One day Michael and I tried Khan’s Cave over on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. We’ve passed it dozens of times but never had the urge to go inside that strip mall, let alone the restaurant. The mall itself is a little older but I suppose the font on the sign fits in well with its surroundings.
The size of the space was bigger than expected and the décor was interesting. It looks like the ceiling decorations could use a reboot but I’m no interior designer so I’ll just stick to the food! We found out that Khan’s actually is owned by the same group that runs Dumpling Inn on Covoy and Del Mar Rendezvous... both of which are not bad places to try if you haven’t yet. Dumpling Inn is the runaway favorite of the two when their xiao long bao have that delicious hot soup inside.
I was a little surprised by the sheer amount of menu items to choose from. As you can see there are many different Asian-influenced items throughout.
Of course if there’s xiao long bao as an option we’re going to get it! This version was not as soupy as the Dumpling Inn version nor were they as hearty as the Del Mar Rendezvous variety. I don’t think we’d get them here again because we know what Dumpling Inn can do on their best day.
More dumplings! We got the Dumpling Sampler since we can’t get enough. You get two of each: pork gyoza, shrimp har gow, shrimp and pork won tons, and siu mai. As you may know I like to compare things to other dishes that people may have had before since I think it gives it a little perspective. If you’ve ever had dim sum at Emerald or Jasmine then you’ve probably had at least a few of these before. These were OK. Not bad, but again nothing to come back to. They came out warm at best, and lacked seasoning. There’s something about getting dim sum with the steam rising from the carts and the sights and sounds of everything around you that enhance the experience. Maybe I’m so used to it that I have a mental block when it doesn’t exist.
Jajangmyeon was marked on a sign in the front as a special that day. As you can see this looks nothing like Jajangmyeon. We asked the waiter if this was in fact Jajangmyeon and he had to go to the back to double check. The picture on the sign in the front actually looked like the versions I’d had before at Korean restaurants. He came back and was honest and said that they probably got that picture from somewhere else but it was in fact their version of the Korean dish. He asked if something was wrong and I told him no, it just looked different than what we were used to. After trying it, everything was fine. It probably was the best dish of the day even though it didn’t taste like the Korean restaurants. I’m not sure I detected any soybean paste but what it did have was salt.
So that’s about it. This was the one and only time I’ve ever gone here and maybe next time I’ll get different things to see if they tickle the fancy.
This post originally appeard on SanDiegoFood.net