This idea is kinda been playing in my head for awhile. Like half the country, I grew up eating Chinese food, and loving it. For the most part, though, I don't eat Chinese much anymore because the Chinese restaurants in my neighborhood aren't great (though the Mandarin House isn't bad). And that's completely strange because my neighborhood, and the surrounding neighborhoods, are some of the best restaurant areas in all of San Diego. Its like all of the Chinese restaurants have been replaced with Thai restaurants. Part of the problem, I think, is that many restaurants are either ridiculously outdated, cater almost exclusively to Chinese patrons.
Its the latter of these two types of restaurants - the one that caters almost exclusively to Chinese patrons - that holds the most promise. The food at China Max, Spicy City, Ba Ren, Emerald, and others, is quite good - and its food that draws people in. So, here's my restaurant idea for San Diego's interior - a Chinese restaurant that uses local produce as much as possible (playing into the locavore movement), and serving craft beer and cocktails.
I got the idea from San Diego Beer Week when Ba Ren presented a beer tasting menu. Now sure, this would be a blatant rip-off of the Linkery - and I'm sure Jay Porter has this on his agenda - but how cool would it be to have a place that could serve good beer with good Chinese food? Look, if Jayne's Gastropub and Shakespeare's can make English food cool, how hard would it be to make Chinese food, with all of its complexity and depth of flavor, cool?