Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ

I was killing time before a late evening swing dance lesson and decided to join the writer of Convoy Recon (found through Convoy Conquest) for one of his open invitation meals. This week it was Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ of which I’d never heard of! The Japanese BBQ was similar to the cook your own meat Korean bbq places but without the banchan. When I arrived, the group had already ordered some kimchi-type appetizer to start. I wasn't feeling too picky so I let them choose the food for the evening.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - kobe beef

We went all out and ordered the Steak Cut Kobe Beef ($13.95) which were beautifully marbled and in little squares. These were placed on the grill with enthusiasm and when cooked a perfect medium rare made me smile.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - dipping sauces

The meats were perfectly seasoned to me and didn't even need the dipping sauces that accompanied the meal. I tasted some of the sauces on their own and found that the simple sesame oil mixed with salt and pepper to be quite yummy... possibly used at home in the near future! I am unsure what flavors the other two sauces were, more ponzu or teriyaki style but they were not heavy or salty like soy sauce. These were also quite delicious for dipping the meat in.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - pork belly

We also ordered some Pork Belly ($6.75). These didn't take too long to cook and had a little bit of a crispy edge how we cooked them. Thinking back, these don't look like they were marinaded either but they tasted like there was more than just salt and pepper on it! Maybe the meat flavors came out really well on the hot grill!

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - pork belly sauce

The pork belly came with its own fiery looking paste which turned out to be a non-spicy yet tasty dipping companion.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - tsubo kalbi

We also got some Tsubo Kalbi ($13.95) ie marinaded ribs, that was served in a more vinegary broth. The meat was fairly good but I liked the other marinade a little better. The funky looking blocks are huge mushroom stems that we also cooked up with the meat!

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - mushrooms

Here were the Assorted Organic Mushroom ($9), our non-meat component! The portion was surprisingly bigger than I expected. These were pre-marinated and were divine after grilling.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - garlic before and after grilling

At this point in the meal, the Grilled Garlic ($2), raw when we ordered early on, were being boiled in the little metal cup (right side). They were softening up and pretty much ready to eat. Garlic breath here we come! The server changed out our grill and we ordered our next round of meat.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - chicken leg miso

Apparently this half of dinner was full of the slow cooking items or the grill still needed a little time to heat up. The juicy Miso Chicken Leg ($5.25) was a yummy meat pick and came with a lone lemon for extra tart. You could also choose salted instead of miso flavoring.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - natural sausage

We were surprised at the appearance of the Natural Sausage ($6), a Vienna sausage look-a-like! After a little bit of charring, these were taken off the grill. As a bit of warning, these things were squirters! There were hot jets of juice if you weren't too careful! The taste was nice and porky though.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - grilling mushrooms and beef

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - grilling chicken and sausages

We did a couple rounds of grilling to cook it all. This ended up being about the right amount of food to be comfortably full but now the desserts were tempting us!

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - mango pudding

I ordered the Mango Pudding ($4.50) which was a balanced sweetness in my mouth. The fresh mangos on top gave it something soft to bite into. I rather liked it.

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ - coconut milk ice cream

Some of the party ordered the Coconut Milk with Ice Cream ($4.50) dessert. This one was ordered with black sesame ice cream, not a typical find! I was intrigued by the taste but still preferred the mango pudding. The others thought it was superb and unique.

After everything, the bill was a little under $30 a person with tax and tip. The premium stuff is around $14 but the rest of the cuts seem to be $6-10 per order. I enjoyed the company and food so it felt reasonable enough. Make sure to check out Convoy Recon and say hi to Beston online or in person. His next location and date is always posted in the first entry.

*updated with additional recommendations*

- Pork Cheek ($6.75)

Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ  - Bibinab in a Stone Pot Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ  - Bibinab in a Stone Pot

-Bibinba in a Stone Pot ($8.25). Delicious and stirred! Sis-in-law and I shared this and wish we had our own bowl!

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Tsuruhashi Japanese BBQ
3904 Convoy St
San Diego CA 92111
(858) 279-8929

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Barbara's picture
Submitted by Barbara (not verified) on Mon, 07/14/2014 - 6:59pm

This all looks so delicious! I've been to Korean BBQ before but not Japanese. I must try it!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sat, 07/19/2014 - 3:46pm

Let me know what you think if you do!

J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats's picture
Submitted by J.S. @ Sun Dieg... (not verified) on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:46pm

The kobe beef looks gorgeous! Sounds like a really good spot to try, are the marinades pretty different from Korean BBQ? Also both the desserts look amazingggg.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sat, 07/19/2014 - 3:45pm

I'm pretty sure their marinades are different. Unfortunately, the only korean marinades I can think of are bugolgi and the spicy pork haha! I have no idea what's on the japanese ones but the sauces here were excellent if you needed them. The coconut milk dessert is definitely worth a try plus you get ice cream!

Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 2:55pm

Is this Japanese BBQ located in the same plaza as Original Pancake House? If it is, then I've seen this place but I don't think I've ever eaten here. It's hard to visit other bbq places when the AYCE Korean BBQs are right around the corner (and gives you so much variety for a set price). But this Japanese BBQ has always seemed so clean and simple that I've wanted to visit . I guess the prices don't seem too bad if you go with a few ppl. The garlic grilled in metal cup is awesome! I've never seen that before. Still want to try out that new Japanese BBQ in Scripps too.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sat, 07/19/2014 - 3:35pm

I don't really know where Original Pancake House is but using google, apparently it IS in the same plaza! I was really curious about Japanese BBQ since I've never had it before. I don't eat enough Korean AYCE to compare though. I'm thinking of setting something up for the Scripps one so I'll contact you in the future.

Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 3:03pm

I haven't been to Japanese BBQ before either but it looks so tasty! Man, I want to eat allllll of those mushrooms. The Kobe beef and pork belly also look especially tasty. Looks like a fun meal!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sat, 07/19/2014 - 3:38pm

I was surprised that we liked the mushrooms so much, since it was a 'meat' kind of place. Compared to my last AYCE korean place (Taeguki), I felt I liked this more.  I'd still like to try the other cuts of meat to do a more thorough comparison.

Kirk's picture
Submitted by Kirk (not verified) on Fri, 07/18/2014 - 5:57pm

Hey Lynn - Yakiniku in this form is probably based on Korean style grilling and is claimed by the Zainichi, Japanese born Koreans. It has pretty much become it's own style. We like Tsuruhashi because the meat is of higher quality, the usual tougher cuts like harami (skirt steak) which have great flavor are usually a good bet. Another interesting tidbit, Tsuruhashi Station is pretty much known as the "Korea Town of Osaka".

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Fri, 07/18/2014 - 6:15pm

I had to look up the definition of yakiniku. Man, I love that you're such an expert on food. I learn something new all the time. Also, nice to hear confirmation that someone else enjoys it here and that my tastebuds aren't out of whack! Thanks for stopping by Kirk.

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