Jade Thai and Mandarin
10330 Friars Road #104
San Diego, CA 92120
By Judi Curry
I have done several reviews of restaurants suggested by readers of the San Diego Free Press and/or the OBRag. One of my readers – Michael – asked me if I had ever gone to the “Jade” before. I knew where it was on Friars, and remembered eating there but not much about the cuisine. So I called my friend Jim and asked him if he wanted to join me. He drove all the way from Oceanside – that’s what friends do for friends – and we arrived at the restaurant at 5:30pm or so.
There were very few other patrons in the restaurant, and not many arrived after we did. The two servers were delightful and made us feel right at home. The female waitpersons name was “Angel” and she was; the male was “Nathaniel” and he was very helpful also.
The menu is absolutely one of the most extensive ones I have ever seen. There were 9 pages; divided into two sections – one being Thai food and the other being Mandarin (Chinese). It is impossible to list all of the different selections offered, but suffice it to say there was nothing missing from regular Thai menu’s and/or Chinese ones.
Jim and I decided to have Chinese food because we had been eating Thai food exclusively. We looked over the menu and had a hard time deciding what to order. One of the promo’s was that if we ordered before 6:00pm, and ordered a dinner – as opposed to “ala carte” we would be given a 20% discount on the total bill.
When Jim asked what came with the “dinner” we were told that the plate would serve two or three, while the ala carte would only serve one. It was interesting to note that we had to order soup separately because it was not included as part of the dinner, nor was tea a part of the meal.
Jim and I decided to start with a bowl of hot and sour soup, and placed the order while we continued to decide what to eat. Angel came back to us and told us they had run out of the soup and it would take a few minutes for them to make more. We said that was ok.
It turned out that meant it took a few moments to defrost frozen soup for us. The bowl was $6.95 and too spicy for Jim. However, in looking over the menu it does state that it is “hot” and I think we missed that when we ordered.
Jim ordered the Orange Chicken at $10.95. It was billed as “crispy chunks of chicken sauteed in the Jades own special orange sauce.” I was intrigued by the black mushroom with duck entrée, but asked if I could have beef instead of duck. Angel went to see if that was agreeable, and she told us it would be $1 less than with the duck. It was served with fresh broccoli and carrots.
So here was our order; recommended by someone that has recommended other restaurants to me that were very good, and we were disappointed. Jim felt that his Orange Chicken was dry and had “no zing.” It was crunchy, but had little taste. When I tried it I felt the same way, but I do not like the white meat of chicken. BUT I took home the leftovers and my two exchange students both commented on how dry and bland it was.
The black mushroom dish was hot; the vegetables were cooked to perfection but there was some spice that was used I didn’t care for. I don’t know what it was; but it was not a match with my palate. I took those leftovers home also and my students seemed to enjoy it more than the Orange Chicken.
Jim felt that the food was sub-standard compared to many of the other Chinese restaurants he has enjoyed. We both laughed at the garnish of one single maraschino cherry on the Orange Chicken plate. It was nestled in a few springs of parsley.
The restaurant itself was nice. There was no television – hooray -; the ambiance was good; the wait staff was nice; even the owner came out to ask how things were going. But we would not go back. Perhaps we should have tried the Thai food – because there was something lacking in our order this time. The total bill, without the tip, was $41.65, which included the two entrees, the soup, and a Sapporo ($3.75) for Jim and a Sake ($4.95) for me. After the 20% was taken off the bill the final cost was $35.90, plus a tip.
My two exchange students enjoyed the meal the next day; Jim and I either did not eat a lot, or the food was plentiful. The answer is both of these – a lot of food but we didn’t eat much. I’m sorry because I so wanted to be able to give it an “A” ranking. Both Jim and I are former educator’s. A “C” is as high as we could go.