cgfan RE: littlestevie Dec 16, 2008 12:19 PM

                                                  I'd love to know the answer as well. Perhaps it's a good question to BT on the Ask Mr. Sushi thread...

                                                  I suspect that it's more than one of mere mechanics, but also one of degree; the relative degree of training, dedication, and quality control. I'll see if I can get more information on this. Kind of like the fromagier when it comes to keeping cheese. Any one can keep cheese around, but the fromagier is a specialist who knows not only how to preserve the cheese he sells, but to develop and improve upon it.

                                                  Regardless, I've never had uni as good as that one Matsushita uni, and I'd love to be able to repeat the experience.

                                        2. terrier RE: paloucsd Dec 18, 2008 03:12 PM

                                          Orden de Barbacoa at La Barbacoa Authentica de Borrego.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: terrier
                                            kare_raisu RE: terrier Dec 18, 2008 05:14 PM

                                            hells yeah! :^)

                                            1. re: kare_raisu
                                              ginael RE: kare_raisu Dec 18, 2008 05:26 PM

                                              Kare, do you have any recs for best vegetarian food at a Mexican restaurant?

                                              1. re: ginael
                                                kare_raisu RE: ginael Dec 18, 2008 05:33 PM

                                                I think ordering the potato flautas with the nopales laced guacamole at Texcoco is my favorite vegatarian mexican meal in SD. Washed down with what I consider the best Horchata or Jamaica in SD...its off the hook.
                                                Special tortillas are sourced just for the flautas.

                                                Not far behind are the huevos oaxaquenos and chilaquiles verdes for breakfast at Super Cocina. This is my favorite breakfast in SD.

                                                There - the empanadas filled with Mexican ricotta- requeson and epazote, the pairing is a haunting flavor for me.

                                                You cannot go wrong with the Tlacoyos of frijoles, or habas at La Barbacoa either. They are quite litterally akin to eating pillows.

                                                Can you eat fish>?

                                                1. re: kare_raisu
                                                  ginael RE: kare_raisu Dec 18, 2008 06:35 PM

                                                  The potato flautas sound amazing. Tortillas aren't made on site at Texcoco? I'm determined to try this dish. Thanks for the rec!

                                                  I live right by SC, and have only tried the beans, tortillas, and rice. I know, I know, am a disgrace to my Chicana race.

                                                  Yes, I eat fish, and am absolutely enthralled with the fish tacos at Mariscos German. Do you like the shrimp tacos better?


                                                  1. re: ginael
                                                    kare_raisu RE: ginael Dec 18, 2008 10:28 PM

                                                    Yes, tortillas are not made on site at Texcoco - but its no matter when the lamb filling is leagues above the rest. They focus on one thing Lamb meat, rather then turning masa into tortillas.

                                                    The tortillas are special in that they are oval and very thin called raspadas - specifically for making flautas. They make even 2 salsas special only for this dish.

                                                    At MG I think I like the grilled octupus, marlin, camaron mojo ajo and clam the best.

                                                    You shouldnt be ashamed about being vegatarian - see my explanation in the comments of this reader super cocina review: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

                                                  2. re: kare_raisu
                                                    Masa Assassin RE: kare_raisu Dec 19, 2008 12:41 AM

                                                    Funny you say that KR.... La Barbacoas Tlacoyos of frijoles and Texcocos potato flautus paired with nopal salad is exactly what I always recommend vegatarian friends.

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