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Jul 1, 2013 04:14 PM

What Are Your Favorite Non-High Concept Dining Places?

The closing of the various fedora restaurants and the announcements of others leave me wondering - Los Cuatro Milpas, and others in the area, Dsggtonthe other restaurants is Mission Hills that that have been there for a long time (Cuervo?).

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  1. Dsggtonthe is one of my favorites.

    1. Yahh, me too, sitting at computer monitor and blinded by the afternoon sun.

      Oh well, still hoping to hear from CHr's

      Gustav Anders and the Belgian restaurant anyone?

      1. Mexican Fiesta (hamburger)

        Chopstix (unagi don)

        Tajima (ramen, but only after 10 p.m., and only if I'm half drunk)

        K Sandwiches (the "K" Special and Viet cinnamon roll)

        1. Bale (but not for bahn mi), Sab-E-Lee, Pho Hoa, K-Sandwiches (for bahn mi)

          20 Replies
          1. re: DoctorChow

            What do order at Bale if not the bahn mi ?

            1. re: honkman

              Boba, durian shakes, egg rolls, banh bo, ca phe da, spring rolls, etc.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Durian Shakes??? Wow, you are one tough chick. Has your sense of taste and smell taken a vacation?

                1. re: cstr

                  You haven't lived until you've devoured fresh durian. Frozen defrosted ones are good too, but the fresh ones ... Yum.

              2. re: honkman

                Com tam (bbq pork -- not porkchop), or com tam ga, bun thit nuong or bun ga nuong, pho bo vien, chow ga or ca, and #99 (can't remember what it's called!). Plus wonton sup, mi xa xiu, pho tai (good, but can't compete with their neighbor), Mi Xa Tom, Mi Xa Te Bo. NOT pho tom. And Never on Sunday.

                1. re: DoctorChow

                  Which Bale are we talking about ? I have visited the one on Mira Mesa Blvd often for Banh Mi but have stopped about a year ago when the quality really got bad but I can't remember ever having seen all these dishes on the menu

                  1. re: honkman

                    The one in LV. Yes, the bahn mi is really bad!

                    1. re: DoctorChow

                      LV ? Las Vegas, Louisville, Little Vitaly, Livorno ?

                        1. re: DoctorChow

                          Don't mean to be anal, but it's "BaLe" ... just kind of weird to see this place referred to as essentially a stack of hay.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            You'e absolutely right, and one of the only people who seems to know that. I pronounce it "Baa Lee". Actually, though, they spell it without the second capital letter on their sign, so I don't know...

                            1. re: DoctorChow

                              That's because the sign is in ALL CAPS.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Ha! Well there you have it. I haven't really looked at the sign in a long time, although I go there almost every week, and I guess I thought the sign was written out as Bale.

                              2. re: DoctorChow

                                When it was located on the other side of that mall (next to the grocery store) there was a definite space with a second upper case letter: Ba Le...but that was a decade or so ago...

                                The website with the almost unreadable headline font is of no help:

                                1. re: Cathy

                                  This is a handy link. How long have they had this website? They just changed their menu a few months ago and added photos. And increased their prices -- a lot. BTW, since the latest change, they also no longer have plastic chopsticks. Now they have paper-wrapped wood ones. That's ok, but sometimes they have the really short ones, and it's hard to eat with those. Also, you have to ask for yum and pickled chiles -- not on the tables anymore.

                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                    I saw the website in April, but it could have been up sooner. The lesser prices were when it first opened...last August. I guess they are confident they have a steady clientele now.

                                    1. re: Cathy

                                      Cathy and Doc: have either of you tried Bale's Bún bò Huế?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        That's on my list to try. I don't know why I've never had it there. I've had the Bun Bo Hue several times at Pho Hoa next door, and I think it's very good. I have had the Mi Xa Te Bo a number of times at Ba Le, which is similar (and excellent!), but of course not the same thing as it lacks the full mix of flank, brisket, tendons, liver.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          I ordered the bun bo Hue at Bale (aka BALE, Ba Le, BaLe) and was pleased except that the meat was far too tough. This kind of meat needs a lot of cooking time. The broth was very good and came with nice toppings, but I had to add a lot of additional sate to bring up the flavor, heat, and oil. The bowl came with a six-inch piece of lemon grass in it, a nice serving touch. I wasn't as enthusiastic about the giant meatball, although at least that was tender. The large bowl came with just the right amount and type of fresh vegetables to add. The sliced meat at neighboring Pho Hoa is much more tender and the broth doesn't need additional sate. The bun bo Hue at Phong Trang is kind of in between, flavorful but not as rich, oily, and spicy as I like it. If the meat at Bale had been more tender, it would be my favorite of those three places for this dish. I've had bun bo Hue at a number of restaurants where it comes to the table almost flavorless (won't name names). It's pretty good at all three of these places.

                                        2. re: Cathy

                                          The prices aren't really unreasonable, but since they started out at $4.99 for everything and there there have been at least three price increases since, it's been interesting. Not a bad business strategy, I suppose. As you say, they must be confident in their regular customer base now. Which includes me.