Kirbie's Cravings

The Noble Chef

The Noble Chef recently underwent a huge makeover (as I first read about on mmm-yoso!!!) It used to be a cheap, casual Chinese restaurant that specialized mainly in noodle and rice dishes. It has now been remodeled, with a new menu that aims for more high-end Chinese dining. We were in the neighborhood and decided to check out the new changes.

Even though I had been forewarned, I still wasn’t prepared for just how nice it was inside. No more are the worn, sticky tables. Instead, they have been replaced with faux black marble tabletops. The restaurant looked sleek and modern. At the entrance, there is a glass case displaying roasted ducks (which did seem out of place in the nice setting). Upon entering, a well-dressed server immediately greeted and seated us.

The menu is a bit of a shock as well. While almost everything had been under $10 before, now almost all the dishes are $10+. They even offer live seafood and pre-set group meals.

The service was much more attentive and nicer than the typical Chinese restaurant experience.

Garlic String Beans

We thought the portion-size was decent and the beans were cooked just right- tender and crisp. They were seasoned with a good amount of garlic flavor.

French Pepper Steak

This was done pretty well too. The steak cubes were soft and the sauce had a hint of basil.

Overall, while we enjoyed our dishes, we did feel like it was too pricey for what it was. Most of the dishes on the menu are pretty standard dishes you can order anywhere else and while the ambiance is a little nicer,  I didn’t think they did enough with the food to justify the high price point. I’m not sure how this new model is going to work, but the restaurant was quite full when we dined, so maybe it will work out for them.

After dinner, we stopped by the Balboa plaza to check out the progress of the future 85C Bakery and Chicken Charlie’s. Signs are up! Can’t wait until they open.

Some menu photos (sorry I don’t have the live seafood or pre-set family meal menu photos)

The Nobel Chef
6159 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111

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8 comments on “The Noble Chef”

  1. Hey Kirbie – Thanks for the mention. I got some sticker shock when I saw the prices too. I’m wondering who is in the kitchen here. I’m glad what you got worked out better than the roast duck I had.

    • I wanted to try the roast duck, but stayed away after your post. I don’t know who was in the kitchen, maybe I should have inquired. So I was pretty lost as to what dishes they should be doing well.

  2. Thanks for the menu! I’m curious if have a lunch menu.

    I’m surprised to see their poultry and pork dishes are priced lower than vegetables! Somehow i find the pricing okay considering it’s a regular menu, opposed to a late night menu or a special limited menu such as 4 dishes for $30 etc. Should I assume the food there is a step above Sam Woo and below China Max and Golden City?

  3. Hey Kirbie,

    I used to go to Noble Chef years ago when it was still run by these Cantonese old ladies. The food was really good and cheap (as you said specialized in stir fried noodles). Then they retired and sold it to some Vietnamese owners. Quality went down.. Haven’t been back since then. Excited to see that its again back, hopefully better again, although change in emphasis.

    • I haven’t been back in years either. I like the makeover but found the prices high. I can’t remember the last time I walked away from a chinese restaurant paying $30 for 2 dishes and no leftovers.

  4. That French pepper steak looks delicious!  

    Cool photos!  I’m so looking forward to when Chicken Charlies will be open.  🙂