Fresh out of the box in Hillcrest is East Village Asian Diner, which slots into the Pink Noodle's former spot on University.
The eatery, whose original outpost opened in Encinitas three years ago, has modified operating hours for December, 5 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday through Saturday and 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Come January, they'll likely be open all day, every day.
East Village Asian Diner's menu centers around their signature Monk's Bowl, a play on the classic Korean stone pot dish, dolsot bibimbap (owner Daniel Bohlen's mother is Korean). The base bowl includes white or brown rice, vegetables and an over-easy egg; add on other toppings for an additional cost, from the traditional (marinated rib-eye, kim chi) to the untraditional (salmon and pulled pork). Other dishes include spicy Korean noodle soup, mung bean street cart pancakes and dynamite fries loaded with carnitas and their house hot sauce.
The 60-seat restaurant has 12 beer taps, all available by the pint or pitcher, and the bar offers drink specials on beer and sake or soju combos.