Funny thing, I've been in a bit of a Salt and Pepper Chicken Wing slump. Royal Mandarin has been kind of going downhill and the last two orders from Mandarin Canton have been less than stellar. For almost the last year, I've heard folks mentioning a place called Liu's on Coronado Avenue in Nestor. One even dubbed them the "King of Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings". So finally, FOY (friend of yoso) "RightCowLeftCoast" mentioned the place....this provided the impetus for driving down the I-5 toward IB and stopping in a strip mall to find Liu's. Which is located near a Rite Aid and a Barber Shop.
This place looks like something from a different age....man, those 70's were something, right? I loved the A-B-C-D on the window. I always call these types of restaurants ABCDE - abceedee - American Born Chinese Dining Establishments.
Man, the interior of this place is kinda beat.
Though I did kind of love the little figures lined up on the old fashioned diner sill.
And no, the peeling wallpaper, yellow and running signs, the torn seats, nor the rather sticky floor that could use a steam clean, or perhaps a hand grenade didn't bother me at all. I've had no less than three people tell me that this place made really good chicken wings. Places like this don't stay in business by poisoning their clientele.
The menu actually gives you reverse sticker shock.....Shrimp Fried Rice $5.85? I love that all the dishes also had Spanish translations. Still, I was here with one thing in mind, the Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings ($7.50), which happens to be one of the most expensive items on the menu.
If it's all about the batter, you'll like these, not as salty as other versions, but still with a touch of sneaky heat. The batter is lacquer like; which puts it into the class of Mandarin and Mandarin Canton...there's lots of crunch going on here.
My big complaint is the very low quality of the wings. Do you see the wings with the "black" in them. The bones in these wings had broken and the fluid and the marrow from the bones had seeped out, changing the flavor of the meat. I know you probably don't eat wings for the meat, but still...... That one drum on the bottom tasted freezer burnt. Nine wings at $7.50, that means 80 plus cents a wing....in spite of the prices of other items on the menu, that's not a good value based on the lack of quality control. One of these days I gotta learn about how wings are graded and sold.....I'll put that on my bucket list.
The wings here are not bad....in fact, if you run into a batch that isn't freezer burnt, or suffering from marrow ooze, you'll probably like it a lot.
The King of Salt and Pepper Wings.....don't start the coronation yet.
Liu's Chinese Restaurant
1850 Coronado Ave
San Diego, CA 92154