8960 University Center Ln
San Diego, CA 92122-1085
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Cafe Japengo

Neighborhoods: University City
Cuisine: Asian, Mexican, Sushi

Cafe Japengo is a Asian, Mexican, and Sushi restaurant where most Menuism users came for a family meal and paid more than $50.

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Gayot
Rating:
13 / 20
Price:
$$$$$
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turtley photo

turtley

 Irvine, CA
 

Japeeeengo

Cafe Japengo is a pretty deceiving name. Its not really a cafe, and what kind of food would a place called Japengo serve? Well Japengu seems like a fusion of words, and thats what food is serves! Asian fusion, with a focus on Japanese. While I can’t pretend to know what “engo” comes from, I’m just gonna assume it has that suffix because it sounds snazzy.

Anyways, Japengo sits in the Aventine Restaurant square across from the Hyatt in La Jolla. Some neighboring restaurants include Fleming’s, Melting Pot, and Blue Coral. The moment you see the set of restauarants forming a semicircle around a valet area, you know that this is an expensive area. It is geared towards business people, being near the Hyatt, but don’t let it stop you from going. Japengo has an awesome atmosphere: it is dark, but not too dark; it has bamboo and rock decorations on the side; the sushi bar looks professional; and overall it feels very modern, but natural since there is so much wood.

The service was what I expect from a nice restaurant; nice, didn’t rush us, and we didn’t end up waiting too long for anything (except near the end of the meal). The utensils were replaced for each course of food, which was pretty crazy.

On to the good stuff: food! Armed with the knowledge that my sister’s work was gonna pay for this meal >=D, I pretty much ordered indiscriminately. I got a crab cake appetizer, which was panko crusted and topped with pear compote and another sauce. There was only one, but it was chubby and filled with crab-tacularness. For my main dish I got rack of lamb, which was over mashed potatoes (by the way, they had like FOUR DIFFERENT KIND OF MASH POTATOES throughout the menu. it was insanity) and had tempura vegetables on the side. The meat was a little chewy, but good. The sauce gives it a nice kick, and luckily they don’t overdo the sauce. The mashed potatoes…man… they were mashed in with some brocolini (i think), and it was exquisite. Best mashed potatoes evar. Incidentally, my sister wasn’t very hungry, so I ate all of her dish (i only ate half of mine, under the theory that mine would be better as leftovers as hers). She ordered Miso Sea Bass, which is seabass, shrimp tortellini, and floating vegetables in a truffle broth. The seabass was cooked great, but the truffle sauce was very powerful. Maybe I’m not classy enough to appreciate it. The tortellini was absolutely excellent.

Since that paragraph is getting long, I’ll talk about my dessert here: Chocolate Lava Cake. Since I LOVE this dessert and never eat it, I decided to order it despite my fullness. Dessert goes to another stomach right? It came with Vanilla Gelato, a chocolate stick, some fresh fruit, the cake itself, and an almond thing on top of it. Man, chocolate is good. For fuller descriptions, see below.

All in all, I prolly ate around 90 dollars worth of food, which is pretty redonkulous. But it was tasty and I definitely wouldn’t mind eating here again.

My camera was still outta battery (i’m lazy), but the dishes were awesome looking. You’d have to ask me in person to see them on my phone though.

Panko Crusted Crab Cake

A fatty crab cake throned in the center of a plate topped with pear compote. Surrounding it is a sweet sauce that has a nice spice to it. Combine the two, and well, happy eatings.

Miso Sea Bass

The Sea Bass was cooked perfectly (especially the skin on the edges), but it absorbed the truffle broth flavor like crazy; it resulted in a powerful tasting sea bass. It was a little too strong, so it loses a star. The vegetables went well with it though. And the shrimp tortellini was easily 5 stars. The outside layer was a nice texture and chewiness, while the inside burst with flavor.

Rack of Lamb

The lamb was harder to bite off than i expected (i was expecting lamb shank falling off quality), but that didn’t hurt the flavor. A little dry, once eaten with the sweet sauce, became very balanced in meat and sweetness. The vegetable-infused mashed potatoes were so good though. omg. and the veggie tempura didn’t require any sauce; i think they put some sort of seasoning or something that made it taste good alone (unlike all other tempuras i’ve had. Interesting, the special dessert was Banana tempura! madness).

Chocolate Lava Cake

While not quite a volcano or lava-y, each bite was an adventure in massive chocolate flavor. I would describe the volcan as extinct (no lava), but thats not a bad thing. The fruit seemed unnecessary, but I guess its to relieve the guilt of eating pure chocolate. The vanilla gelato was okay; went great with the cake, as expected, but alone, it could’ve used some more flavor. Perhaps my tongue was numbed due to the chocolate flavor though.

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Cafe Japengo is located near the cities of San Diego County, Hillcrest, Coronado, and Old Town San Diego.
People found this by searching for: Cafe Japengo, Cafe Japengo Happy Hour Menu, Cafe Japengo Parking, Japengos Sushi San Diego Aventine, Cafe Japengo Restaurant, Lava Cake Supplier San Diego, and Japengo Groupon.