We've been going to Tajima since we first moved to San Diego back in 2000. I used to enjoy the Menchi Katsu(breaded deep fried ground/minced meat - in this case beef) Curry, now long gone from the menu, the various Ramen, and the Missus had always enjoyed the Okonomiyaki(a savory type of Japanese pancake).
Since an Ownership change a few years back, the menu has been expanded to accommodate a large variety of Izakaya style dishes(think pub grub/tapas style dishes) and Westernized Japanese dishes. Since I've started to make Okonomiyaki at home, the Missus hasn't expressed a desire to eat at Tajima. So most of my visits have been for Ramen at lunch.
On this day, I had my favorite dish at Tajima, the Chashu Ramen($8.95):
The broth for the Chashu Ramen is Tonkotsu style, which is the whitish long boiled pork bone broth. While not as rich and velvety (nor as oily for that matter) as the version from Daikokuya in Little Tokyo(Los Angeles), it is still the best version of Tonkotsu style broth that I've had in San Diego. Though the broth is much darker in color than almost every other version I've had, it is not overly salty, and on the mild side, with a nice amount of oil.
Though thick noodles are available, I usually stick with the thin noodles(you can get more noodles for $1). The noodles have a nice pull and texture, but could stand to be a bit more chewy. I love that boiled egg.....
On some days, I want more of a "blank slate", a very mild broth, so I'll have the "Ramen"($6.95), which in the case of Tajima is a Shoyu Ramen:
The broth is a mild Soy Sauce based broth to which I usually add a nice scoop of garlic paste, and some Shichimi for some zing. Speaking of the garlic paste; on a previous visit a gentleman with some obvious olfactory problems dumped 3 spoons of the garlic paste into his ramen....taking a sip of his soup, his eyes opened wide, exclaiming "Holy crap, this isn't mustard".....he-he-he.
As previously mentioned...I love that boiled egg. A nice hot bowl of Ramen on a rainy day, very few things better than that.
On this day, I needed my fix of Umami, and ordered this:
In case you can't really identify it, let me help you:
It's the Marinated Baby Squid($3.95), a salty-pungent-winey-slightly sweet offering, with a mild Shiokara-like flavor. The julienned basil added a nice clean flavor to this dish.
On a recent visit I managed to drag the Missus along, and being quite hungry we tried a few of the appetizers, along with a main course.
We started with the Tako Wasabi($3.95):
This was pretty good, more on the sweet side, than salty. The Missus enjoyed it, and even thought it was better than the version at Sakura!
The Tuna Tataki($6.95):
Looked fairly nice, but the fish was tough, the ponzu watery, and weak in flavor, and the fried garlic only added a bitterness to the dish.
The Chicken Karaage($3.95):
I love Chicken Karaage, in fact I love Chicken Karaage so much that it only needs to fulfill one of two criteria. Either it's nice and crunchy, with mild flavor, or it can be cold and have a nice salty-soy-slightly-sweet-mildly gingery flavor. This version was on the soggy side, which would be fine if it was loaded with flavor. But as you can tell by the color.........
The Miso Nabeyaki Soba($8.95):
Hardly any miso flavor, and soggy noodles. The shrimp tempura was fine, nice and crisp.
Aaaaah, minced meat, breaded, and fried, how can that be bad? Honestly, not a bad version, nice and crisp on the outside, and not oily at all. The patties had a good amount of filler which kept it moist, and the onion flavor came through. The "butter noodles" are not my favorite thing, and the Hijiki(seaweed) had not been cooked long enough and was like eating wood. The Menchi Katsu came with a bowl of miso soup(okay as miso goes), rice, and a combo Demi Glace - Katsu Sauce, that was too sour for my taste.
OH, before I forget...one of the really great things about Tajima is the late night Ramen! Check check the hours:
Yep, open till 3am Thursdays through Saturday(Convoy location only). And it's a good thing; for now, I think I'll stick with the ramen at Tajima. Don't forget to try the Okonomiyaki!
Tajima Japanese Restaurant
4681 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
4411 Mercury St
San Diego, CA 92111