Back in June, my good FOY (friend of yoso) "Yummy Yummy" sent me a text regarding a new place that opened in the strip mall with the worst parking on Convoy.....yes "that" mall. I usually avoid the place unless it's an early lunch at Tofu House or a late one at Crab Hut. Anyway, YY mentioned something called Red Moon Noodle House, so I dropped by on a weekend morning just to see what was going on. Looking at the photos of the food got me interested, the "Japanese-Chinese Cuisine" designation really got my attention, though I gotta say, Champon and Japanese Mabo Tofu are not my favorite things in the world. Still, I was at least going to check the place out. Unfortunately, the hours were kind of strange, at least for me opening at 3:30 on weekdays was kind of a tough draw for me, so I had to wait until the weekend(s) arrived.
Arriving on a weekend afternoon, with O'Brien's and other businesses in the strip mall going full tilt, it was strange walking into a totally empty restaurant.
And indeed the menu had the afore mentioned champon and yakisoba...and even tan tan noodles. The young lady working was very, very friendly, and the middle aged gentleman came on over and chatted....he thought I was Chinese! I came to find out he is Chinese, but from Japan. Thus, the juxtaposition of cuisines.
Anyway, I had one thing on my mind and the gentleman recommended the other. what caught my eye was the House Special Chicken with Garlic Sauce ($6.75). It looked suspiciously like Shandong style chicken......a poor man's Dezhou Pa Ji/Dao Ko Shao Ji kind of thing.
And it did kind of remind me of a (very) poor man's Earthen-style Shandong Chicken. All the flavors seemed a bit muted and just falling short of pleasing, the mild sweet, faint vinegary tones, except for one thing....the raw garlic. The garlic just killed the dish and folks who read our blog often know how much I love garlic, but in this case the garlic stood alone.....and not in a good way, throwing the balance of the dish off.
The Salt and Pepper Pork Chop ($6.75) was recommended.
On the good side, I don't think this has much MSG, if any at all. On the bad side, it's doesn't have much of anything else. The flavor was really mild, the batter too gummy and not crisp enough.
As you can tell, these aren't humongous sized portions, but enough for me. During my meal, the gentleman's wife came out to see how I was doing....she's a joy, very motherly and sweet. So I decided to come back and give the place another try.
I love pan fried noodles, so I went with the Shrimp Pan Fried Noodles ($8.50):
The noodles had been fried well, crisp, but not crumbly and the shrimp was done well. The vegetables were a bit under-cooked for my taste, but was decent. The sauce was on the very weak side, a bit too watery, a soy sauce-pepper combination that tasted like something I'd make at home.
Since shrimp was the theme, I ordered the Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($10.95).
These were more lightly coated than the pork chop, but could have still had a bit more crispness to them. The flavor was on the very mild side and I think the onions and peppers could have had a bit more time in the wok, or a higher heat to develop the sugars a bit more. This seemed a bit on the small end with regards to portion size, but that's ok with me.....I actually ended up taking most of this home for the Missus to try....She agreed with me.
I have to say that I really, really, like the folks running this place, they are so nice and the food I would deem ok for lunch, though they are closed during the weekday lunch hour. I prefer more assertive, yet balanced flavors for my food and from that perspective this really didn't deliver. When the weather cools, I'll probably stop by to check out the Champon, I'm hoping for the best.
You can read Kirbie's post on Red Moon here.
Red Moon Noodle House
4646 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
Mon-Thu 330 pm - 10 pm
Friday 330 pm - 1030 pm
Saturday 12pm - 1030 pm
Sunday 12 pm - 930 pm