Folks know I'm not real keen on being among the first in the door when a place opens. But sometimes curiosity gets the better of me and with all the hype Nishiki Ramen was getting...when Candice asked me if I was up for lunch.....during their soft opening; I just couldn't help myself. Still, I tempered my expectations. I mean, even my initial visit to Santouka when they first opened was not very good....and we really don't need to mention Dumpling Hut.
The interior of the shop is wide open and there were perhaps just a dozen people in front of us....something to do with the 1230 opening I think.
The menu for today was simply one ramen ($10), boiled egg is extra ($2), something called "Volcano Sauce" ($1.50) and Chicken Karaage ($7).
So this is the one time I can accurately claim to have had everything on the menu!
So after all the hype over the noodles???? I gotta say, it delivered; nice pull and chew, great texture, maybe the best I've had since Ippudo in Osaka. That red paste in the little bowl is the Volcano Sauce, basically a mildly spicy bean/miso paste which tasted like Gochujang. Overpowers anything in the ramen, but was decent on the chicken karaage. The broth was chicken forward; I believe it's a pork-chicken combination, it's not too thick, but also not overly salty (I was told no MSG is used). Really nice flavor, the black sesame oil was pretty mild. I think it's better than RakiRaki's Premium Ramen. The Chashu is sliced a bit too thin for my tastes. It's very tender and moist, but needs a bit more flavoring. I really couldn't detect any special flavor from the "sea salt seasoning" for the egg; but it was prepared perfectly. My favorite thing? The noodles.....
The Chicken Karaage had nice flavor, but wasn't light and crisp like I prefer.
It's passable but nowhere near as good as my favorites...it's missing a nice deep savory flavor, but did fine dipped in the Volcano Sauce.
While I think the prices are on the high side, I do think I have another place for my ramen rotation. Enjoyed the service, and really liked the noodles. I understand that there's another, thicker version that I'm looking forward to trying.
I'm glad to have had a chance to check this place out. I was told that the planned grand opening is scheduled for Sunday, October 4th. Until then it's the limited menu.
8055 Armour St
San Diego, CA 92111