It's been almost four years since I did a round up post of places to add to my Niu Rou Mian collection. Personally, I feel things have been pretty depressing for NRM in recent years, but thought I'd give it a shot anyway. We've been going through waves of warm almost late spring-like weather followed by blustery storms passing through, so it was really hard to plan things out. But I managed to squeeze in three bowls recently.
This restaurant took the place of 168 Restaurant in the 99 Ranch Market shopping plaza.
As a whole, I usually avoid the place during rush hours, and even when I dropped by during an odd lunch or dinner time, I don't recall seeing people eating here. In fact, on my visit, during a late week dinner, I was the only customer during my entire meal!
It must get pretty boring for the folks here, that's probably why they were practicing their Karaoke skills on the television....of course they weren't using a microphone, just quietly singing along.....
So at least I had a bit of entertainment during my meal. Personally, I thought this was kind of cute in a way, though I would probably have a different opinion if they used microphones.
The House Special Beef Noodle Soup ($7.49), which is listed as this on the check-off menu:
Arrived steaming hot, a good sign, though I've got to say it was probably the darkest looking broth I've seen in a while:
I really missed the zha cai - pickled vegetable that 168 used to top off thier NRM with, and fragrance of the broth wasn't particularly beefy. The noodles were decent, not overcooked, the broth wasn't as sweet as others, but in spite of the dark color, really lacked any depth with regards to flavor.
The beef was fairly tender and had decent flavor, but there were only four real pieces and some crumbs.......
I know I still gotta meet "MrZ" here for lunch one day...... so I'll report back then with more. Though based on the lack of customers, I think I'd better get my act together because I'm not quite sure how long this place will be around.
7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
On my post on Liang's someone mentioned that Mr Dumpling made a pretty good NRM. I kinda hesitated in checking the place out, since the food on my previous visits had not been particularly stellar. Still, Niu Rou Mian? I really had to go and check the place out. The place was totally empty when I arrived....... I actually had to call out several times...Ni Hao.....
While waiting for signs of life, I noticed that they'd put pool tables in on the other side of the wall......I guess they need to bring in customers somehow. This just didn't strike me as a particularly good sign.
A couple of minutes later a live person appeared and I was seated. Of course I order the Niu Rou Mian and was surprised at what I got:
Well technically there's beef, noodle, and soup......but this ain't the Niu Rou Mian I know. It was terrible, the broth lacked nay flavor but salt and the beef was tough and dry. I keep thinking this was some horrible mistake.
7250 Convoy Ct
San Diego, CA 92111
I'm not sure why I decided on Niu Rou Mian at Chin's on Convoy, but that's what I ordered. It was the most expensive ($8.50) of the three. To my surprise it wasn't too bad.
While the broth could have been richer, it did have a mild beef and star anise flavor, along with a slight "kick". Based on previous experiences here, I expected the soup to be on the sweet side, but it wasn't. The meat could have been more tender, but it was by no means terrible. The noodles and there was a lot of noodles, weren't anything special, but at least they were al dente and nice and slippery.
Though I don't overly focus on price, if quality is good, I'm not quite sure this is worth $8.50.
4433 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
I guess I'll have drive up to Temple City again soon and deal with the service at Dai Ho to get a decent bowl......