HINOTEZ is the sister restaurant to Yakitori Yakyudori, which I visited not too long ago with my co-workers. Jake, T and I went on a visit here after I got a gift certificate from UTOPIA. This enabled me to get more croquettes into my belly! Yesssss.
[berkshire pork sausage – $6]
Jake and I came to an agreement on what to choose on the menu. We had to get some non-seafood things since he doesn’t eat most sea creatures and we both thought this little pork dish would be a nice addition to our meal.
It tasted exactly like hot dogs.
Now that I’m at home I can Google it and see that yeah, it basically is just Japanese hot dogs… and maybe it was silly of me to expect something more. Ah well. It looked pretty all cut up and on a stick? Still though… hot dogs…
[fried squid – $4.50]
I got something a little “fishy” all for myself and got an order of fried squid. You can’t really tell it’s squid underneath that crunchy looking coating, but I assure you, you are looking at tentacles.
The squid had a good overall flavor, but it was a little tough and a little too chewy. Not really my favorite.
[fried chicken – $5]
These little nuggets of fried chicken are like the way better version of McDonald’s chicken nuggets.
Each little piece had a perfectly fried and crunchy coating and you could tell it was actual chicken (woo). Very nice little bite size pieces, though I wished there had been more.
[potato croquette – $4]
I already knew I would love the croquettes so I took two slices right off the bat and claimed them for me, myself and I. Jake is now converted to knowing the goodness of croquettes. I always love spreading the love.
These were just as good at the ones at the sister restaurant – perfectly golden, crunchy, and with the sweet creamy starchy potato center that I love so much.
I’m pretty sure I could eat one of these every day. Too bad I don’t.
[tonkotsu ramen – bbq pork, seasoned soft boiled egg, green onions, red ginger – $8.50]
Dennis suggested that I should try a Tonkotsu if I ever got the chance at the other restaurant, and since it’s on the menu normally here I figured I’d give it a shot. And so glad that I did! I really loved the broth and the soft boiled egg a lot. The broth was so rich and delicious. The only thing I did dig was the side of the broth that had the ginger sitting in it since it really packed a punch when my spoon strayed over into that area. The noodles were soft and delicate in the broth, but not mushy, making for an all around great bowl in my mind. This was the first time I’d ever had it though – but I can see what the fuss would be about – it’s delicious!
7947 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111
Now… a little bit about UTOPIA! It’s a new website that offers discounts on gift certificates for restaurants, services (such as spa or dental), and more . You pay a discounted fee for the gift certificate and they mail the certificate to your house. There are no other catches to it – just pay a discount (anywhere from 15% to 30% off) and then use it like you normally would.
At first I thought it would something like restaurant.com’s dining certificates – where you pay $10 for a $25 certificate, but then there’s always a catch (like, you have to spend $35) – but I didn’t see any kind of catch here. The only bummer is that the certificates are currently only available for mailing – you can’t get a digital copy. But, it makes it easy to pass on to a friend as a gift!
Currently UTOPIA is available in San Diego and Los Angeles, CA.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary certificate for HINOTEZ to try out the service – it was easy to use and the turn around shipping time was pretty quick – so this would be a great way to try out a few restaurants (or other services) at a discount without having to worry about gimmicks or catches to using the certificate.