Kirbie's Cravings

Char House

photo of the outside of Char House

Char House Saigon Grill & Pho opened recently.

I noticed the coming soon sign last year and was surprised it took so long to open. When I finally saw the “Grand Opening” signage two weeks ago, I was more excited than usual, mainly because it was finally open. Other than knowing that the restaurant served Vietnamese food, I knew little else about it. Mr. K jokingly asked if I was even sure it was a restaurant or could it just be a place that sells grills. However, a post from Kirk confirmed it is indeed a restaurant. So this past weekend, I went to go check it out with CC.
photo of the dining area inside Char House

Chicken wings with fish sauce
photo of Chicken wings with fish sauce
I can never resist trying out chicken wings. We were a little worried after reading Kirk’s post on his wings, but luckily ours came out beautifully. The wings were quite small, but I prefer smaller wings as they are usually have a thinner, crunchier skin. It’s also easier for the sauce flavor to pierce completely through the meat when you have a thinner layer of meat on the wings.

Our wings were very crispy and enjoyable. I do wish the fish sauce flavor was a little stronger, but we really liked these and would get them again.

overhead photo of different kinds of Skewers
Char House also offers a variety of skewers. The best deal seemed to be their skewer plate special, where you choose any five for $8. We chose shrimp, sugar cane shrimp, pork belly, octopus, and filet mignon.
close-up photo of bowl of dipping sauce
I really enjoyed the shrimp, which was cooked just perfectly, really letting the natural sweetness of the shrimp shine through. The filet mignon was nice and tender. The pork belly was another favorite–coming out crisp and smoky. My least favorite was the sugar cane shrimp which was quite salty despite being paired with a sugar cane stick.

Banh Khot
overhead photo of a plate of Banh Khot
We were really curious about this dish, which we’ve both had at Brodard in Orange County. They are Vietnamese-style mini savory pancakes topped with shrimp and herbs. Unfortunately, this was a big disappointment.
close-up photo of Banh Khot
Right away, the color looked too pale, like they hadn’t been cooked long enough. I only ate one, but found the center to be doughy and slightly undercooked. Also there was a puddle of oil in the middle that wasn’t very appetizing either.

photo of a grapefruit, shrimp and pork salad
We finished things off with this grapefruit, shrimp and pork salad. It was light and refreshing and I enjoyed the gentle bitterness of the grapefruit. The fried shallots were delightful bursts of added flavor.

Overall, we had a pretty good first visit here. I like the diverse menu offerings and want to come back and explore some more. And of course, it was so fun to catch-up with CC. I love exploring new places with her and she got me some really fun food gifts which I need to share soon in another post!

photo of the menuphoto of the menuphoto of the menuphoto of the menu
Char House
7765 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111
Char House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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6 comments on “Char House”

  1. I’m so glad we tried this place out Kirbie!  Other than the banh khot, I loved everything that we tried. I definitely want to go back with Bert and TC. Their other salad offerings sounded good so I want to give those a try as well.   By the way, those m&m’s are practically gone (honey nut was the best!). 

  2. I can’t wait to try this place out. Was there cabbage in the salad and was it more a grapefruit dressing (than grapefruit segments)? That is a nice deal on the skewers (considering how high yakitori prices are in the area).

  3. Nice Kirbie – Looks like they’ve improved their wings.

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