Kayla’s Island Grill

August 14, 2009 § 2 Comments

Kayla’s Island Grill is closed.

A coworker of mine knows about my obsession with food. Hell, anyone who knows me even just a little knows how much I love food. But that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, he had tried Kayla’s when it first opened earlier in the year and highly recommended it to me. Okay, so it’s taken me a few months to get around to it.

I had a craving for some chicken katsu and since I was on my own for the week (both my lunch peeps were out on vacation), I thought I’d swing by and get some take-out. As you walk up the steps to the order counter, you feel like you’ve walked into a kitschy throwback eatery, in a cute sort of way. Grass skirts and other tropical themed items adorn the area. It was obvious that someone who worked at Kayla’s was a UH fan and proud to display it.

The menu is posted in 2 places, on the mock surfboard you see in the picture and right above the order window.  When I walked up to the window, I stood there for a couple of minutes, waiting for someone to step up to the window. Finally, I decided to ding the bell sitting on top of the counter. I hate ringing those bells because it always makes me feel like I’m impatient or something. A young woman immediately popped out from behind a wall and said “Aloha!” and kind of threw me back a bit, hehe. She was very friendly and asked if I’d like to try some banana lumpia with my order. I politely declined, not a big fan of those.

Although I was eating by myself, I couldn’t make up my mind whether to try the BBQ combo or get the Chicken Katsu. So I got both. Since I was fending for myself that evening and I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, I thought I’d could reheat the BBQ and getting the combo allows me to try a variety.  The nice young lady behind the counter handed me 2 coupons along with my change. It was a dinner special coupon for any plate for just $4. Wow, what a bargain. The coupon is good between 3-7 pm and expires at the end of the year.

First up, the Chicken Katsu. For $5.99, this was a lot of food. Two scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad and a very decent amount of chicken katsu. The macaroni salad was so-so.  It had tiny bits of raw ginger, which was a bit overpowering for me. There was also tuna too, which I can take or leave it.

The chicken katsu was very good. It was fried nicely with a good crunch and the chicken was tender, not dry at all. The Kayla’s special katsu sauce was a little thick side but had good flavor and wasn’t overly salty. I thinned it out a bit with some soy to get a nice consistency. The rice was cooked well and not overly sticky. Overall, I really enjoyed this and and have since been back for a second visit just for it. The mac salad was much better tasting the second time, no overpowering ginger, a little more tuna, although it was much warmer than the first time. I much prefer cold mac salad.  The frying, however, was even better on the second visit.

I thought the portion of the BBQ combo was okay ($7.50). However, there was only 1 cross rib that was mostly gristle and fat. I like gristle but this was mostly fat. The flavor was pretty good and was on the sweeter side.  There wasn’t any charring on it like the chicken though.  The BBQ chicken was 2 pieces of thigh meat, a plus, and had good flamed charring to it, a hint of smokiness. But the thinner sections were on the dry side and the flavor was just okay.  The BBQ beef was pretty good, tender with good flavor, also on the sweet side. Maybe the best of the 3 items. A good amount of shredded cabbage also came with it. Same mac salad that came with the Chicken Katsu.  I would definitely try the cross ribs and the BBQ beef again but think I’ll skip the BBQ Chicken.

Kayla’s tailors mostly to the business lunch crowd in the Sorrento Valley area and shares the building with 2 other eateries. Not bad for me to add to my weekday lunch rotation, especially when I’m craving chicken katsu. They also serve up Portuguese and Spam Musubi, which I will try another time.

Oh yeah, that leads me to a quick story. On my second visit, I asked the nice young lady behind the window what brand of Portuguese sausage they used for the musubi.  She looked at me funny and kind of backed away and said, “Wh…what brand we use? Uh, I don’t know but I guess I can go ask.”  As she’s inching further and further away from me, giving me a look like I was about to devour her or something, I said, “That’s okay. No bother. Just thought I’d ask in case you knew off the top of your head.”  She looked relieved when I didn’t pursue it any further.

Hope everyone’s Aloha Friday is good and have a wonderful weekend!

Kayla’s Island Grill
11815 Sorrento Valley Road
San Diego, CA, 92121


§ 2 Responses to Kayla’s Island Grill

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