Chiko opened in San Diego earlier this year. The popular restaurant originated in D.C. and focuses on modern Chinese and Korean cuisine.
I’ve heard many good things about the restaurant, so I am glad I finally got a chance to visit.
When we entered the restaurant, I was immediately impressed with the service. The restaurant set-up has customers order at the register and then grab a seat. Usually with this type of set-up, you don’t get much service until you are seated. However, even though the restaurant was quite busy, we were immediately greeted when we got in line and handed menus and someone helped us go over the concept and popular dishes. While we placed our order at the register, one of the staff had a table set aside for us so we didn’t have to look for one.
XO Garlic Shrimp Stir Fry Rice Porridge
This bowl was full of umami flavor from the spicy xo sauce and garlic shrimp. I really enjoyed it though it is on the spicy side. My one slight issue with the dish was the porridge, which tasted like it had been cooked in water rather than broth or stock. I would have preferred the porridge to have a little more flavor on its own but it wasn’t a big issue because it tasted fine once fully mixed with the sauce.
Wok Blistered Chinese Broccoli
This dish was quite flavorful as well, with a little heat mixed into every bite. I did think that the broccoli was a little too finely chopped, making it a little harder to eat, and would have liked the pieces to be a little bigger.
This is one of their most popular dishes and it was my favorite of the night. It’s a more grown-up version of orange chicken. The chicken pieces were beautifully fried. They had a thick crunchy coating and were seasoned with a Chiko salt blend that reminded me of salt and pepper chicken. The chicken pieces are garnished with crispy garlic and candied mandarins. The orange sauce is served on the side. Instead of a cloying sweet sauce, this sauce is more mellow and balanced, tasting of fresh oranges and ginger.
Soy Glazed Chopped Brisket
I was quite curious about the 6-minute egg. It was marinated and perfectly cooked. We were told to mix the yolk in the rice but I wish I had just eaten it by itself because the yolk got completely lost in the rice once we were done mixing. The soy glazed brisket was a little too sweet for my personal preference.
Dessert was a generous amount of custard, accompanied by slices of dragon fruit, lemongrass infused basil seeds, blood orange sorbet. I enjoyed the tropical citrus theme.
Overall, we had a great first meal here. I enjoyed the creativity of the menu and I want to try more dishes. The service was also quite friendly and attentive.