I am always seeking out new locations to enjoy Thai food and recently stumbled upon AA-HARN. Such a fantastic restaurant with 3 locations in San Diego. I visited AA-HARN 56 which is just a short drive from my office; and relatively new to this location off Ted Williams Parkway in Rancho Penasquitos. Named after the word for “food” in the Thai language, AA-HARN is a modern Thai restaurant featuring a menu of authentic Thai dishes.
I’ve already visited twice and have been impressed both times. The Cashew Nut Chicken was excellent. The perfect balance of proteins and crispy wok-seared vegetables. Served with a side of steamed rice. I’ve also had the Pad Thai. Beautifully presented with a crowning of sweet radish, carrot and green onion spears. It looked and tasted outstanding.
Back in SoCal after that quick trip to Florida! On my way home from the airport I always like to stop by Dumpling Inn & Shanghai Saloon on Convoy Street. Enjoyed an excellent wonton soup and tasty order of beef curry dumplings.
Finally got in to try Ramona Noodle House! It is a very small, clean and intimate restaurant. The layout seemed odd, although it’s appointed nicely with modern, slightly abstract decor. I ordered the ‘Pho Beef Noodles’. If you’ve never had pho before, it is a very interactive dish with lots of slurping and splashing. Not at all something you can eat gracefully. The pho here is made with thin rice noodles, beef slices, beef balls and onions in a beef broth soup. Served with a side of jalapeño, lime slice, bean sprouts and basil for only $9.
The pho came out in a huge bowl, roughly the size of a small lampshade, and piping hot. It held a generous amount of rice noodles. The broth lacked any sort of depth or complexity that I’m used to. The beef slices were not very tender and seemed to clump up on themselves. Now, I am no authority on Oriental beef balls, but the texture and mouthfeel seemed like they were overly mechanically processed and somewhat artificial tasting. I don’t know how else to describe it. The beef balls had no flavor whatsoever. The accoutrement plate on the side was underwhelming. The jalapeños and lime looked and felt as if they were sliced about 8 hours prior to my arrival. Could have been the day before, I don’t know. Overall, not among the best bowls of pho I’ve had, but it did hit the spot on a cold winter night in Ramona!
The service here was noticeably top-shelf! I felt welcomed and taken care of the whole time by the professional staff. Water was kept filled (no beer & wine); they were fast, friendly and efficient. If noodle houses are your thing and you’re up the hill, this place is worth checking out. I might order something different next time.