In my post on Manila Fast Food, "Roland" inquires about a place in Rancho Bernardo serving "Chinese Breakfast". Having seized my attention, I immediately tried to find out where this Quik Wok place was. Once I had the address firmly in hand, all I had to do was wait for the weekend......
And we made our way up the I-15, taking the Bernardo Center Drive exit and driving past Pearl and Hunan we found ourselves at one of those jumbo sized spread out strip malls. After driving around a bit, I found a sign with "Chinese Cuisine" written on it....I guess we were here.
The interior looked just like one of those pseudo fast food wok fresh kinda places that have popped up everywhere, except the crew here spoke Mandarin. You sure won't find that in Hillcrest! Still, there was no "secret menu" in sight. I guess that's why they call it a secret menu????
Actually, what most places call a secret menu, is not really a secret menu... it's not hidden, you don't need a decoder ring, or a special handshake..... you just gotta read the language. And Quik Wok is no different, I finally located a paper menu written in Chinese.
And we were off.... just like your favorite Fast Food Chinese joint, you order at the counter, pay at the register, if you're eating in you take a number and amble over to your table. Eventually food will make its way over to you......
First to arrive was the Spicy Tendon ($4.25):
This was a good amount of sliced tendon for the price, and turned out to be the best dish of the day. A good amount of beef flavor, along with a passable (could have used more) amount of Sichuan Peppercorn made this a decent dish. On the negative side, the tendon was cut very haphazardly, and some pieces weren't prepared well and was very hard. The tendon was topped with scallions, which added some pungency, but it would have been better served with Chinese Celery.
Next up was the "Beef Roll" (Niu Rou Chuan):
Next up, a huge bowl of "stuff" arrived. The Missus had ordered the Knife Shaved Noodles (Dao Xiao Mian) with Pork and Egg ($4.95).
The photo doesn't do the portion size justice. Overall the dish was bland and oily, and the Knife Shaved Noodles were too hard, not doughy, but hard..... Too bad, good, fresh, knife shaved noodles, where dough is formed into a sort of an oblong-log shape and strip of dough is sheared off by a sharp knife or other cutting implement is a fairly rare thing, even in the San Gabriel Valley. Slightly doughy, with a nice chew, it seems the uneven edges of Dao Xiao Mian tends to pick up sauce and broth a lot better than other types of noodles. To bad this wasn't it. It was a humongous amount of food for five bucks though.
The last item was the Niu Rou Mian - Beef Noodle Soup, with Dao Xiao Mian ($4.95):
I don't know if it was the broth, but the Dao Xiao Mian did better in the soup. To be honest, this NRM was way better than the version at Hunan in everything but the meat, which really isn't saying much. Like the previous dish had a ton of noodles in it, almost as if there was a fire sale on noodles on this day. On the bad side,the broth was barely mediocre, weak and lacking in beef flavor, with just a hint of heat, and needing an injection of richness.
We polished off the tendon, but ended up with a ton of leftovers, for just over twenty bucks.
Quantity just won't make it over quality in this case. And though the Americanized stuff coming out of the kitchen for the non-Chinese customers like the fried rice looked pretty good, nothing really compels me to return.
On the positive side, it's good to see places such as Quik Wok opening and making a go of it. And just the existence of such restaurants will have us up in North County a bit more often as well.
Chinese menu is only available on weekends.
11967 Bernardo Plaza Dr
San Diego, CA 92128