A&J Restaurant
14805 Jeffrey Rd, #D
Irvine, CA
(949) 786-3585

Boyfriend and I took a road trip to Irvine this weekend to visit some friends and eat some yummy food.  I've been craving beef noodle soup and chewy homemade noodles lately, and the only place I know of in Irvine that serves both is A&J Restaurant.  There is an A&J near where I live back in the Bay Area, and while I haven't been there, my mom went once and didn't like it because she said the portions were way too small.  After doing some research, it appears a lot of people feel that the A&J in Irvine is much better.  So I decided to give it a shot.

We arrived for a very late lunch on a scorching hot day.  The restaurant was pretty empty.  But we got great, attentive service.  Not sure if it was because it was so empty.  Once we chose somewhere to sit, we were given a menu, and an order sheet.  Boyfriend asked why we were coming here to eat spicy beef noodle soup when it was so hot outside.  I told him there is nothing wrong with eating spicy food when it's hot out, and besides, it was cool inside.

I ordered the beef noodle soup with beef only.  You have a choice of thin noodles or thick homemade noodles.  We both chose the thick noodles.

The noodles were nice and chewy.  Yum!  The broth was flavorful and only a little bit spicy.  The beef was very tender, and full of flavor.  It had the flavors of the broth, only intensified.  I really enjoyed this.  While it's not the best beef noodle soup I've ever had (there are many in the Bay Area and Taiwan that would rival A&J), it's pretty good and compared to the slim offerings in San Diego, this was delicious and definitely worth the road trip.

The quantity was slightly on the small side.  I was able to easily finish this bowl. 

Boyfriend got the beef noodle soup with beef and tendon.

While he initially had been a bit grumpy about eating spicy soup on a hot day, he soon changed his mind.  He really loved the broth.  In fact, he started dipping other food items we ordered into the broth, declaring that everything tasted better in the broth. 

We also ordered pot stickers.

These were just okay.  Not crispy enough and nothing special.  So a bit disappointing.

We also ordered the green onion pancake

I did not enjoy this at all.  It was small, and not flavorful.  You couldn't really taste the onions.  It was a bit thick and hard.  The frozen ones I've bought at Ranch 99 tasted better than this.

Finally, we ordered thousand layer pancake.

While better than the green onion pancake, it was still a bit disappointing.  The dough was a bit on the hard side.  This was also quite small.

I think next time we come back, it'll just be for the beef noodle soup. I wanted to get a copy of the menu, but I forgot.  Oh yeah, it's cash only!

A & J on Urbanspoon

   

11 Responses to “Irvine- A&J Restaurant”

  1. joan — September 1, 2009 at 3:39 am

    i like their beef noodle soup- which is pretty tough to find good ones in LA

  2. Faye — September 1, 2009 at 10:48 am

    You just made me crave beef noodle soup for lunch today!! Wow – their beef noodle looks really yummy. Where is your go-to beef noodle place here in SD? I prefer the beef and broth over the noodles. I think the only Taiwanese style BNS is at 168?
    Thanks for the review and great photos!

  3. Kirbie — September 1, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Really? I thought LA would have plenty of good ones..but then I’ve never tried.

  4. Kirbie — September 1, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I’m usually a broth and beef girl too, unless it’s homemade noodles. I love chewy stuff! My go to place for beef noodle soup in SD is Chin’s on Miramar. I’ve only had it during their weekend chinese breakfast so I don’t know if it’s on their regular menu. I tried it at 168 once and was disappointed. I have heard good things about the one at Shanghai city but I haven’t tried it. I think Dumpling Inn probably serves a Taiwanese style one, but I haven’t tried it. Hmm..I’ll have to try those two out sometime. Do you have a favorite?

  5. Kirk — September 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Hey Kirbie – When we visited A&J, I thought the Niu Rou Mian was too oily, with a surprisingly weak flavor. The place was packed to the rafters though. I thought A & J in Alhambra was bit better, and Dai Ho in Temple City is really good, but the owner is a jerk.. Dumpling Inn’s NRM is not very good at all either, and it’s very over-priced. 168 tasted like beef boullion flavored dish water. The problem with Chin’s is the lousy noodles they use.

  6. Kirbie — September 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Kirk- I love your description of 168′s NRM. heehee. It’s so accurate. I agree that Chin’s uses lousy noodles. I think they are spaghetti noodles right? I’m surprised that you thought A&J in Irvine was too oily. It wasn’t oily when I went, but I do agree that the broth could have been a bit stronger. I liked it, but I don’t think it is so good to warrant the long lines during lunch. We went at 4 in the afternoon, so that’s why it was so empty. Good to know that Dumpling Inn’s isn’t very good, so now I don’t need to waste my time.

  7. Faye — September 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Kirbie,
    I totally laughed when i saw that you were a ‘broth and beef girl too’!
    I love Chins on Miramar! I use to go their once a wk for their Da Ru mein – have you tried it? So so so good!! I will for sure try their NRM. I heard their wkend Taiwanese morning ‘tapas’ menu is awesome. I tried their xiao long bao (during lunch midwk) and it wasn’t all that great.
    I agree w/ Kirk about Dumpling Inn’s NRM. I found it to be very disappointing as well. The beef was really tough and had lots of hard chewy tendons. And the broth wasn’t all that great. Maybe it was an off day when i went thou?
    Have you blogged about Chins wkend morning menu? I’m going to search right now. If you haven’t, pls do so :)

  8. Kirbie — September 2, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Faye- No I haven’t tried the Da Ru mien. I’ll have to order it next time. I enjoy Chin’s weekend morning menu. I used to love New Shanghai’s, but sadly they closed. If you haven’t found the post already, here it is: http://www.kirbiecravings.com/2009/03/chins-the-other-chinese-breakfast-spot.html
    I’ve been watching the progress of the Chin’s that is to be opening up on Convoy. I’m hoping they will offer the breakfast menu too.
    If both you and Kirk didn’t like the NRM at Dumpling Inn’s, I’m going to assume it is bad and it wasn’t an off day.

  9. Faye — September 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for the link!
    Look what i found for you !
    http://www.get1free.com/restaurants/chins-sczechwan/coupon/2125
    I thought i saw a sign on their door last time saying that the Miramar location would not take any more coupons. But the manager there was super nice and still accepted it.
    So try the Da Ru mein and I’m going to try their NRM :)

  10. Kirbie — September 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Faye-
    Thanks for the coupon! Now I just need to remember to bring it when I go…All this talk about Chin’s has made me really want to go! It’s been a while since I’ve been there. I’ll have to try to make it really soon so I can try the Da Ru Mein and eat some of my old favorites.

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