A couple weeks ago, Adam and I were on a serious Asian cuisine binge. We only had sushi once when we were in Connecticut, and that was already almost a month ago! So naturally, that Thursday we stopped by our newest favorite sushi spot in San Diego: Katzra Sushi Bar on (where else?) Convoy.
And then Friday was a ramen kind of night. But we chose not to go with our go-to Tajima, and instead decided to branch out and try a new place. Can you believe it? Me neither. But when we ended up at Hinotez (right near Convoy but surprise! on Balboa), I was happy we did.
Katzra Sushi Bar
4233 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa
858-279-3430 ▴ Yelp
So let’s be real for a second: around the corner from Katzra is Sushi Deli, which is wildly popular in San Diego because it’s so inexpensive. And you know why it’s so cheap? Because it’s not that good. Listen to me people. I loved it the first time I went there, and then I ate sushi at other places (like Nozomi on Convoy, Fish Attack on Clairemont Drive, and Katzra on Convoy, where sushi rolls are only an extra $2-5 each), and then I went back to Sushi Deli and I was wicked disappointed.
Read the Yelp reviews for this place. It’s legit. The parking lot (just like every other parking lot on Convoy) is absolute crap so you should probably just plan on parking on the street. But honestly? It’s doesn’t matter. The sushi here is so, so good. The sushi chefs are friendly, and the server we had last week was the only server working and she was amazing. What should you get here? Umm..everything. Because we’ve seriously tried every single roll and they’re all really good. But as an FYI, they do have a sushi happy hour type deal where you can get some rolls for, I believe, as little as $3. And then for some reason they always have a “grand opening special” which is 20% off house rolls. So we went and got seaweed salad, a beer, a glass of wine and five (yes, FIVE) sushi rolls, and it was only $55. Yup.
Moving right along…
Hinotez Japanese Restaurant
7947 Balboa Avenue, Kearny Mesa
858-565-4244 ▴ Yelp
Alright, so back to what I was saying. Can you believe we didn’t go to our usual ramen spot, Tajima? It’s kind of ridiculous since we go there whenever we can. We decided to give this place a go.
Let’s preface this by saying this restaurant is in front of one of the dive-iest bars I’ve ever been to. One of Adam’s friends loves it and we went with him one time, expecting there to be a ton of young people and have it be super trendy (that’s the kind of person this guy is). But when we walked in, it was more middle-aged people just hanging out and there was karaoke. And some girl was singing Jennifer Hudson and she was amazing. And they served Magic Hat #9 (my favorite beer ever that I rarely find out here since it’s brewed in VT), so basically this place was a win for me.
Got a little off-track there. Whoops.
We couldn’t find this place initially when we GPS’d it but then we saw the sign for the Carriage House (that bar I just went off about) and knew we were in the right spot.
We walked in and it was fairly empty, so they were able to seat us right away. And then we saw that not only did they have ramen but they had a bunch of other really good stuff, including skewers. A whole page full of skewers. So we ordered a pork belly one and a beef one, and then two bowls of spicy tonkatsu ramen.
Let’s start off with that skewer. Probably the best I’ve ever had. The meat was tender and flavorful, and fell right off the wooden stick (learned from Jerseysjov below that the wooden stick is the actual skewer [which leads me to believe I’m an idiot]).
Now for the ramen. The verdict on this?
Amazing. Possibly better than Tajima. Which is saying a lot. I’ll probably still go to Tajima so I can have their scallop croquettes but Hinotez’s ramen was just so damn good.