Kroran is a different kind of place, and probably the only Uyghur restaurant in San Diego. It’s a modestly-sized restaurant with mostly simple but attractive two- and four-top tables, plus one large oval table that seats eight. Nicely appointed with what appeared to me to be largely Middle Eastern - influenced decorations. And it’s quiet! I arrived just when it opened (at 5 pm), and at that time it was of course silent, but by the time I left about an hour later, when it was already about 60% full, there was still almost no noise at all. This is a spot with an acoustic ceiling, no concrete floor, no TVs, no music, and soft-spoken (and very pleasant) staff. Peaceful dining.
They serve somewhat unusual food. I saw many things on the menu that I’d like to try, and some items brought to other tables that looked intriguing. Not knowing what to try first, I ordered the “House Laghman”, partly because it came with hand-pulled noodles. And partly because I figured “House” implied something special. There’s another version of laghman (with the word “House” left off) that, after the fact, I think would have been a better choice. That version comes with fried beef and stir-fried, large-sliced veggies. The “house” version came with beef cut into very small cubes (described on the menu as “thin-sliced”) and with almost-minced, pretty ordinary vegetables. The people next to me had the non-house version and it looked great.
The noodles were the standout by far, and there were lots of them. They were just right, both in texture and flavor, like excellent ramen noodles. The rest of the dish, however, was pale flavored – perhaps a good choice for the unadventurous. I asked for some chilies to bring up the flavor and was brought a small ceramic cup of sriracha sauce. That helped bring the dish up from a hotness scale value of zero to about three, but more importantly, it added missing flavor. I was told that if I want a truly spicy dish, I should order the “big chicken plate” on the back of the menu. I will definitely do so. Next time.
I was also intrigued by their several salad offerings, one of which is described as being “tough and numbing” spicy hot. We shall see. They also have skewers of lamb, beef, and chicken.
I think this is a place worth checking out more than once. But I’d say pass on the house version of laghman.
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