Best Things I Ate This Month: September 2018
Lemon pepper wings at Cross Street Chicken and Beer, walnut pesto gnocchi at Ulivo, and soft-shell crab at Himitsu
Lemon Pepper Wings @ Cross Street Chicken and Beer
I really like Cross Street Chicken, and I have some serious problems with it (you can read my full review here). It’s a sunny, friendly box serving Korean fried chicken and craft beers. It’s got a nice patio. It’s also maddening. But the chicken is very good. Korean fried chicken is so good because they fry it twice, making the skin crack like glass. The lemon pepper variety may sound boring, but it’s excellent, salty and tangy and savory with the herb and spice blend they dust on it. I would’ve tried far more flavors. Read that full review to understand why I just simply couldn’t.
4403 Convoy Street, Clairemont
Walnut Pesto Gnocchi @ Ulivo
Ocean Beach is wildly, amazingly provincial, one of the last great beach towns in America where locals go out of their way to support local businesses. One of the longtime standards is Olive Tree Marketplace, which sells sammies and snacks and wine and stuff. Next door they’ve opened this Italian restaurant, and while the Michelin guide won’t make a special trip to hang a star on it, I’ve eaten there twice now and been pleasantly surprised both times. Sit on their patio and try this dish, pillowy potato dumplings in a creamy walnut-basil pesto. Gnocchi’s tricky, because it can turn dense, like eating sandbags. But Ulivo’s are nice and fluffy.
1776 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, Ocean Beach
Soft-Shell Crab @ Himitsu
For next month’s issue, I’m reviewing Himitsu, a little sushi restaurant opened by a longtime protégé of Master Ota (of Sushi Ota fame). The best thing to do here is sit at the bar and order the omakase, where chef Mitsu Aihara just serves piece after piece of his day’s freshest catch. For the side dishes, this soft-shell crab was phenomenal, lightly fried and served perched in a warm, delicious broth. Order this along with their wasabi Caesar salad and there’s not a much better lunch to be had in town.
1030 Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla