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Todai Restaurant – Sample the Sushi Inexpensively

It was 11:15 and, inside the door, 12 people were lined up for inspection. The servers were all assembled for a check of their uniforms and a final pep talk by the manager before the doors opened to Todai Restaurant. Outside, over 40 people already were lined up at the door, patiently waiting to be admitted in 15 minutes.

Located at a highly visible spot on Camino del Rio South, beneath the Highway 805 overpass from Highway 8, Todai Restaurant offers a good reason for early arrival and enthusiastic patronage. The sushi and other dishes are excellent, inexpensive and one can eat as much as desired. For sushi lovers, it is heaven on earth.

Sushi has become a very popular food, with a large discriminating and sophisticated following. Sushi chefs often go through years of training before they become qualified to work in better restaurants.

The style at Todai is buffet, self service. The restaurant is divided into two large sections on either side of the entry area. One side holds the sushi and seafood buffet line. The other side holds the dessert buffet line. Salads are handled on conical islands. Hot foods are located in the center section, just past the entry. Stainless steel gleams everywhere. The place is immaculately clean. Tables and chairs are Spartan but, who cares. The price is right.

In addition to servers, there is a small army of chefs behind the buffet lines, continually preparing and presenting more food. Platters of food are cleared quickly as satisfied diners reach forward with tongs and serving utensils to load up their plates. Kitchen Manager Philip Chou explained, “We have cooks from all over – China, Japan, Phillipines – each preparing their special dishes. Our sushi chefs are highly trained. This is also the kitchen where we continually create and try out new products. “Chou is the chef that creates the menus and sets up all the new kitchens for the restaurant chain.

Todai Restaurant is a franchisor, with over 14 locations running, and more openings scheduled throughout the United States and internationally. The idea is simple: sell good sushi, seafood and other dishes in a comfortable atmosphere at moderate prices. With successful locations in Hawaii, Texas, Washington and throughout California, the idea seems to be working.

More than 40 varieties of sushi are available. If one doesn’t know what one likes, this is a good place to try different presentations. Diners who are into sushi really love the dishes and consider the food to be very healthful. There are books and websites offering advice on how to prepare and eat the various types of sushi that the talented chefs create.

Most new sushi eaters begin to develop their tastes for the dishes with the “rolls”, like California Roll or Tekka Maki (tuna roll). Little bits of fish and sometimes vegetables or avocado are wrapped in a bed of rice, held together by seaweed or other binding. But preparations can include salmon, kani (crab), unagi (eel), hotategai (scallops), uni (sea urchin) and other denizens of the deep. The fish is usually raw or smoked and attached to a small bed of sticky rice. The flavors depend on the type of fish used, the preparation and the condiments the dish is eaten with.

I love the California Rolls and Todai’s version was very good. The salmon sushi was very fresh and flavorful, making me feel loaded with good health. A tofu sushi was new to me and interesting. The tufo was prepared in the shape of a large ravioli, open on one side, covering the rice like a small tent. The unagi (eel) was also very fresh and tasty. The whole sushi line was a blaze of color and taste.

Hot dishes included lobster, grilled beef, chicken teriyaki, sukiyaki and sea bass. Over 15 items were available. The chicken teriyaki tasted a bit overcooked but the grilled beef was very good, as was the imitation crableg, breaded and deep fried and looking just like the real thing. My favorite hot dish was the vegetable tempura, with a light and tasty batter that melted in my mouth after dipping in soy sauce. Tuna cakes were small, but I could make repeat trips if I so wished. Dumplings were spicy, which I enjoyed and the “sweet and sour” pork was well done to a crunch.

The available salads included shrimp, oysters and snow crab, but I was saving room for dessert. The buffet dessert line was almost as long as the sushi line, with over 30 items displayed. These include cheese cake, carrot cake, and a “mango surprise” that was overpowering with fruity taste. Most desserts are small, bite size piece, like sushi and very satisfying.

Beer, sake and wine are available, including Kirin and Sapporo Japanese beer brands. Parties as large as 500 guests can be handled for corporate events. Todai Restaurant is comfortable and service is attentive. The real draw of Todai is the beautiful and good tasting large variety sushi which may be enjoyed at a such affordable price. Lunch costs $12.95 and dinner $21.95, with prices slightly higher on weekends.

Todai Restaurant is located at 2828 Camino del Rio South. There is lots of free parking. Call 619-299-8996 for information and directions.

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Jyoti Bihanga

There is a small restaurant in San Diego where, by the simple act of dining, we can contribute to world peace. The cuisine is very good and very healthful, to boot.

The restaurant is Jyoti Bihanga, located in a storefront building on Adams Avenue in North Park. The name is a Bengalese (now part of Bangladesh) phrase that means “the cool bird of the absolute light supreme”. It is stenciled on a wall high up near the ceiling, next to drawings of flying birds.

The name was given to the restaurant by Sri Chinmoy, the leader of a worldwide movement with thousands of followers, who dedicate themselves to the principles of love and world peace. Some of the profits of the restaurant’s operation go towards supporting this work. There are 16 such restaurants around the world, each with a different name but united in this mission.

Sri Chinmoy’s name is not as readily recognizable as the names of other spiritual leaders but his influence is broad. He has been supported by such luminaries as Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana, among others. Twice weekly, he travels from his headquarters in Jamaica, New York to the UN Building in Manhattan to conduct meditation programs for the many diplomats whose activities directly impact on the state of the world.

The cuisine at Jyoti Bihanga is strictly vegetarian. No animal products of any sort are used. Recipes use only natural ingredients and the preparation is relatively simple. However, the tastes, textures and colors of the dishes are very gratifying. For carnivores who enjoy “meat” most, there are several fake-meat dishes offered that have a remarkable similarity to the real thing.

The restaurant is comfortable and decorated with plants and flowers. Tall church-like window allow a great deal of light to enter during the day. The walls are painted a mellow, relaxing light blue color. A very large photograph of Sri Chinmoy hangs on the wall.

The ambiance at Jyoti-Bihanga is very calm and serene. Service is quick and efficient. The menu lists a daily special called the Peace Special, in honor of Sri Chinmoy. Appetizers include “Never Say No Nachos” and a tasty Hummus Dip.

Both wraps and sandwiches are served. The wraps are particularly good. The Grilled Portobello Wrap consists of grilled marinated Portobello slices with red bell peppers, fresh spinach and cheddar wrapped in an organic whole wheat chapati. It comes with a tofu sauce that is wonderful.

Thai stir fry dishes come with sautˇed vegetables, tofu, and peanuts on brown rice. The peanut sauce is totally tantalizing.

For the carnivore, BBQ mock duck actually tastes like duck sautˇed with a barbeque sauce. The “neatloaf” dishes are takeoffs on “meatloaf” with a similar look, texture and taste. Buddha Burger is a patty made of soy protein that is a tasty burger without the fat and excess calories.

If you still have room for dessert after the large portions are finished, the carrot cake is made from scratch with fresh grated carrots and walnuts. It is topped by a terrific cream cheese frosting.

Prices at Jyoti-Bihanga are very inexpensive. It would be easy to enjoy a delicious meal for less than $10.

One good reason to frequent the restaurant, though, is to help support the ideas of world peace. Sri Chinmoy advocates meditation, prayer and athletics. Training of the body is one of his important messages. The manager of Jyoti Bihanga, Mahiyan (his adopted first name) Savage, was once a star tennis player who competed in the French Open.

The organization put together a Peace Run in 2001 that covered over 11,000 miles in all 50 states and went through more than 2000 communities carrying a “Peace Torch” to promote world harmony. It has a worldwide yearly schedule of marathons and races that it sponsors, the largest scheduled program operated by one organization, to bring people together in the idea of harmony.

The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run is a biennial, international torch relay founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1986. The large participation athletic event unites people of diverse races, cultures and social backgrounds to share their aspirations for peace. A flaming torch is passed from hand to hand and heart to heart across six continents to spread the message.

So, by the simple act of dining, we have the opportunity to bring about positive change in the world. In addition to good food, free classes in meditation and vegetarian cooking are offered. Jyoti Bihanga is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. It is located at 3351 Adams Avenue. Call 619-282-4116 for information and directions.

CyberEater Restaurant Reviews may be found published in the Daily Transcript. In addition to Dining San Diego’s Guide to Fine Restaurants in San Diego, please visit the San Diego Cyber Concierge web site for help finding the ideal restaurant for your needs. Copies of Dining San Diego Magazine are FREE at major hotels.

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Dublin Square – It’s Irish!

The Irish spirit expresses itself to me joyously in literature, music, and dance. I feel “Irish” when I read Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce, or listen to U2 or watch Michael Flatley’s Riverdance. There is, indeed, something different about “being Irish” that connotes fun and excitement.

This spirit is nurtured and amplified at one of San Diego’s newest pub restaurants, Dublin Square. Developed by Sam Ladki, with the consultation and assistance of the Guinness IPC (Irish Pub Concepts) team, Dublin Square recreates an authentic pub in the heart of the Gaslamp.

Sam Ladki, who is now an “honorary Irish citizen” complete with a “key to the city” of Kilkenny, conceived the concept while skiing at Whistler, British Columbia. After a day on the slopes, he and his friends would recuperate at the local pub, which was filled with happy customers. He realized that the concept would work well in San Diego and organized the venture. With the help of general manager Andrew Noone, who has opened 28 such pubs all over the world, Dublin Square has become one of the key attractions of Fourth Avenue.

Andrew Noone defines the pub as a “city pub, full of light and female friendly.” The doors to the outside patios swing open to let daylight penetrate deep into the interior of the premises. Passersby can see immediately the fun that is going on inside.

Everything in the pub is authentic. The furniture, moldings, panels and artifacts were all crafted in Ireland and reassembled here. The Horse Shoe Bar is a replica of Tynan’s Bridge House Bar, a well-known locale in Kilkenny. The lounge is a recreation of the Shelbourne Lounge in Dublin. The fireplace is over 500 years old.

Dublin Square offers nine beers on draft, five of them imported. Guinness Beer is featured. The beer is a dark, rich color with a gold color head that is full of the flavor of the malts. The brewery was found over 250 years ago and has become one of the most widely recognized beers in the world by creating an excellent array of products and through clever marketing and branding.

The food recipes are authentically Irish, prepared by Chef Charlene Kenny, who was brought overseas to run the kitchen. Potato Leek Soup ($3.50 per bowl) brings good warmth on a chilly day. Smoked Salmon ($9.95), served with toast tips and capers was thick and very tasty. The fish is “cold smoked” to give it a distinctive flavor. A traditional pub favorite, Irish Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skins ($6.95) was loaded with cheese. The restaurant will soon feature a new broad selection of bar appetizers. Tradition Irish soda breads have a sweet taste that goes well with lots of butter and brew.

One of Dublin Square’s signature dishes is Fish & Chips ($9.95). The fish is battered with a mixture blended with Harp beer and served with Killarney sauce. The recipe for the sauce is a closely guarded secret. It does add a lot to the taste of the dish. The chips were round cut rather than cut along the length, creating more surface area to absorb the malt and other flavors. The portions are large and the presentation was excellent.

Corned Beef and Cabbage ($8.95), another traditional favorite, was cooked in Guinness. It also included boiled potatoes. Again, the portion was large and tasty. Other entrees include Shepherd’s Pie ($8.50), ground sirloin topped with mashed potato and baked, and Traditional Irish Stew ($8.95), with large chunks of lamb in a broth. It was excellent. Irish Breakfast ($8.50) is served all day, offering eggs, sausage, bacon, soda bread and black pudding and white pudding. Be sure to ask your server how the puddings are made. Chef Kenny’s original training was in making desserts. Her Bread Pudding ($5.50) and Apple Crumble ($5.50) are really worth trying.

Dublin Square offers live entertainment on most evenings including Irish dancers and bagpipers. Be sure to call for the schedule. On Sunday afternoons, the entertainment is family oriented and children are encouraged to participate.

What makes a pub restaurant like Dublin Square different from a regular restaurant? “It is the atmosphere we create,” Mr. Ladki explained. “We offer good dining in a relaxed casual atmosphere where everyone can mix together and have a lot of fun!” The ambiance, brews and food at Dublin Square carry it off. Prices are inexpensive to moderate. Reservations are suggested at 619-239-5818. The restaurant is located at 554 Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp.

CyberEater Restaurant Reviews may be found published in the Daily Transcript. In addition to Dining San Diego’s Guide to Fine Restaurants in San Diego, please visit the San Diego Cyber Concierge web site for help finding the ideal restaurant for your needs. Copies of Dining San Diego Magazine are FREE at major hotels.

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Panda Inn

In the past few years, a wave of joy has occasionally swept our city and, at times, our nation – a sense of excitement that I call “panda-monium”. This frenzy involves giant panda bears- receiving one, watching a birth of one, and so on. Receipt of a panda is often a cause for intense civic celebration because it takes high level international diplomacy to get a panda bear to a zoo. Panda exhibits are prominent in such major zoos as in San Diego, Washington DC and Atlanta. Successful research on panda preservation is often heralded in zoo fund raising drives. Webcams allow a 24 hour access to every grunt and groan emitted by the bears.

People love pandas, those cute and cuddly black and white bears that often symbolize our childhood.

I also love another panda, Panda Inn on the top floor floor of Horton Plaza. The restaurant has been at the location since the Plaza opened, over 16 years, and we spent many happy hours and occasions during my childrens childhood.

I revisited Panda Inn to plan a family dinner. “It is a wonderful place to bring the family,” said the general manager Juan Villalpando, “because we serve ‘family style.’ All of our portions are generous and we encourage sharing between people to have them experience the blending of our many flavors.”

The founder of Panda Inn was a chef in China before he emigrated to the United States. The company now has 5 restaurants as well as over 400 Panda Express fast food units nationwide. The Panda Inn concept is all about elegant, upscale dining. On February 27, the company will unveil its new menu in the Pasadena unit, which will include a “Forbidden City” page featuring classic recipes.

The style of cooking is predominantly Mandarin and Szechuan, blending the sweetness of the former with the spicyness of the latter.

Panda Inn has a distinct philosophy for food preparation. Dishes must satisfy on many sensory levels. COLORS must be vibrant and show the natural beauty of food. FRAGRANCE of food, its natural perfume, must signal the delicacy that is to be enjoyed. TASTE must burst with flavor. When all of these elements are properly balanced, the result is COMPLETENESS, the feeling of satisfaction in enjoying a good meal.

Add great service to the mixture and you have a memorable meal. Our server was informative and attentive. “All our servers are trained to make recommendations to insure that flavors are balanced and complement each other, not compete with one another,” Villalpando explained.

I had a choice of sitting on the outdoor patio, which is a great place to enjoy a beautiful day and to watch the crowd, or the comfortable interior. I could even have a city view table with a “peek” of the ocean. The interior is beautifully decorated with Chinese artifacts and large urns, many framed in dark wood. Two “Xian” horses are esconsed on one wall. The ambiance is of a very upscale, elegant ethnic restaurant.

We began with Mu Shu, an appetizer that can be made with chicken, pork, or vegetarian. We selected the chicken version, which is made of tender chicken slices mixed with cabbage and deep fried in a wok. This is blended with soy sauce and rolled into a thin crepe-like pancake. The dish is prepared ceremoniously be the server tableside. Hoisin sauce is available for extra flavor, which it did not need. The dish was wonderful.

Other appetizers and soups include Fried Shrimp, Steamed Dumplings, Three Flavor Sizzling Rice Soup (a terrific dish) and Mango Duck Salad, together with other selections.

The menu is selective and very easy to work with. A la carte entrees are listed on one side and the specialties are listed on the other. The names of dishes are immediately familiar to anyone who enjoys Chinese cooking. Noodle dishes include lo mein and chow mein. Shrimp is prepared a number of ways – “hot” Kon Pao, Sweet & Sour, or in tangy garlic sauce. Meat dishes include Moo Goo Gai Pan, Peking Duck and Mongolian Beef. Vegetable dishes include Sauteed Spinach and Braised String Beans. Chinese restaurants are often favored by vegetarians because of the variety and flavors of pure vegetable dishes.

The Shrimp with Broccoli was amazingly good. Panda Inn must have a friend at the fish market because all the shrimp were so fresh, well sized and firm. Quickly prepared in a wok, with soy, the flavors of the fish and vegetable matched perfectly. We added Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, that had a delicate but delightful oily taste infused with the garlic flavor.

Honey Walnut Shrimp is one of the most popular dishes and, with one bite, I knew why. The taste is amazing. The shrimp is glazed to a honey yellow color that is very appealing. The glaze gives it a crunchy texture with an explosion of flavor when you bite into it. The walnuts are boiled in a syrup and then deep fried to seal in their sweetness. Eat the shrimp and walnuts together and you get a strongly textured mouthful with an amazing blend of sweetness and firmness. Wow!

The bar offers cocktails, a good California wine list and a choice of domestic and international beers, including beers from Japan and China.

No Chinese meal is complete without a fortune cookie. The Chinese culture strongly believes in luck and fortune. At Panda Inn, fortune cookies are very special because they are dipped in sweet white chocolate. When they were young, my children could hardly wait for the end of the meal.

Desserts include Cheesecake, White Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake and traditional leechee nuts in syrup.

The best way to enjoy Panda Inn is to partake of the Sunday Champagne Brunch. The many appetizers and entrees available allow one to mix, match and blend flavors to find that perfect, satisfying combination.

Another element that makes Panda Inn so satisfying is the price. In my view, given the elegant ambiance and wonderful flavors, dining at Panda Inn is a bargain. Prices are inexpensive to moderate. Entrees and specialties range $10-$15. The all-you-can-eat Sunday Champagne Brunch is only $17.95. It is one of the best deals in town.

Panda Inn is located on the top level of Horton Plaza. Reservations are suggested. Parking is easy, in the seven story free, validated parking for diners and shoppers at the Plaza. Call 619-233-7800 for information.

CyberEater Restaurant Reviews may be found published in the Daily Transcript. In addition to Dining San Diego’s Guide to Fine Restaurants in San Diego, please visit the San Diego Cyber Concierge web site for help finding the ideal restaurant for your needs. Copies of Dining San Diego Magazine are FREE at major hotels.

© David Rottenberg, 2002, All Rights Reserved

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Old Town Mexican Cafe

Dining at the Old Town Mexican Cafe is like visiting with an old friend, whom I know well and with whom I feel very comfortable. I’ve been coming here for years. In fact, when I visited San Diego with my family before moving here, I would bring my kids to Old Town Mexican Cafe. I can still hear their delightful laughter when the big basket of tortilla chips was delivered to the table.

Old Town Mexican Cafe is located close to the beginning of Old Town of Highway 5. There is a crowd often by the front door, waiting for seating or just watching the”Tortilla Ladies of Old Town” patting flour and corn tortillas flat before putting them onto the large grill. There is also a huge rotisserie in one of the windows, with skewers of chicken and ribs slowly turning as they are transformed into succulent dishes.

The restaurant was established in 1977, making it one of the older eateries in the area. It occupies an old Safeway store but has grown and been transformed over the years. There are several distinct areas. The front of the building is divided by two long, dark and romantic bars, back to back, that run about half the length of the building. The area on the left has a faux-seaside look, with ocean views painted onto the walls. The area to the right has a faux-hacienda look, with an overhanging roof that looks like a porch exterior. Comfortable booths are located beneath the overhang. Minot Ferson, one of the two managers on duty, explained, “Safeway stores have very high ceilings. The overhang was created to give a greater sense of intimacy to the room.” Talented mariachis stroll through the restaurant, entertaining diners with cheerful Mexican songs. A driveway runs alongside the building which leads to a large parking lot for diners.

The back rooms are colorfully decorated with streamers and banners. It is like going to a party. The restaurant handles a large catering business and serves private parties. The capacity of the restaurant exceeds 400 guests.

Old Town Mexican Cafe has won numerous awards over the years for the excellence of its cuisine. The San Diego Restaurant Association has granted to it the Golden Medallion Award for four consecutive years. A leading local magazine has given it awards for ten years running.

Minot Ferson continued to explain why the restaurant is so successful. “We’re ‘old school’, with very authentic tastes,” he said. “Our cuisine style is from the Guadalajara region, not too spicy but, on the other hand, not bland. We use lard to give our dishes the kind of flavor that our customers grew up with.”

The kitchen is supervised by one of the owners, Herb Lizalde. His nephew, Matt Lizalde, was the second manager on duty. I was informed that the volume of the restaurant is so great, with so much food being prepared and served daily, that ingredients are always fresh.

Tequila is one of the featured items, as well as domestic and Mexican beers. There are over 60 tequilas available. Some of them are quite distinctive and rare. My server pointed out one brand that sells for $100 per shot. Several Mexican beers are available both in draft and on tap.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It stays open until 2 am for late night revelers. Dishes on the menu are marked as “a favorite” or “spicy but not too hot”. Breakfast items include Chorizo con Huevos (Mexican sausage and eggs) and Machaca con Huevos (shredded beef and eggs). For less adventurous diners, there is a Gringo Special (bacon, ham or sausage and eggs).

The lunch and dinner menus offer traditional tostada, enchilada, burrito and combination dishes. One may even create a combination of one’s own choosing. The house specialties- carnitas (pieces of pork), Mexican style ribs and pollo (chicken) are worth considering. They are served with condiments that include cilantro, onion, tomato and come with wonderful, handmade tortillas hot off the grill.

After enjoying a very flavorful peach margarita (this is a great drink to test the skill of the bartenders), I ordered the Old Town Pollo. The large ¸ chicken came right off the rotisserie. The skin of the chicken was coated with tasty spices and the skin was delightfully crispy. I quickly wrapped slices of the chicken, along with cilantro and tomato into a tortilla and enjoyed a fabulous “wrap.”

There may be a wait to get seated at Old Town Mexican Cafe but it is worth it! Prices are inexpensive to moderate. With all the action going on in the restaurant, the place is fun! The restaurant is located at 2489 San Diego Avenue. Call 619-297-4330 for information.

CyberEater Restaurant Reviews may be found published in the Daily Transcript. In addition to Dining San Diego’s Guide to Fine Restaurants in San Diego, please visit the San Diego Cyber Concierge web site for help finding the ideal restaurant for your needs. Copies of Dining San Diego Magazine are FREE at major hotels.

© David Rottenberg, 2001, All Rights Reserved

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THE GREEN FLASH – GREAT AT SUNSET!

My daughter loves sunsets. On a typically beautiful San Diego day, she would park her car by Windandsea Beach and, in a semi-meditative state, watch the bright orb sink below the shelf of the ocean’s horizon. She would often tell me excitedly that she saw the “green flash!”

What is the “green flash?” When conditions are right, just as the sun sets, it seems to bounce back up above the horizon in a brilliant green display. It is a physical phenomenon that is caused by the atmosphere’s absorption and dispersion of different wave lengths of visible light. Sunset lovers are often enchanted by the shortlived glow.

The best place I know to catch the “green flash” is at its namesake, The Green Flash Restaurant. Located at the end of Thomas Street, not too far from the lifeguard station, the restaurant is as close as possible to the sandy beach.

The restaurant is a fixture on the local scene. It has been here since 1965, when Armando opened a snack bar at the location. It grew and expanded over the years. In 1990, Alan, Armando’s son, changed the name to “The Green Flash.”

The wall of the restaurant facing the ocean is all windows, looking out onto the ocean. The outside patio is similarly encircled with protective glass. Adjacent to the boardwalk, diners can watch the skimpily clad rollerbladers, bikers and strollers meander by. While eating, it is fun to look at the sunbathers slowly turning from side to side to even out tans, or playing Frisby energetically.

It is easy to get into the feeling: THIS IS CALIFORNIA! The sense of freedom and communion with nature is why people sell homes and uproot families to come to San Diego.

My companion and I enjoyed a lovely sunset and dinner at The Green Flash. The weather was just right for sitting on the comfortable patio. There are several space heaters set up for when the weather is cooler.

The menu includes a variety of steak and prime rib selections but the specialty is seafood. There is a good selection of fresh fish always available. Even more tempting are the combination dishes, featuring both seafood and meat.

Appetizers include clam chowder (to be expected), oysters (rockefeller or on the half shell) and pupu platters. The latter are really incredible. Pupus are Hawaiian dishes and are labeled “sized to share.” The Original Beef Pupus – strips of beef and peppers in a pineapple soy sauce, served in tortillas ($10.95) – were delicious and HUGE.

The daily fish selections can each be prepared in a variety of ways. The scallops ($16.95) I ordered, for example, could have come to me charbroiled or in lemon butter or garlic sauce. My companion’s salmon ($17.95) could have come charbroiled, in an Italian prepartion or Cajun-blackened.

My scallops were firm but not stringy. They were cooked to the point of perfection and had a buttery consistency. The side dishes of vegetables and baked potato were excellently presented and very tasty. My companion’s salmon was so good that she turned to the waitress, pointed to her empty plate, and asked, “Did I do a good job?” Portions are large. Dinners also include salad and bread.

The wine list is not exceptional but the selections are good and well priced. Our waitress was particularly knowledgeable about wines and made several good recommendations.

The end of the meal is often the best part and The Green Flash certainly excels. A variety of desserts is offered, some of which change daily. My favorites were the carrot cake ($3.95), made of 21 outstanding ingredients and the brownie sundae ($4.50), a fudge brownie topped with walnuts, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Yum!

The ambiance at The Green Flash can be described in one word: comfortable. It is relaxed and mellow. One can be a casual as one wants (shorts and t-shirt) or dressy (suits & ties) . During our evening, the interior of the restaurant was practically filled with well dressed people enjoying a group event. This is CALIFORNIA! Prices are moderate.

The Green Flash is a local favorite for weekend morning breakfast or lunch. I discovered that the sunsets and dinners are also hard to beat.

The Green Flash is located at 701 Thomas Avenue in Pacific Beach. Take Grand or Garnet to the end and then turn to Thomas. Telephone: 270-7715. Reservations are accepted.

CyberEater Restaurant Reviews may be found published in the La Jolla Village News. In addition to Dining San Diego’s Guide to Fine Restaurants in San Diego, please visit the San Diego Cyber Concierge web site for help finding the ideal restaurant for your needs. Copies of Dining San Diego Magazine are FREE at major hotels.

GREEN FLASH
701 Thomas Ave
Pacific Beach
(619) 270-7715

[Dining San Diego’s CyberEater is a member of the
Southern California Restaurant Writers Association.]