The Missus and I recently had some Dim Sum, and of course I automatically took some photos. But we arrived right at the end of Dim Sum service, and so we decided that perhaps we'd just delete these photos. Not that the Dim Sum was "tired", well some of it was........
But then it came to me! It seems that everyone had fun with the Mid Week Mystery Market; so how about guessing the Dim Sum Restaurant? Same rules, first 7 Emails I receive that guess the correct Restaurant, I'll send you a cup of Peet's on me!
So let's get rolling, shall we?
The Jook was excellent, really rich, with lot's of preserved egg, and strips of pork instead of the usual ground pork.
But of course it could be that the porridge had been simmering away all day, gaining flavor. And all of the good stuff had sunk to the bottom. Which is what we got. But really good anyway.
The rest was average to mediocre. Except for one other dish that I'll reveal tomorrow.
I just realized that this one may be waaaay too easy, so I'll stop here.
My one clue? The restaurant is in San Diego County.
The rules are same as usual; one correct guess per IP address. First seven wins.
I'll finish the post, and have a few more photos, along with revealing the restaurant tomorrow evening!
Friday Morning Clues - You know, I've had some good guesses, along with some really excellent observations that I will add as clues. These will help those that have had Dim Sum in San Diego, and still are not quite sure which restaurant it is.
1 - Notice the Taro Gok, if you look toward the upper right you'll see some interesting clues.
2 - Same photo, notice how the fried taro balls are served. A certain Dim Sum house in San Diego serves it up differently, immediately removing that restaurant from contention.
3 - Notice how the tripe is cut; very thick. Also, some Dim Sum restaurants top the tripe with a red chili, removing that restaurant from contention.
4 - The best observation was made by Liver Bomb who noticed the mustard/chili dish. Talk about attention to detail!
So has anyone guessed correctly yet? Sorry, can't say.....
Friday Afternoon Clues - Just a photo of the Pan Fried Noodles with Seafood and some prices.
Pan Fried Noodle with Seafood($9.50):
Dim Sum Prices :
Small - $2.10
Medium - $3.20
Large - $4.20
Super - $6.50
The Restaurant is...... Silver Ark, a restaurant that recently opened on Mira Mesa Boulevard.
Since we arrived at the end of Dim Sum service, we've decided to revisit when we have a chance. Our overall impression, is that the restaurant is a step below China Max, Emerald, and Jasmine. The Pan Fried noodles were pretty good, lot's of noodles, the scallops were good, though the shrimp was not of the highest quality.
But we'll definitely try Silver Ark again, and do a "real" post.
Silver Ark 8993 Mira Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92126
This recent hot and humid weather has really dampened my appetite. It has been kind of a challenge coming up with items that I really feel like eating, and there's no way that I'm going to slave over a stove, or even turn on the oven.
So it kind of hit me during a nice lunch with Captain Jack, who does His San Diego Restaurant Reviews Site. Understanding that he'd want something a bit different, I ordered Oshizushi:
Oshizushi, literally "pressed sushi", is created in a wooden or plastic "box", called an Oshizushi-Bako. This version is from Sammy's. Though this version is somewhat "Westernized", it is still quite good, and pretty filling. At Sammy's they call it "Six in a Box". A layer of rice is placed on the bottom of the mold, then another layer, usually with uni, hamachi, masago, and green onions. Another layer of rice is placed on on the rice with maguro and salmon, or another item, then a lid placed on top of the mold and the sushi is "pressed". Sammy finishes His version of Oshizushi wrapping it with Tororo(made from Kombu).
I once sat next to an Gentleman enjoying His Oshizushi, and became engaged in a nice conversation. He told me about the wonderful Oshizushi he had in Osaka, according to him, the "home" of Oshizushi. The rice for Oshizushi there was very aggressively flavored with vinegar. He also mentioned Battera; a specific type of Oshizushi topped with Saba. The Oshizushi at Sammy's uses his regular mild Sushi Gohan(rice).
I just thought I'd do this post, because I really don't see this much anymore, and it tasted quite good on such a hot and muggy day........
I'll be back with a new restaurant tomorrow. Hope everyone is keeping cool in this hot weather!
*** Pho Tu Do has closed, and will reopen as a Sushi-Teriyaki Restaurant.
A few months ago; the "Twins" from Sandwich Emporium mentioned Pho Tu Do, and specifically, the various "Khai Vi"(appetizers) on the menu. Peter(or was it John) mentioned that the appetizers on the menu at Pho Tu Do are pretty hard to find in San Diego. Then, a few weeks later Howie of a A Foodie View, and His friend Codergirl also mentioned the unique(for San Diego) appetizers at Pho Tu Do. So last week, I finally made it to Pho Tu Do.
As I parked my car, I realized that I had eaten here several years earlier, and had a very mediocre bowl of Pho. But this time I was in search of something other than Pho.
Unlike many other Vietnamese Restaurants, the menu at Pho Tu Do is short; about 8 appetizers, 20 soup and Com Tam(broken rice) items, 13 beverages, and 4 desserts. It sure makes ordering easy - no "Vietnamese Menu Overload" here!
On this visit I started with Banh It-Banh Ram($3.75):
Two sticky, glutinous rice balls, with a mochi like texture is filled with shrimp and diced pork, lay on top of a fried croquette also filled with shrimp and pork. All topped off with green onions, that seem to be partially cooked, and ground shrimp. Served with a little bowl of Nuoc Mam Cham.
Though these appetizers were a bit on the heavy and oily side, the contrasting textures; the gooey glutinous sweet rice ball, against the slightly crunchy deep fried crouquette, were interesting. It was also a challenge to eat, being very hard to cut and quite hot. The shrimp tasted quite interesting, having a flavor that edged toward that of re hydrated dried shrimp, though not quite as intense. The shrimp also looked like it had been cooked in annatto oil, or some other annatto based product. Overall a very interesting appetizer.
Having also heard that the Owners of Pho Tu Do(don't know if it's true or not) where from Central Vietnam, I decided to try the Bun Bo Hue (small - $5). The garnishes that arrived were on the skimpy side.
Though the bowl of Bun Bo Hue was quite large for a "small" bowl:
For me, this was a very disappointing bowl of Bun Bo Hue. First off the broth was cloudy and weak, and not very spicy at all(first time I've ever had to add slices of jalapeno to my Bun Bo Hue). The thick cut beef was very tough, though the slice of Pork Leg had some tasty edible meat on it. The noodles were overcooked and on the mushy side as well.
Still, I saw two other items on the menu that interested me. So, a few days later, I managed to talk the Missus into having dinner at Pho Tu Do. This time I ordered the Appetizer Sample Plate($6.00):
The tray arrived with 1 piece of the afore mentioned Banh It and 5 little plates of Banh Beo, each plate contained a little round rice cake, topped with fried pork, green onions, and ground shrimp. Topped with a touch of Nuoc Mam, I thought these were quite enjoyable.
But our hands down favorite item were the two pieces of Banh Bot Loc.
Two sticky "dumplings" made of tapioca flour is stuffed with shrimp and pork, and topped with ground shrimp and green onions. The ratio of filling to tapioca "cake" was perfect, as all of the flavors melded together in harmony. You could also still make out the flavor of the shrimp and the fatty pork, which kind of got lost in the huge glutinous Banh It. I think this would make a wonderful snack.....
We also got an order of Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon - $3.75).
These were okay, full of too much Bun, and not enough herbage to give it flavor. We both noticed that the Sot Dau Phong(peanut sauce) served with the spring rolls was very good.
The Missus ordered Her favorite hot weather dish Bun Cha Gio(vermicelli with Egg Rolls - $5.75):
This was a very large bowl of Bun. The Egg Rolls were very good, crisp and full of shrimp and pork flavor. The noodles were terrible, almost hot, and cut into small pieces, and over cooked. The only greens served with the Bun was a chiffonade of lettuce on the bottom of the bowl. Most puzzling was the Nuoc Mam Cham, on this visit, we both noticed that it was very weak in flavor, it tasted almost watered down, and even getting another bowl of the sauce didn't help this dish, it just made it more watery. In the end, a very unrefreshing dish.
Still, every time we pass Pho Tu Do, we talk about stopping for a couple of orders of Banh Bot Loc...
The service at Pho Tu Do is quiet and efficient, and the clientele seemed to be mostly Vietnamese, in direct contrast to most other Vietnamese Restaurants in the area. Pho Tu Do almost always seems empty when viewed from the street, though when I've visited, there always seems to be a few people eating there.
Pho Tu Do 5430 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
I guess it's about time that I did a post on Bay Park Fish Company, since we live 2 miles from the place. BPFC, is a nice little neighborhood eatery that is a welcome addition to the area.
A portion of the area is utilized as a fish market, the rest as a Restaurant and Bar.
I would call the restaurant design as sort of "industrial-chic", with cinder block walls, corrugated metal siding, and high ceilings with an exposed duct system. Sportfishing photos, and "sea creatures" adorn the walls.
Recently, Bay Park Fish has started a Happy Hour, though the hours are quite early starting at 3pm, and ending at 5pm, the Happy Hour is offered 7 days a week. The Happy Hour covers menu starters(25% off), $2 Fish Tacos(mahi-mahi), and draft beer(5 types, quite pedestrian selection like Amstel Light, Widmer Hefeweizen).
The Missus was very happy to see Her favorite menu item the Smoked Fish Plate( $7 - $5.25 Happy Hour) being discounted for Happy Hour.
This fairly large portion of "fish salad" hits all the right notes for us. Lightly smoked fish, mixed with just tad of mayo, is neither fishy, nor gloppy. Minced jalapeno adds some heat and the kernals of corn add a bit of sweetness. Mix in the pico de gallo, and the avocado, scoop it with a tortilla chip, and it is delici-yoso!!!
The Missus has been having this twice a week during the recent hot weather.
On this day, being very hungry we ordered the Deep Fried Calamari($6 - $4.50 Happy Hour).
A very generous basket of Deep Fried Calamari was dropped off on our table. We enjoyed the panko crust, though the calamari was slightly on the tough side. The aioli, with a layer of olive oil really didn't bring much to the calamari. Just a squeeze of lime was fine, strangely, I like malt vinegar on these as well. I'll have these again.
I also ordered a "small" side order of Fries($2):
Actually a not-so-small basket of shoestring fries. I really enjoy the slightly crisp, nicely salted fries. They take me back to childhood; I used to love those canned shoestring potato snacks, though these are miles ahead.
But we weren't done yet. The Missus's intention was to take home most of the smoked fish salad, and have some fish tacos. Which is just what she did.
A trio of a Grilled Halibut Taco($4), Fried Shrimp Taco($3), and a Grilled Mahi Mahi Taco (Happy Hour - $2).
The Mahi Mahi Taco:
Too much white sauce killed the fish taco for us. The fish, which was a bit on the over-cooked side still had a nice flavor. The corn tortillas were moist and had the distinctive corn taste that decent corn tortillas should have.
The Grilled Halibut Taco:
This was one killer piece of perfectly grilled, moist and flaky piece of fish. While a bit pricey at $4 a pop, it was very good.
The Fried Shrimp Taco:
The three little pieces of fried shrimp, no matter how good were totally lost in the sauce, pico de gallo, and shredded cabbage. Also, we really didn't care for the "hot sauce" provided with the tacos.
Compare those with this Grilled Halibut Taco we had on a later visit:
With a squeeze of lime; perfect simplicity.
The menu at Bay Park Fish features a limited, but varied menu, along with specials of the day. The Specials usually include several different tortas, and other items.
Here's the Yellowtail Torta($8.95):
A nice slice of grilled Yellowtail, avocado, tomato(very good tomato), and lettuce, in large Bollilo type roll. Though the Yellowtail was a bit on the over-cooked side, it tasted very fresh, with the flavor of black pepper coming through. The coleslaw was a forgettable ramekin of vinegary mixed cabbage, though a large order of shoestrings were also provided.
There was an item on the appetizer specials that caught my attention.
It was the Ahi Poke Appetizer($12). 12 bucks for Poke seemed to be a bit much, but I decided to try it anyway.
A large goblet filled with cubed Ahi, garnished with green onions, sesame seeds, and wakame, lay on a layer of mixed greens, and topped with WonTon Chips. The flavor of the Poke was not my cup of tea, the fish was marinated with a oyster sauce-shoyu-sugar(could be mirin) mixture, which is fine for stir-frying, but the overly salty, sweet, and assertive oyster sauce flavor over-powered everything.
During the meal, I mentioned the flavoring to one of the Servers, a really funny, and nice guy named Jeff, who told me that several variations of Poke had been tried, and this was the most popular with the "regulars". So, I guess it's different strokes....
In our opinion, Bay Park Fish is at it's best when the fish or the other seafood is presented front and center, and simply prepared.
Here's the Smoked Fish Sandwich ($8):
Shared with the Missus, along with a Fish Taco, and 2 Ice Teas, a very generous meal. And still under $20.
The service at Bay Park Fish is very nice and friendly, though like many neighborhood eateries, there are occasional hiccups, like sauces forgotten, or sometimes mistakes in preparation(we ordered our taco without white sauce). Still, we are very happy to have Bay Park Fish close by in our neighborhood.
Bay Park Fish Company 4121 Ashton St San Diego, CA 92110
Over the last 14 months or so, I've collected quite a few photos. Most of them end up in the recycle bin, since I do "goof-up" alot. I try to be organized, but sometimes I find a collection of photos that leave me scratching my head. As in where the heck was this???? This is such a collection. I did find out which market it was; I had put the "street shot" in another folder, and it was left languishing.
So, I guess it's better late then never. But here's the deal; first 5 Emails I receive that guess the correct Market, I'll send you a cup of Peet's on me. The reason I chose Peet's, is because I can Email Peet's certificates.
Let's start the clues.....
1 - This is a Southeast Asian Supermarket, you know right away, since they stock everything from Betel Leaves:
2 - This San Diego Supermarket, has quite an interesting collection, some looking quite old:
And items that are quite new...at least to me.
3 - As with this type of market, there is the requisite Meat and Fish department. Though it is quite small.
4 - If you've ever been in this market, the produce department is a dead giveaway:
I think I've provided enough clues. But here are a few more photos.....
There is some interesting stuff here.
The Missus always tells me, that after a while, all of these markets look the same.
But I'm willing to bet that there at least 5 of you, who can figure this market out in no time flat.
And you will be much smarter than I, since it took me about 15 minutes to remember where the heck this was.
And though this market, was a bit worse for wear. It was still fun for me! And I'll drink to that, though probably not with Palm Juice.
Once I have enough guesses, I'll reveal the Market. One correct guess per IP address, please have a valid Email address.
Hope you enjoyed this little Mid Week quiz!
Thursday morning update - I probably made this too hard. Though I think if you ever set foot in this market you'd recognize the produce department. So here's some clues, that I've included in the response to comments:
- It's not any of the Viet Dong Markets, nor World Foods.
- It is not on El Cajon Boulevard.
Again, comment away - though I'd rather have email guesses - but since you all like to share....
Thursday noon update - Sheesh...... More clues. Let's see.....
- It is not on Mira Mesa Boulevard.
- It is not in the South Bay area.
- I haven't done a post on this market
- And this should clinch it. If you look real carefully at the photo of the seafood bin - you'll notice part of the market logo....just a small part, but if you've ever walked or driven pass this market you should know it. And possibly made fun of the name.....
My apologies...I must totally suck at giving out clues. Nobody figured it out! I'm totally devistated. The answer is:
97 Super Market 4679 University Ave San Diego, CA 92105
I know, I'm terrible at giving out clues.....but tell me, would you want me to do this again? If I made it easier????
Song Huong Food to Go is another little Mom-and-Pop hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese Diner/Snack Shop located on the corner of Menlo Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard.
This intersection of ECB, must feed a heck of alot of people. A Chau and Minh Ky, are right across the street, and Song Huong shares the strip mall with Thien Thanh Restaurant. Which is how we came to eat at Song Huong. After a recent visit to Thien Thanh, the Missus walked on over to Song Huong to order an Avocado Shake(which she thought was good, BTW). She noticed the Young Lady working there, who turned out to be the Owner's Sister eating a pretty large bowl of Bun Rieu. So a few days later we dropped by for a quick meal.
The interior of Song Huong is small, and spartan, with a mere six tables, and boxes of supplies, and a cooler, along with the requisite high bar counter taking up most of the space.
The large middle table is usually occupied by family and friends, either reading, eating, or on one occasion participating in a very lively game of cards.
Song Huong also boasts an interesting variety of Banh Mi, all priced at $1.99:
One quick look at the menu, and you'll make an interesting observation. Most items are under $4.99!
In the mood for something spicy I ordered the Bun Bo Hue, the Spicy Noodle soup($4.50) without blood. A plate of "garnishes" soon arrived at the table.
The plate of herbs and veggies varies for Bun Bo Hue varies from restaurant to restaurant, and this version included mint, tiet to(purple perilla), shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, basil, and lettuce. Pretty much a little bit of everything.
A few minutes later the noodle soup arrived.
Like the garnishes, Bun Bo Hue varies from restaurant to restaurant. For example, many restaurants will serve the Bun Bo Hue, as an almost clear broth with chili oil added for heat, and a bowl of fermented shrimp paste and chili paste on the side. Pho Hoa Hiep, and Convoy Noodle House serve their Bun Bo Hue in this manner. I prefer having all the flavorings already added and mixed into the broth, like Pho Ca Dao does. This was the latter version. The broth for this Bun Bo Hue was very straightforward and to the point, nice and spicy, but not very complex. The shrimp paste flavor was also quite muted. In what I found to be a unique touch, Lean Pork Sausage(Gio Lua) was added to the various cuts of meat in the soup. The meats(Thick cut beef, tendon, and some inedible pork parts) were not the best, most were tough and dry, but there was a heck of alot of noodles. The Bun Bo Hue succeeded in filling me up, and then some.
The Missus ordered the Bun Cha Gio Tom Nuong(Vermicelli with Egg Rolls and Shrimp - $4.50):
Like the Bun Bo Hue, this dish accomplished what it should. It really filled you up. The Cha Gio were stuffed with alot of pork, and the Missus poured two little bowls of Nuoc Mam Cham over the generous portion of noodles, and chowed it down. And left quite satisfied. Not quite the level of the Bun at Thien Thanh, but $1.50 cheaper.
A few days later, I decided to grab a Banh Mi, so I headed over to Song Huong, looked at the photos and placed my order for the Dac Biet(special). Now this is where I ran into a little miscommunication. This is the Banh Mi I received.
The bread was nicely toasted and had a combination of a crusty exterior, combined with doughy bread. I didn't care for the tough cilantro twigs, but there was a good balance of pickled vegetables and cucumber. Beware the stealthy jalapeno, just when you don't expect it, you'll munch on a huge piece of jalapeno, hot enough to stop your heart. Of course, if you're like Ed from Yuma, and driving while eating your Banh Mi......
What I thought was strange were the meats, which basically consisted of Char Siu, though there two types of Char Siu in the sandwich, pieces that were fatty, and looked like pork belly, and slices that were lean. I loved the thick "smear" of pate', but didn't care for the amount of mayo on my sandwich. But still, for $1.99, who's going to complain.
Also, the Gentleman who took my order was neither the person who I believe is the Owner, nor the tiny Young Lady who speaks perfect English. Or maybe it was just the "Dac Biet" du jour?
Undeterred, I arrived back at Song Huong a few days later, and ordered the Banh Mi Dac Biet again($1.99). And this is what I got on this occasion.
So it was basically the same sandwich as before, but without the mayo, and this time with Gio Lua? Damn good sandwich, whatever it is. One thing I did notice; you should eat these ASAP, the bread goes downhill very quickly. Also, these are not the super long K Sandwiches style Banh Mi, but I think they have much more flavor.
One last thing, when ordering, grab one of the plastic menus, you'll find that the numbers on the display, do not correspond with the numbers on the menu. Recently, I ordered some Buon Cuon($4.99) to go, using the numbers off the board, when I got to my destination I was shocked to find Bun Thit Nuong(Vermicelli with BBQ Pork)! Sorry no camera, but it wasn't too bad, just not what I intended to order.
Song Huong opens at 6am in the morning for coffee and drinks, but the kitchen doesn't get going until 730 or so. I think I'll drop by one morning for the Scrambled Egg Banh Mi.
The folks are quite nice, though as mentioned above the are some communication issues, and other "quirks". Of course, if you speak Vietnamese, you'll have no trouble. Song Huong is a well priced, take-out joint, so if you're a bit low on cash.......and in the area, you can always grab a Sardine Banh Mi for two bucks!
One quick note: As with many parking lots in the area; it can be hell! I've been blocked in twice in this particular lot, and had to go from shop to shop to find the driver of the car that blocked me in.
Song Huong Food to Go 4650 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115
I'm sure this post will quell all those who are seriously concerned about our red-meat intake. Samba Grill is a new Brazilian Steakhouse, or Churrascaria, the crowning jewel residing on the top floor of Horton Plaza Shopping Center in downtown San Diego.
If I remember correctly, this used to be FAO Schwartz. The Missus and I have fond memories of meals at Greenfields, Fogo De Chao, and Roda Viva in Los Angeles, but were a bit disappointed at the protein provided at Rei Do Gado, though we enjoy the salad bar and hot table items. To us, $35 per person is just too much to pay, for a good salad bar, and rodizio items that vary widely in taste and quality. What we decided to do at Samba Grill, was to grab lunch there, which is priced at a very reasonable $13.99($11 - salad bar only). This would help us determine if dishing out $35 for dinner would be worthwhile.
We arrived fairly early at 11am sharp, and were shown to a table in the very large dining area:
As with most Rodizio style buffets, there is a "red-green" item located on each table. Green means "bring on the meat", red means "no mais".
If you've never experienced a Rodizio style meal, I'd recommend trying it at least once. It's a fun way to eat, and if done right, is a great way to pace yourself while getting your meat "fix".
To me, in addition to the "meat-fest", the buffet items hold an equal importance. At the Churrascarias I've been to, there usually is a very nice salad bar, with great items such as hearts of palm, marinated artichokes, and a variety of cold items. In addition, there are a few soups, and various hot dishes, and starches. This is sample of a few of items offered at Samba Grill:
Most of the items were very mediocre, and not even close to Rei Do Gado in flavor. The selection was rather small as well.
But let's stay positive; I love fresh beets, and could eat them plain, with just a squeeze of citrus. So needless to say, I truly enjoyed the beets flavored with a nice vinaigrette. The "Feijoada", the beans and meat dish(in this case only sausage), though very simple, was the other hot table item that stood out. Other then that, and a well seasoned potato salad, the parade of flavorless mashed potatoes, pesto pasta salad, and other items were very uninspired. And no hearts of palm...bummer!
But of course, the meat-fest was just beginning. So for the uninitiated, think of a Rodzio as a reverse buffet. You sit, and the protein comes to you, courtesy of Servers carrying meat skewers, carving them right at your table.
Remember "green means go"!
The meats at Samba Grill run the gamut. From the fairly good - bacon wrapped turkey, pork ribs, and a very well seasoned, though dry Pork Tenderloin.
To the mediocre, which consisted of either over-salted, under salted, over cooked, or very, very dry. This includes the "coulda been a contenda' garlic rubbed sirloin"(If you could just eat the caramelized outer portion of the sirloin, this would be a winna'), chicken wrapped in cheese, and really tame and dry sausage:
Then there was the plain bad, such as the tough and dry sirloin caps. As you can tell; most all the meats are served well done. This creates quite a challenge for tougher cuts.
And one really heinous, old and metallic flavored dish; the skirt steak. I seldom ever have a piece of meat I can't swallow. But this was one of them.
We came to understand the cuts at Samba Grill, anything Sirloin was dead dry, as were many of the meat items. For example, the best part of the Filet Mignon were the onions.
But I will probably return to Samba Grill for lunch. Why? Well, there was a Young Man who served the Missus and I, who ranks among the "top 10" of any Servers that I have ever had. I'm not kidding. I really must apologize, because I don't think I'm able to spell His name correctly. It's something like Chiago, or Chiango. Anyway, here's a photo:
He had a demeanor, that I'll call "warmly professional, and genuine". Once he found out we were really interested in what we were eating, he described each item in detail. By the end of the meal, we had developed a very nice rapport with Him. Once we had finished, and turned our dial to red; He came up to our table and said "Sorry, but I didn't see the sign. This just came off the grill, and it is good as you'll get. So I'll have to pretend I can't see!" And proceeded to place a piece of perfect, sizzling, bacon wrapped turkey on our plates. And He was right, the best item of the day.
I would suggest that you try Samba Grill, but for lunch first. From what I understand, there are only 2-3 more meat items served for dinner(lamb and chicken hearts among them). If I were to make a comparison between Rei Do Gado, which is right across the street and Samba Grill, it would be even on the meat; but Rei Do Gado has it all over Samba Grill with regards to the Salad Bar and hot table items. But, I've had some very lousy service at Rei Do Gado, while the service at Samba Grill was very warm and friendly.
I will say that the charcoal spit roasting technique that Churrascarias use is probably more healthy than the pan-fried, crowned in butter style. Though having most everything well done is not showing the beef at it's best.
Some notes: Remember you'll get 4 hours of Horton Plaza parking validation when dining at Samba Grill. I also understand that Samba Grill is the San Diego extension of the Samba Grill in Salt Lake City, Utah.
If you've never been to a Rodizio style Churrascaria, I'd encourage a visit.
Samba Grill - located on the top floor of Horton Plaza 510 Fourth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
Lunch, $13.99 Salad Bar only $11 Dinner, $35. Salad bar only $20