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I was chatting with some friends about Thai food, and someone mentioned Café Jay in Sorrento Valley as a nice, quick lunch spot. Located on Scranton Road, in the shadow of the Qualcomm office building off the 805, it’s part of a small food court that serves office workers from all over the Sorrento Valley area.

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Café Jay isn’t Thai; it offers simple, vegetarian Asian fusion cuisine. Prices are reasonable, too, my Pad See Ew with soy chicken was just $6.95.

At first glance, I thought that there was baby corn in it. On closer inspection, I realized that the soy chicken had been formed so that one side looked bumpy, like “skin”. It didn’t taste like chicken, but it did its job soaking up the light, garlicky brown sauce, as did the wide, slippery rice noodles.

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The vegetables were nicely cooked; chunks of green cabbage, carrots and broccoli were still crisp and bright. Plenty of scrambled egg bits (optional) were tossed in the mix.

The level of heat in the dish surprised me, in a good way. I know it’s tough to judge how heat tolerant a customer is when they ask for “spicy”, so most places err on the mild side. And adding pepper flakes at the table just isn’t the same as having it cooked into the food. I was happy to sip my iced green tea ($1.35) in between bites to cool off.

Café Jay also serves soup, salads, stir fries, curries and a number of chef’s specials, which come with house salad, soup du jour and steamed jasmine or brown rice. Prices range from$3.95 for apps to $8.25 for specials.

Cafe Jay

9450 Scranton Road

San Diego, CA 92121

858-558-8598

Hours:

Monday - Friday - 10:30 am - 3:00 pm

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