Sunday, December 28, 2008

Super Cocina (San Diego, CA)

A man ... better yet a student can not live on fine dining alone. It is imperative that we find a lunch spot that doesn't cost an arm and a leg but doesn't skip out on quality.You have your usual suspects of Mien Trung and Sakura but when you're craving Mexican food you're relegated to the likes of Roberto and his cousins. But not so fast! I've been reading on Chowhound about a crowd favorite of Super Cocina, a homestyle mexican restaurant located in southern San Diego.

The restaurant's emphasis is on traditional Mexican foods of stews, stewed meats, and soups. The restaurant itself is conducted like your neighorhood Panda Express, you have a nice long counter with a variety of foods and you point and pick. The owner Pablo will walk you through the dishes and even let you sample as many of them as you like. For myself, since I know nothing about Mexican stews outside of Chicken Mole I'm stuck in quite a pickle. I was grateful to be able to try the dishes and pick the ones I liked best. After picking your food out you take your food, find a seat, and start the chomping!

I took a few pictures of their food assembly line for you to take a gander at. If for some unknown reason I know what's actually in the picture i'll tell you.

They had fresh enchiladas, chicken stew, braised chicken thigh (top)
Chilaquiles (corn tortillas cut up into pieces and deep fried. Then they are simmered with Salsa to make them soggy and then topped with cheese and sour cream)

Carnitas on the bottom right and rice and beans *duh* on the top!

MASSIVE chili relleno (Stuffed peppers) and fried pork rinds stewed in chili verde sauce. I was tempted to try the fried pork rinds, but I figure the moment I put it next to my mouth i'll probably have a heart attack.

Every dish comes with a big pile of soft and well-spiced refried beans and a spoonful of rice.

My friend ordered the Chilaquiles with a tomato base stewed pork.

The Chilaquiles were a little bit TOO soft for my liking. I understand that's how the dish is prepared but they could have stopped cooking it just a little bit earlier and it would have still been fine. (fresh batch).
I'm also not particularly fond of the tomato based stew just because the tomato flavor is almost overwhelming in the dish, especially when you're spooned chunks of tomato alongside it. BUT the pork was cooked well with a nice firm consistency.

0 for 2?

I ordered two variations on a spicy pork stew, one involved a more simplified style with peppers and potatoes in a heartier broth while the other one was just straight up spice and pork with more spice on top.

The pork on the left (potatoes) was made with pork spare ribs with pieces of cartilage laced throughout the meat so you get a nice crispy bite with each one. The meat near the cartilage tends to be fattier and more decadent in rich fatty flavor. Yummy! A nice kick of five spice and hot red pepper. The spice just lingers in the back of your mouth as you devour the rest of the dish. The pork was melt in your mouth soft, the fat that got rendered off just made the pork so soft it crumbles in your mouth.

The pork on the right was made with a thicker pork spare rib so you have large chunks of bone under each piece of meat that you'd have to spit out after each bite. This doesn't detract from the fact that this dish is also deliciously spicy but in a different way than the 1st dish, the spice would slowly roll over your mouth and just engulf every single pore.

MAN THEIR PORK DISHES ARE INCREDIBLE. I went again the week after and got another two pork dishes and they were all stupendous.


Even though I didn't love what my friend ordered, my dishes blew my socks off so heavily that I had to walk around barefoot for the rest of the day. I really enjoyed the restaurant the next few times I went and I highly suggest it to ANYONE looking for a different style of Mexican food other than burritos and tacos.

Super Cocina
3627 University Ave
(between 36th St & Cherokee Ave)
San Diego, CA 92104


Roger. said...

Duuuude I freaking LOVE this place. I'd go often if it weren't so far from my house.

<3 the mole.

Charlie Fu said...

Roger: Haven't had the mole yet, the other spicy items were calling my name!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... looks great!

Carol said...

I don't ever get down that way but if I ever am, I'm stopping by for a bite (or 2)!

Charlie Fu said...

Hey Carol: It's off the beaten path for sure, but it's worth it!

Liliana said...

Pretty effective data, thank you for this post.