I've had several inquiries regarding the opening of Kroran, one from "FOY Black Belt Jonez" and two via email (I heard ya' SomTommy). The place opened while we were away on vacation. So, on the weekend we returned, I decided to drop by. My visits were solo because, as I noted a few years back, the Missus isn't a big fan of Xinjiang Cuisine, unless it's as good as we had in Beijing. That's a rather tall order...…..
I arrived on a Sunday. The place looked empty, but the restaurant was pretty busy.
There's a really nice guy who works here. He sat me quickly, a really sweet young lady was my Server....though things did take a while. But they have just opened after all, so I'll give that a pass. I believe the gentleman is Pakistani, the other front of house folks are a mix of Chinese and Middle Eastern ethnicity. I was told that the kitchen staff is from Xinjiang....which boded well.
Though a quick look at the menu was interesting.....there were a few classic Xinjiang type dishes, Laghman (lāmiàn), Chuanr (kebabs), Dàpánjī (Big Plate Chicken) and so forth. Somewhat puzzling was the addition of a bunch of Sichuan dishes and the lack of some of my favorite mutton preparations.
They were also out of a bunch of items...either it had been more busy than anticipated or the kitchen just wasn't ready for those dishes.
Not being physically able to put away Big Plate Chicken, I went with the Spicy Laghman. Supposedly the spicy version of the traditional hand pulled noodles of the region. Other than the noodles looking to have been chopped to smaller pieces, it looked good.
The texture of the noodles were pretty good as well, doughy, with a decent pull and chew. The flavoring though was way off; the beef was extremely salty and strangely dry. I expected tomato on the dish, but it was a bit too much.....and quite salty as well. And this had basically no spice....at least for me it didn't. The portion size was quite large.
Still, the texture of the lamian was pretty good. I made it a point to follow-up the next weekend. I invited some friends to join me, but got no takers. So it was me solo again.
The restaurant was even more busy this time around.
Same really nice folks working as well. Though as with the previous weekend, there were many things not available.
I started with the standard Uyghur Nan.
This was really dry and flavorless.....like it been sitting for a while.
I guess I was kind of expecting something closer to this.....
I really enjoy a good yang rou chuanr; so I figured the Lamb Kawab would have to be good, right?
First off; these arrived in like five minutes, so they were predictably cold. The texture wasn't bad; I expect some toothsomeness and this was fairly tender as a whole. I would have appreciated the meat being a bit more moist, more cumin, and while most are usually fairly salty, this was in need of more salt, and more seasoning as a whole.
For your reference.....
I also got just about the only item available (other than the nan) form the appetizer menu; the cold beef salad. Please note that the description mentions a "homemade chili sauce"...…..
The beef shank was very beefy in flavor. It was as you can tell as dry as heck, though pretty tender. It did need much more in terms of seasoning to bring out the best in the product....like maybe more anise tones or even a "homemade chili sauce"?
So here's the deal. I like the nice gentleman and the young lady who work the front of house, the food is not terrible, but as I've mentioned before, as much as I like Xinjiang Cuisine, I'm not just "happy to have it". I'm going to give the place a "pass" for now. I'll drop by again in a few months.
Kroran Uyghur Cuisine
4310 Genesee Ave
San Diego, CA 92117
Tues - Fri 11am - 3pm, 5pm - 10pm
Sat - Sun 11am - 10pm