East Village is a trendy, quirky, Asian-fusion style restaurant in the heart of downtown Encinitas. It gets crowded quickly, so be prepared to come early, or you will wait. We came on a Sunday at 5:30 pm, got a table for 10 and felt very lucky. By 6:00 pm, it was packed.
East Village has a welcoming committee ready to greet you as you walk in:
Strange Anime cartoons are playing for your enjoyment:
We shared a few appetizers to whet our palates. The fried spring rolls came hot, crispy, and filled with vegetables. Wait a sec. What is the difference between a fried spring roll and an egg roll? I thought spring rolls are rolled in rice paper and left uncooked, and egg rolls are fried. But if these are fried spring rolls, doesn’t that just make them egg rolls? Or are egg rolls considered Chinese, while spring rolls are Vietnamese? And clearly we can’t have Chinese or Vietnamese food at a Korean inspired restaurant, hence these are fried spring rolls. Not egg rolls. Thank’s for letting me work that one out.
Fried Spring Rolls (that look and taste just like egg rolls)
Step out of your comfort zone and try the Kimchi-Chive Street-Cart Pancakes. They are fried, so obviously they’re not going to suck. They taste slightly tangy and very good. The dipping sauce is great.
Kimchi-Chive Street-Cart Pancakes
The Crispy Coconut Shrimp are delicious, but nothing unique. Pounded out flat, they are fun to eat. We had to order a second basket because no one wanted to cut these in half to share.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp
They have soups, salads and noodle dishes on the menu. One person from our group ordered Beef and Broccoli Noodles, and one of the kids ordered from the kid’s menu.
Beef & Broccoli Noodles
Kid’s Chicken Teriyaki Rice Plate
But the main shtick here is the Monk’s Stone Pot. You choose white or brown rice for the first layer in the pot, then it’s filled with fresh vegetables, and finally you pick your protein to add in. It’s all topped off with a perfectly cooked egg. The best part is that it comes to your table in a sizzling-hot-burn-the-skin-off-your-fingers stone pot that you do NOT want to touch! This amazing vessel keeps your meal piping hot from beginning to end. The rest of us ordered different forms of the Monk’s Stone Pot. And if you, a monk or anyone else was stoned on pot, you would love to mack out on this stone pot even more!
Tracy is queen of pulled pork. I’ve never met anyone who loves it more than she. If it is offered on a menu, any menu, that’s it for her. She even had “tabooed” pulled pork sandwiches served at her son’s bar mitzvah! She’s that dedicated to the swine. Tonight, she ordered right. This pulled pork is loaded with flavor and is down right delectable!
Tracy’s Monk’s Stone Pot with Pulled Pork, hold the egg
Monk’s Stone Pot with Brown Rice and Shrimp
I ordered mine with shrimp. First you break the egg, and let all of the rich yolk melt into the bowl. Then you wait a few minutes to let the rice sizzle and get crispy at the bottom before you dive in. (The white rice crisps better than the brown.) The fresh vegetables cook as you eat your way through this large bowl of steaming food. Two sauces are offered at the table. Both are great. Neither too spicy, just add them into your bowl and go for it. The portion of food is generous, and you will likely take left overs home.
I thought we were finished, but Jennifer, who frequents here, ordered us the Apple Wontons for dessert. She did so without asking. I was a little disappointed. First of all, I didn’t really want dessert tonight. (You’re not buying that are you? I heard what a liar I am while I was saying that. I meant, I was going to use the ounce of willpower I could muster and not order a dessert tonight even though I desperately wanted to.) Second, she must not have seen that they had House Baked Brownie a la Mode on the menu! (Because I saw it! Even though I wasn’t really looking because I probably, most likely, maybe would not be ordering dessert tonight.) Apple Wontons, really? OVER A FRIGGIN HOUSE BAKED CHOCOLATE BROWNIE WITH ICE CREAM? I’m not a fan of apple pie, so this would have been my last choice for a dessert. But then it appeared….
Whoa.. this is definitely not just a take on apple pie! This looks seriously worthwhile. The ice cream served here has a purpose. In fact, it would be dangerous to eat these wontons without it! These sweet, appley, crunchy pillows of goodness smothered in caramel are piping hot inside. You need to break one in half, scoop some ice cream onto your spoon, then put a piece of wonton on top. The ice cream will cool it just enough to get it into your mouth safely. With 10 people at our table, I only had one bite. It was an awesome bite! Thank you Jen!
East Village gets very crowded, and there isn’t a lot of room inside. Those sitting in chairs along the aisle are constantly getting banged into by the wait staff. Look at the narrow space between chairs the servers need to sqeeze through for carrying food back and forth to customers:
To train for this position, men and women alike must wear body length girdles 24/7 until they are slim enough to pass through the smallest of spaces. Sure, their faces, hands and feet are forced to unusually large sizes due to this sausage-like mechanism, but it works.
The fun-robot-toy-themed atmosphere works well for this hip, Californian-Asian fused restaurant. The appetizers are good, but not needed. The Monk’s Pots are delicious, and needed. Get the Apple Wontons. The staff is super friendly, polite and attentive. If you think you may want a job here, start training your body now in a full length girdle. I’m sure they sell them on Amazon.
Next blog will be Sunday, December 24th at 11:30 am at:
Honey’s Bistro & Bakery
632 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas