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Late-night options

Despite the hour, the kitchen doesn’t slack

The Yummy Sticks, fried veggie egg rolls served with a plum sauce. Careful, they arrive lava hot.
The Yummy Sticks, fried veggie egg rolls served with a plum sauce. Careful, they arrive lava hot.
Place

Asian Bistro

414 University Avenue, San Diego

Though I appreciate many of this town’s 24-hour taco shops, it’s nice to have options for when David and I — hungry after a long event — are looking for late-night dining. Plenty of events provide food, but I tend to miss the offerings — either I’m too busy talking, or I don’t want to deal with juggling a drink in one hand and a napkin or plate in the other.

Having an agreed upon go-to place in advance allows us to skip that tedious and time-consuming back-and-forth: Where do you wanna go? I don’t know, where do you wanna go? If it’s after 11 p.m., our latest go-to for a late dinner is The Asian Bistro. Despite the hour, the kitchen doesn’t slack when it comes to generating fresh Thai dishes. The official “late-night” menu, which has plenty to choose from, doesn’t begin until 1 a.m.

The best thing about the Tangerine Chicken is that it is not overly sweet

I always order a glass of white wine, the Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc ($8 each), and David tends to go for sake, either Yuki Nigori or Kikusui ($12). We begin with the Yummy Sticks ($7), which are fried veggie egg rolls served with a plum sauce. David, who has a tongue made of asbestos, takes a bite immediately while I chide myself yet again for ordering a lava-hot appetizer that I must wait on to bite. Still, once it cools, I’m glad for the satisfying crunch and flavorful vegetable mixture.

Everything works on the BBQ Chicken, from the sticky rice to the black char of the grill

My two favorite items on the menu are the Yellow Curry and the Tangerine Chicken, which is among the chef specials. This is the only place I have ever eaten the curry sauce like a soup, just the spicy, savory sauce itself by the spoonful. It’s a classic style, with giant hunks of potato and carrot, along with onion and my choice of chicken, which is tender and white.

But more often than not, when it’s late at night I go for the Tangerine Chicken ($13). With both dishes, the white rice is served in the shape of a heart and garnished with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. My favorite thing about the tangerine chicken is how — unlike many similar, orange- or lemon-flavored entrées elsewhere — this one is not overly sweet. There’s a light citrus acidity and a perceptible crunch to the breaded and fried meat that is satisfying.

Of the two of us, David is the most likely to order something different upon a return visit. The Asian Bistro is an exception. Once he tasted the BBQ Chicken, another of the chef’s specials, he was ruined for anything else. He likes everything about this dish, from the sticky rice to the black char on the grilled chicken, which is glazed with the house teriyaki sauce. It’s served with a red pepper sauce into which he dips each forkful.

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The Yummy Sticks, fried veggie egg rolls served with a plum sauce. Careful, they arrive lava hot.
The Yummy Sticks, fried veggie egg rolls served with a plum sauce. Careful, they arrive lava hot.
Place

Asian Bistro

414 University Avenue, San Diego

Though I appreciate many of this town’s 24-hour taco shops, it’s nice to have options for when David and I — hungry after a long event — are looking for late-night dining. Plenty of events provide food, but I tend to miss the offerings — either I’m too busy talking, or I don’t want to deal with juggling a drink in one hand and a napkin or plate in the other.

Having an agreed upon go-to place in advance allows us to skip that tedious and time-consuming back-and-forth: Where do you wanna go? I don’t know, where do you wanna go? If it’s after 11 p.m., our latest go-to for a late dinner is The Asian Bistro. Despite the hour, the kitchen doesn’t slack when it comes to generating fresh Thai dishes. The official “late-night” menu, which has plenty to choose from, doesn’t begin until 1 a.m.

The best thing about the Tangerine Chicken is that it is not overly sweet

I always order a glass of white wine, the Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc ($8 each), and David tends to go for sake, either Yuki Nigori or Kikusui ($12). We begin with the Yummy Sticks ($7), which are fried veggie egg rolls served with a plum sauce. David, who has a tongue made of asbestos, takes a bite immediately while I chide myself yet again for ordering a lava-hot appetizer that I must wait on to bite. Still, once it cools, I’m glad for the satisfying crunch and flavorful vegetable mixture.

Everything works on the BBQ Chicken, from the sticky rice to the black char of the grill

My two favorite items on the menu are the Yellow Curry and the Tangerine Chicken, which is among the chef specials. This is the only place I have ever eaten the curry sauce like a soup, just the spicy, savory sauce itself by the spoonful. It’s a classic style, with giant hunks of potato and carrot, along with onion and my choice of chicken, which is tender and white.

But more often than not, when it’s late at night I go for the Tangerine Chicken ($13). With both dishes, the white rice is served in the shape of a heart and garnished with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. My favorite thing about the tangerine chicken is how — unlike many similar, orange- or lemon-flavored entrées elsewhere — this one is not overly sweet. There’s a light citrus acidity and a perceptible crunch to the breaded and fried meat that is satisfying.

Of the two of us, David is the most likely to order something different upon a return visit. The Asian Bistro is an exception. Once he tasted the BBQ Chicken, another of the chef’s specials, he was ruined for anything else. He likes everything about this dish, from the sticky rice to the black char on the grilled chicken, which is glazed with the house teriyaki sauce. It’s served with a red pepper sauce into which he dips each forkful.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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