Chef Chin

Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 12/8/12
Time in: 10:55 AM
Time out: 12:17 PM
What we ordered: Handmade dumplings, pork noodle soup with preserved cabbage, meatball with cabbage, wine-marinated chicken, pork belly dish that I didn’t have a chance to write down the name of
Number in our party: 3 (Howie as a guest judge)
Final check amount: $68.09
Price per person: $22.70

NOTES

  • It’s cozy inside, like a Midwestern family restaurant.  They use lots of wood in their furnishings, and I expected black lacquer and fake marble.
  • When we walked in, the servers hastily removed the chopsticks from our table and replaced them with silverware.  WTF?  We have never been so speedily gaijined at a restaurant.  It would be interesting to see if their reaction is different if it’s just Howie and me.  (For those who don’t know us personally, Jenne is white, and Howie and I are Asian.)  Anyway, it was a bit off-putting.
  • The menu they first give you is for boring Americans.  Seriously, it’s pretty much the same selection as a Panda Express. (Well, except for the Nude Party!)  You have to ask specifically for the Chinese brunch menu.  Howie suspects that there is at least one more level of secret menu.
  • They did bring the chopsticks back once we ordered from the brunch menu.
  • I would come back for the pork noodle soup.  It was tasty!
  • The dumplings were delicious!  They were nice and simple — the filling was satisfying and well-seasoned, and the wrapper wasn’t chewy.
  • The pork belly dish was very tender, but it had a distinct barnyard taste that I didn’t like.  Jenne thinks that flavor came from overcooking the meat. Howie really liked it, though, so maybe it’s just us.
  • The wine-marinated chicken was surprisingly addicting.  I was a little taken aback by the boozey flavor in the first slice, but I kept reaching for more.
  • We turned to Howie, who is a greater authority on Chinese cuisine, for the final judgment.  He opines that Chef Chin is quite good — much better than Chin’s in Mira Mesa.  The pork with preserved cabbage was even better than Ba Ren’s!
  • The tall lady (clearly a boss) was quite nice once we earned her respect with our order.  She packed up our leftovers and even gave serving suggestions for reheating and eating.

RESTAURANT INFORMATION
Address: 4433 Convoy St
Phone number: 858.499.8964
Website: http://www.chef-chin.com/
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Lot shared with Cali Baguette Express
Ideal group size: 2-6
Noise level: 2

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