Sneak Peak | Downtown's Gang Kitchen Unveiled

January 12, 2013

By Heather Reineke

Amongst a slew of rustic-themed restaurants emerges an establishment that's sure to bring some edge to San Diego's gastronomy scene. Gang Kitchen is an attractive Asian-fusion restaurant in the Gaslamp area of downtown that unsealed its doors on Wednesday, January 9th for a private Grand Opening event that surely impressed!

The tri-level venue has a unique character that draws from the black and red color scheme, atypical light fixtures, variety of seating options, and oversized wall murals. It's slightly avant-garde for San Diego, yet isn't over-the-top. The flow of the space was excellent and I noticed that even when the crowd began to expand, I never felt displaced and there was always a spot to sit or lounge. I was particularly intrigued by the oversized orange booths with the steel bars surrounding them (after all 'gang' translates to 'steel' in Mandarin). Sitting in one of these booths gave me this contradictory feeling of being exclusive, yet inclusive. Exclusive in the sense that the bars sections your party off from everyone else, making for a more intimate feel; and yet, inclusive in the fact that the enormous U-shaped booth allows for socializing amongst a party of 15 or maybe even more - genius for tapping into the large-party niche! I also thoroughly appreciated the Asian-themed community table located on the top floor as well as the lounge furniture dusted throughout.

Not only is Gang Kitchen visually interesting, the food is innovative and delicious! Amongst my favorite tastes of the evening were the spicy tuna crispy rice and the spicy summer rolls. As someone who appreciates texture, I could devour an entire pallet of spicy tuna crispy rice. The soft, smooth texture of the tuna laid beautifully upon the crispy rice, which was molded into the shape of a square to allow for easy eating. The spicy summer rolls tasted incredibly fresh and given the chance, I would totally swim in a pool of the green peanut sauce that accompanied them...NOM!

The drinks were equally exciting and creative. The sake with pineapple was topped with a marvelous froth that imbued the drink with a light effervescence, and the mild sweetness of the pineapple perfectly masked the alcohol's punch. I consider this quite a feat considering sake's flavor can sometimes be potent. The Singapore Sling changed my opinion of gin-based drinks as its combination of flavors played beautifully against each other to create a medley in my mouth. And if you're into the "girlier" drinks, the Lady Snowblood was enchanting, but probably a one-per-night drink as it was a tad on the sweeter side.

Stop in to check out this phenomenal new space, a multi-Asian menu, and a variety of old classic cocktails. Happy Hour is everyday from 4PM - 6PM.

Gang Kitchen is located at 345 6th Avenue in the Gaslamp and is open Monday - Sunday from 4PM - Close.  For more information, visit Gang Kitchen online and follow on Facebook and Twitter.  
Gang Kitchen on Urbanspoon