A couple of months ago Casa Medina replaced I believe, Bismallah Restaurant....which I recall (reading the sign)served Pakistani, Indian, and yes, Chinese food. I had actually wanted to check them out several times, but the Missus, probably with good reason, always vetoed the suggestion.
Still, for some reason, the name intrigued me.......Casa, is fairly straight forward....obviously "house" right? But was the Medina, the Andalusan surname....very Spanish....or was it the Arabic "Medina"? Against my better judgement, I decided to find out.
This would have seemed like such a strange experience if not for two things; first, the young lady working the counter was so sweet, friendly, gracious, and overall great.
There is a bar with serve yourself chips and various salsas.
The chips were hot as they were just brought out. The salsa roja was really weak, but then I found the stuff in the squeeze bottle; a chipotle based sauce with what tasted almost like yogurt/lebni in it. It was really good....that was the second thing, because from there, everything took a nose dive.
Since this was Halal, I ordered the two piece chicken plate, not cheap at $9.99. Even though the leg and thigh were really small, flavor trumps all....except when the chicken has no flavor...and is dry....and tough......
Let's not even go into the dry and hard tortillas (2), the very bland beans and the mushy and very salty rice.....well....let's not.... As I was eating, I looked around the empty restaurant, wondering if I was a victim in some kind of strange, "punk'd" like show....it was that bad. Once, many years ago, a barbershop opened up in my neighborhood. I walked by one day to see a good friend of mine giving some poor dude a haircut. I say poor dude because this friend wasn't a barber.....he was a cop! I looked at him and he gave me a nod and I kept on walking..... A couple of months later; there was a story in the paper about a sting which used a barbershop as a front....that poor unwitting customer. That's kind of the feeling I had.
Was it as bad as the Turkxican Doner-rito? No, not nearly....but that's like saying which you prefer, being electrocuted or run over by a bus. I'll take none of the above. In all honesty, if the food was halfway decent, I'd give the place another try; the young lady working the front of house was so very sweet. But as things stand....sorry to say this "ain't no Halal El Pollo Loco".
5450 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92117