315 10th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Opening for Lunch: February 3rd!
I am always delighted when something new opens up in my neighborhood; but most especially when it’s a place that I have East Village has been desperately needing all along. (READ: SUSHI!!!!)
Thus I am so pleased to announce that The Dragon’s Den, directly across from Petco Park in East Village, is now open and is ready to serve the neighborhood! *Yay*
East Village, San Diego is a bustlin’ sphere of post-grad students, self-made entrepreneurs, fashionistas, media people, and dog-friendly urbanites. The neighborhood establishments that have survived the test of time or rather the Padres “off-season” are the ones that have never failed to provide excellent services and to fulfill the needs of the surrounding community. And while stellar establishments such as Cafe Chloe, BASIC urbn Kitchen, Cowboy Star, Neighborhood, etc. have continually provided top-notch service and outstanding quality products to residents in the area, East Village has long needed a place like The Dragon’s Den: A neighborhood bar and lounge, with a healthy Asian Fusion cuisine AND sushi bar that provides an urbané downtown experience but with a much-needed cozy feel.
The Dragon’s Den meets all the necessary demands of its neighborhood:
*An über chic dog-friendly outside patio? Check.
*A FULL-bar plastered with a generous number of plasma-screen TVs to watch the game? Check.
*A borderline-obsessive assortment of organic beers and organic liquors? Check.
*A separated family dining room for quiet diners, away from the socialite/sports-fan crowd? Check.
*And, DUMPLINGS?!?!? Um, holy YUM!! Double Check!
The Dragon Den’s menu boasts not only an extensive number of Asian-fusion offerings, but they also have a FULL-sushi bar menu as well. Eager as always to try out new spots in my ‘hood, I have already experienced a number of “the Den’s” various dishes, as well as the incredibly fresh fish that is being served at The Dragon’s Den… and so far, it’s all pretty outstanding. It wouldn’t be fair to judge a place well before it’s scheduled *official* grand-opening, which is set for March 3rd, 2011, so I won’t be critiquing the food yet. However, here’s a sneak peek at what you can look forward to at The Dragon’s Den (and likely my new neighborhood hang):
~Open for Lunch (Starting February 3rd, 2010)
~A unique happy hour (that we’ve been told involves a timer and has *never* been done before…)
~Open late for dining and open ’til 1am every night for lounging and socializing.
The long list of dumpling dishes greet diners first and foremost: And while there are plenty of interesting options including the Crispy Beef Curry Dumplings ($6) and the Diced Shrimp and Chive Dumplings ($6), the most appealing option seems to be the Dragon’s Den Dumpling Sampler ($8) which includes a pair of each dumpling including: Chicken Gyoza* (my personal fav), Shrimp and Pork Wonton, Shrimp and Pork Siu Mai, and Shrimp Ha Gau.
There are a variety of “small bites” offerings, including the Panko-Crusted Shrimp with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce ($5) and the Spicy Salt & Pepper Calamari ($7) that stand-out to me personally, and veggie-friendly bites such as the Green Onion Pancake ($4), Tangy Cucumber Salad ($5), and the Tofu Lettuce Wraps ($6) seem like perfectly heart-healthy and delicious options as well.
Traditional homemade soups such as the Southern-Style Homemade Pork & Shrimp Wonton Soup ($4/$8) are served in either a cup or a bowl, and an additional list of larger-portioned appetizers including the Dragon Balls ($7) and the Spicy Scallop-Stuffed Tomato ($11) are all fine choices for a tantalizing start to your meal or simply as a nice pair with a round of Dragon Den’s Signature Cocktails.
The Sushi menu offers a wide variety of your traditional offerings, as well as a few unique items — all at very competitive prices: All hand rolls including my favorite, the Scallop Hand Roll ($5) are all five dollars, while their combination platter of fresh Sashimi, will only set you back fifteen dollars: which is a pretty good deal for a Downtown-locale. The Dragon Den’s Roll ($14), a Shrimp tempura roll topped with Spicy Tuna, seems to be the outstanding house favorite and is highly recommended by the staff.
For larger or Family-Style entree dishes, Dragon’s Den offers a number of Noodle dishes including the Spicy Three-Ingredient Lo-Mein ($12) – which I thought was outstanding – and full dishes such as the Honey-Glazed Shrimp ($15), Cashew Chicken with Plum Sauce ($12), Spicy Cumin Lamb ($13), and Mongolian Stir-fried Beef or Lamb with Scallions ($13) will likely be the crowd-pleasing favorites. There are also vegetarian Family-style offerings such as the Spicy Eggplant in Garlic Sauce($10) and the Family-Style Tofu ($10).
For those who have an insatiable sweet-tooth (like mine), I am certain the Toffee Apple with Vanilla Ice Cream ($6) would be an unbelievable ending to any meal, or surely satisfy any late-night sugar cravings.
Although The Dragon’s Den has been open to the public for less than 24 hours, I have no doubt that this place will soon be East Village’s new *it* spot; And that the staff will know my name by the end of this week.