Thursday, July 5, 2007

Kitima - San Diego Hillcrest district

Our first meal in SD was at Kitima. The concierge at the Hilton suggested one Thai place in the Hillcrest district, but it was closed for lunch. Kitima was his second recommendation and really easy to find. We basically took Fifth Avenue straight north from the hotel for a few miles to University and Kitima was on the far west side of that block. Parking was a nightmare, but we found a lot of Fourth Ave and just had a short stroll.

The restaurant had a nice interior. It was long and narrow with stairs leading to an upstairs with a grand piano visible on the far end. We were seated at the second table in from the open doors and took a look a the menus. Most of it seem like fairly standard Thai cuisine. We ordered a couple appetizers (spring rolls and another quesadilla-type thing with meat in the middle), Tara got a noodle dish, and I got peanut chicken dish. Tara also ordered a coke while I got ice water and a pot of jasmine tea.

While we waited, we enjoyed the novelty of not sweltering with the main doors of the restaurant wide open. I was facing the door, so I could people-watch, while Tara got to watch the interactions inside. One older couple came in and had a disjointed conversation with the hostess/waitress about when their to-go order would be ready.

After a few minutes, our appetizers arrived. Both were pretty good, although on the smallish side. All the ingredients were very fresh and we enjoyed them. However, my tea had yet to materialize. About four of five waitstaff arrived right after we ordered, and one of them brought our appetizers. Tara asked him about the tea and shortly after that, he brought some out.

Our entrees came out a few minutes after we finished our appetizers. Both came out on sizable plates. Tara like her noodles a lot, until she tried my dish. Then she stated that she ordered the wrong thing. My dish ended up being essentially large pieces of chicken satay on a bed of wilted spinach, drenched in a great peanut sauce. A shaped pile of rice was on the side. I loved it. Tons of peanuts sauce, a little bite of the curry from the chicken. Once I finished the chicken, Tara frowned and said she'd been hoping I'd offer her a full piece. She did make do by using the leftover rice to sop up every last bit of the sauce, though. I'm not sure why she was complaining, because she polished off her noodles and left barely any scraps. Up until that point, it had been a pretty good experience. The missing tea could be chalked up to miscommunication, as English didn't seem to be spoken very well by the servers.

Then the check arrived.

One of my little games is to guesstimate the totals. I came up with about $42. The check was for $52. I looked it over and thought the prices seemed higher on the bill than the menu. I knew for sure that the soda was listed at $2.50, not the $2.95 on the check. I asked for a menu and started comparing prices. My dish was $10.95 on the menu, billed for $13.95. Tara's noodles were $9.95, we were charged 11.95. The apps were fine. I pointed out the discrepencies and the bill was redone correctly. Tara wondered how many people came in and were overbilled without realizing it. This put a damper on the meal and the tip as well. One price I could see, but three out of five items? Seems like a scam to me. We paid and left, vowing to look elsewhere for Thai on our next visit.

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