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Crispy Chicken n' Tomato / Kotobuki / Zgara Greek Grill



These are some of the spots I've visited lately.


Crispy Chicken and Tomato - La Jolla



What a weird name for a restaurant. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to watch Madam Web, out of sheer, morbid curiosity. It's been getting dismal reviews but I had $5 rewards to burn from being an AMC Stubs Premiere Member, so it would be a cheap ticket. AMC La Jolla 12 is one of my favorite theaters since most of the chairs recline almost into a bed. Although that theater doesn't have IMAX or Dolby Cinema (my preferred format), it is cozy and has decent projection.


I intended to get a bite at Ike's Sandwiches in the same strip mall as I've never been there. As I was walking towards it, I stumbled across Crispy Chicken and Tomato, which I noticed was new. Previously, there was another Korean Chicken Wing place at that location which was pretty decent but I forget the name of. Way before that, it used to be Fins, which was a fish taco restaurant that I liked better than Rubio's.


Anyway, I glanced at the lunch menu.


I figured out right there that I preferred something other than sandwiches right now.



They've only been open for less than a year, I believe, so the furniture is pretty new. As far as the menu, I'm not a Korean Chicken Wing expert, but it seems to be pretty standard menu. You select the number and types of wing (regular or boneless) then the sauce and sides. There's a bunch of different sauces to choose from, such a as the standard honey soy, spicy, and garlic to the unique truffle salt, Black Aglio, and others. Sides offere include fried rice, radish, corn slaw, and other assortments.


I decided to order the boneless Honey Soy Chicken Lunch special. It came with veggie fried rice and corn slaw. About $15.



I didn't have much expectation, but this was actually pretty decent.



The chicken was nicely breaded and fried. Wasn't greasy and the breading stuck to the chicken. It had a decent crunch and even though they used breast meat, it wasn't dry at all. The flavor of the Honey Soy was nicely done. It had the nice balance of sweet honey and the saltiness of the soy. Neither overpowered the other in flavor.


It was a good portion size and a decent meal. Would I go out of my way to visit? Probably not, but if I were to choose between the food choices at La Jolla Village, it may win over the others depending on my mood/cravings.


Apparently, this chain is pretty popular in Japan, with over 250 locations. The only US locatiojns are in San Diego, with Clairemont and Poway as being the other two (one planned n Carlsbad in the future). Hopefully it does well in San Diego since Korean Fried Chicken places are a hit and miss in this city.


Crispy Chicken n' Tomato

8657 Villa La Jolla Dr.

San Diego, CA 92037


Mon - Wed: 11AM - 9PM

Thurs - Sun: 11AM - 10PM



Kotobuki - Clairemont



Kotobuki is an unassuming Japanese restaurant in Clairemont, east of the 163 and on the corner of Clairmont Mesa Boulevard. It's been here for a while and I only discovered it last year. Been here a couple of times before snfd it's always been fantastic.




It's a pretty small place with a handful of tables on opposite sides of the dining area, and a counter with a few seats there. There's also a couple of tables outside. Every time I've been there, whether lunch or dinner, it seems to be the same waitress, always working hard. There isn't an area where you can watch the sushi chef make sushi. Everything is done in the kitchen, and you only see the one waitress. The magic happens in the kitchen.


The menu is pretty extensive. There's a good selection on combination plates, such as Teriyaki Chicken chicken or salmon, Sashimi Bowl, and Bento Boxes. There's also sushi (ngiri and cut rolls) plus the usual nigiri.


I started off with the fatty tuna Toro and Salmon nigiri.


The Toro was fantastic. It was extremely fatty and melt in your mouth tender. One of the best Toro's I've had (although I know there are better). And it was reasonably prices. The salmon was good too. I wish they had salmon belly since that is my go to. The quolity of fish is exceptional.


I decided on the Bento box, which came with miso soup.



Although it was standard Miso Soup, it was good. Lots of miso umami.




I've only had the Bento Box at this restaurant, but it is pretty fantastic. Usually when I find something good at a restaurant, I will stick with that item almost everytime and rarely venture off to different entrees. Alot of times when I try something different, I am disappointed and which I ordered the usual. So most of the time I will order the same this until I get tired of it.


Anyway, onto the items on the Bento Box. First, off the salad is a nice starter. They use a sesame based dressing which is pretty tasty. There's also a big chunk of soft silken tofu that is usually pretty cold and refreshing.


The tuna and salmon sashimi was great. The pieces were pretty big for being part of a combo/bento box and the fish was of good quality.


The tempura was fried exceptionally well. Not greasy at all. There is a piece of shrimp, broccoli, carrot, and sweet potato.


Usually, I stay away from mackerel, especially with sushi. But the way they prepared this mackeral, broiled with a sweet glaze (probably a miso and soy combination), i thoroughly enjoyed it and didn't mind it being mackerel.


Anyway, Kotobuki is hidden gem in Clairemont. It's easy to overlook it but it is a worthy destination.


Kotobuki

9340 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Ste B

San Diego, CA 92123


Tues - Sat: 11:30AM - 2PM ; 5PM - 8PM

Sun and Mon: Closed



Zgara Greek Grill - Linda Vista



This one will be short and sweet. Zgara has been in Pacific Beach for a few years and moved to Morena Boulevard in Linda Vista a few years ago. It's in an area where parking can get scarce and tricky to pull out of since it's right next to Morena Boulevard.




Inside is nice and clean. Lots of tables and a bench area with seats.

They seem like a standard Greek Restaurant, complete with Gyros, Souvlaki, Falafel, etc. Whereas most other Greek Restaurants use and mixture of ground lamb/beef for their gyros, Zgara uses pork instead. This is pretty authentic because some regions of Greece used pork instead of lamb for Gyros. It looks like they use real cuts of pork instead of a grounded meat mixture. This sets them apart from most Greek Restuarant in San Diego.


I ordered the Gyro (pork) Sandwich Combo. It comes with fries and a drink. The pork chunks are carved from the usual spit.



This was a thing of beauty and really hit the spot. The pork had some nice crispy edges. Meat was tender and not dry. It was seasoned/marinated really well. They give you a generous amount of pork. There is the usual lettuce, tomato, onions and tzatziki sauce, but I barely remember them since all I noticed was mostly the tasty pork. The fries were standard and fine. The star of the show was the pork. That just stays in my memory.


The staff is always very nice. Everything is made to order and as I was watching the staff put together my food, it seems like that they take special care with each order. This place will be on my rotation list a lot more.


Zgara Greek Grill

1229 Morena Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92110


M-Sat: 11AM - 8PM

Sun: Closed

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Guest
Mar 06

All the Crispy Chicken & Tomato places seemed have been Padadak. I wasn't impressed with Padadak, and haven't been inspired to try CCnT. Kotobuki looks to be near my office, so I will try it soon. And I'm overdue for a visit to Zgara.

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Zgara is a regular stop for me. The traditional style of the house made pork gyro really reminds me of Greece. Been a fan of Erick's gyros since the PB days waaay back in 2015.

CCnT was a bit underwhelming for me. Glad you didn't get the onion rings which were incinerated. To me, it's the weakest of the KFC places in SD.

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Denver
Denver
Mar 05
Replying to

I'm craving Zgara's again. It should be a more frequent rotation for me.


Yeah I was just satisfied with CCnT but not blown away. I need to try other KFC's like Bonchon to compare.

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