Quantcast
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

Can carne asada fries be non-traditional?

A Mexican restaurant redux

A yucca twist on carne asada fries
A yucca twist on carne asada fries

We were walking around the Gaslamp looking for lunch when my friend spied a waiter, on his way to deliver food to a diner seated on a restaurant patio. It was a large, fat burrito, smothered in three kinds of salsa, avocado slices and crispy fried onions.

Place

Volcano Rabbit

527 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

“I want that!” my friend pointed.

I took a look at the unfamiliar restaurant, then back at the street, and performed some mental calculations. “Hey, isn’t this where Don Chido used to be?”

A yucca twist on carne asada fries

It is. News that Don Chido closed had escaped me, but apparently it was only for a remodel and a brand refresh. The same owners have reopened the Mexican restaurant as Volcano Rabbit, and at first glance, it sure looks snazzy, kind of like a Vegas night club.

A glossy interior for a Mexican restaurant

We planted ourselves on the patio, and I scanned the menu — my friend was committed to the carne asada burrito, but I still had plenty of deciding to do. Half the menu consisted of tacos, and though the burritos ran fairly traditional, the tacos offer some intriguing turns: from the bahn mi-inspired sticky short-rib taco, to a vegetarian option of smoked portobello, and seared ahi with seaweed salad on a corn tortilla.

But I was drawn to a different twist on a traditional item. That is, if carne asada fries can be considered traditional.

It’s a San Diego staple for sure, but the act of loading up french fries with beef, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole feels about as authentic as pineapple on pizza. It’s more about satisfying a craving, and I was feeling that itch.

At Volcano Rabbit, the twist is that the carne fries are called Yucca Frites: marinated skirt steak, chive crème fraiche, whipped avocado, queso fresco, pico de gallo, and black bean puree, piled on fries of yucca instead of potato.

I was in. I’m not married to potato as a starch, and it’s always possible yucca brings something different and better to the table. And it did bring something interesting, just not very much of it.

To be fair, the yucca frites are found on the starter menu, but they also cost $13, compared to $16 for that large burrito. Carne fries are traditionally (there’s that word again) served in gut-busting portions for under 7 or 8 bucks. My yucca fries were fried to a perfect crisp outside, the inside having that unique sort of sticky meets dry yucca interior. I didn’t miss the potato. But as I forked in a few meager chunks of beef, I did miss the second half of my craving.

I looked over at my friend’s sizeable burrito with envy, though he wasn’t entirely thrilled. Most of it was stuffed with white rice and black beans, and he too felt underwhelmed by the amount of carne included, indicating it was out of balance.

Had either dish truly elevated the Mexican food experience, they might be worth the price. But they didn’t, and as we munched on a five-dollar serving of chips and salsa, I could only conclude that we were paying for Gaslamp real estate and a costly remodel.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Football: a career low for Lucille Ball

A darker shade of twilight
Next Article

The Harrison G. Otis House: a Tudor Revival residence

Much of the craftsmanship and styling cues of the era remain
A yucca twist on carne asada fries
A yucca twist on carne asada fries

We were walking around the Gaslamp looking for lunch when my friend spied a waiter, on his way to deliver food to a diner seated on a restaurant patio. It was a large, fat burrito, smothered in three kinds of salsa, avocado slices and crispy fried onions.

Place

Volcano Rabbit

527 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

“I want that!” my friend pointed.

I took a look at the unfamiliar restaurant, then back at the street, and performed some mental calculations. “Hey, isn’t this where Don Chido used to be?”

A yucca twist on carne asada fries

It is. News that Don Chido closed had escaped me, but apparently it was only for a remodel and a brand refresh. The same owners have reopened the Mexican restaurant as Volcano Rabbit, and at first glance, it sure looks snazzy, kind of like a Vegas night club.

A glossy interior for a Mexican restaurant

We planted ourselves on the patio, and I scanned the menu — my friend was committed to the carne asada burrito, but I still had plenty of deciding to do. Half the menu consisted of tacos, and though the burritos ran fairly traditional, the tacos offer some intriguing turns: from the bahn mi-inspired sticky short-rib taco, to a vegetarian option of smoked portobello, and seared ahi with seaweed salad on a corn tortilla.

But I was drawn to a different twist on a traditional item. That is, if carne asada fries can be considered traditional.

It’s a San Diego staple for sure, but the act of loading up french fries with beef, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole feels about as authentic as pineapple on pizza. It’s more about satisfying a craving, and I was feeling that itch.

At Volcano Rabbit, the twist is that the carne fries are called Yucca Frites: marinated skirt steak, chive crème fraiche, whipped avocado, queso fresco, pico de gallo, and black bean puree, piled on fries of yucca instead of potato.

I was in. I’m not married to potato as a starch, and it’s always possible yucca brings something different and better to the table. And it did bring something interesting, just not very much of it.

To be fair, the yucca frites are found on the starter menu, but they also cost $13, compared to $16 for that large burrito. Carne fries are traditionally (there’s that word again) served in gut-busting portions for under 7 or 8 bucks. My yucca fries were fried to a perfect crisp outside, the inside having that unique sort of sticky meets dry yucca interior. I didn’t miss the potato. But as I forked in a few meager chunks of beef, I did miss the second half of my craving.

I looked over at my friend’s sizeable burrito with envy, though he wasn’t entirely thrilled. Most of it was stuffed with white rice and black beans, and he too felt underwhelmed by the amount of carne included, indicating it was out of balance.

Had either dish truly elevated the Mexican food experience, they might be worth the price. But they didn’t, and as we munched on a five-dollar serving of chips and salsa, I could only conclude that we were paying for Gaslamp real estate and a costly remodel.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Mostra Coffee is finally caffeinating 4S Ranch

Local micro roaster of the year replaces a boring chain coffeeshop
Next Article

"We had to get canning quickly"

In response to covid, these small brewers now offer beer in cans for the first time
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close