Recently I was invited to check out Wang’s North Park, an Asian-American-Chinese fusion kind of place over in hipster North Park. I took Jake, T, and Carin (Jake’s mom) with me to the dinner. We went pretty early on a Saturday, right when they opened, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Wang’s North Park is situated in a gigantic open space that used to JC Penney way, way back in the day. There are two levels of seating in the restaurant and we choose to sit by the windows that evening.
There was a little snafu with my reservation and I spoke to the manager who was very friendly and accommodating. He was also able to give us some pointers about what Carin, who has a bit of a garlic allergy, could order off the menu and what she should steer clear of.
Jake started the evening off with a Tiki Style drink that had Bacardi Oakheart Rum, Bacardi Rock Coconut Rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lemon and agave nectar. I dearly loved the glass it was served in and even the chipped sides of the glasses endeared me to it. If I ever had a tiki party I’d want everyone to drink out of these glasses! The drink itself I found to be too sweet for my liking. But look at that mustache! Seriously, someone find out where I can buy these glasses. I need them.
Carin and T both got wonton soup with had a healthy amount of green onion and cilantro on top. She let me try it and I liked the soup base but the wonton itself tasted funky. The pork filling had a weird flavor that neither of us cared for.
Sampler platters are awesome when you can’t decide what you want to try. You get a little bit of everything with these. I’m surprised they didn’t have a funkier name for this considering some of the other menu item names (you’ll see what I mean).
The sampler platter came with veggie rolls, 2 mini beef skewers, 2 sriracha cream cheese wontons, and edamame hummus. I tried the hummus first and while I do like edamame I didn’t really enjoy it as a hummus. It had a very grainy texture and the flavor was a little on the bland side. The veggie rolls were unmemorable. I loved the sriracha cream cheese wontons though with their slightly spicy flavor from the sriracha. The beef skewers were also tender and flavorful.
[kickin’ chicken wings]
The Kickin’ Chicken Wings are a Korean inspired dish with Korean barbecue sauce and served with wasabi blue cheese dressing. While these were quite pretty and enticing in appearance, I didn’t enjoy the flavor of the sauce at all and found the chicken to be on the dry side. Jake enjoyed the sauce and the wings much more than I did.
[chilled peanut noodle]
I love cold noodle dishes! Jake and T simply adored this dish. It came with chilled egg noodles & julienned vegetables with peanut sauce. You can order this with or without chicken and I decided to go without. The noodles had a nice chew on them though they were ever-so-slightly past al dente. The peanut sauce was a little on the sweet side but it tasted nice with the fresh veggies and the cold noodles.
[no belly buddha]
See. No Belly Buddha. A funky name for what is essentially just a side order of vegetables. You can get the veggies steamed or stir fried and we went with steamed. This is a very basic dish and there’s not really any seasoning on it so it’s safe for any diet. I stole the mushrooms for myself. Mmm, mushrooms!
I liked the presentation of this dish with the quartered lemon slices all over it. There’s no doubt your eating a lemon dish, now is there? The chicken breast is battered and fried and reminded me of katsu. It has a nice crunchy coating and the chicken was tender and moist. The lemon sauce was nicely balanced with the punch of lemon flavor and acted almost like a glaze on the chicken.
[s & s pig]
I pretty much wanted to order this because of the name. S & S Pig sailing in to serve you! The menu states that this is “pineapple sweet & sour braised pork shank, Dr. pepper-tangerine reduction sauce, Japanese sweet potato and pineapple tempura”.
That Dr. Pepper-Tangerine reduction sauce was heavenly. It has a wonderful balance of flavor hitting the sweet and sour notes and I ended up dipping my veggies in this sauce to give my veggies an extra boost of flavor. If I could have poured this sauce on everything and I would loved it all a thousand times more. The pork shank was very tender and nice and all that but really what caught my eye was the tempura fried Japanese sweet potato! It had a very similar taste and texture to my very favorite Japanese croquettes though slightly sweeter. They were smooth and creamy with that nice outer crispiness from the tempura batter. I seriously could just eat a plate of the tempura sweet potato with a side of that luscious sauce. I tried a tiny bite of the tempura pineapple. Hot pineapple just isn’t my thing, that’s all I’m gonna say. But hot, fried Japanese sweet potato is totally my thing. Give me more of that!
All in all Wang’s North Park was kind of what I expected it to be – a fusion of Asian flavors and food with an Americanized touch. If you’re okay with that then it’s a fun place to go for dinner but if you’re looking for an authentic food experience it might not be for you.
Wang’s North Park
3029 Universty Ave.
San Diego, CA 92104
Disclaimer: Our meal was complimentary. I was not further compensated for this post and all opinions stated here are my own.