I do try to revisit places as much as I can....so long the food or the service wasn't terrible. And my initial visit to Nishiki Ramen during their soft opening was neither of those....though the hype machine was in full swing....shades of RakiRaki! So I waited things out and after returning from our recent trip managed to visit twice.
I will say, post grand opening hype, that things were pretty calm, even slow during my visits....though I do try to get in as early as possible. Also, the service here was really nice; the two young ladies working were very efficient and quite friendly on both visits.
So, it off to the ramen, right?
I decided to start with Nishiki's "signature" tonkotsu style ramen ($9.95), which looked sort of like what I had in my soft-opening visit. Having had a mild, poultry forward broth previously, I was kind of stunned at how salty this was. Also, the broth wasn't as hot as I'd have preferred. In spite of looks, this wasn't quite as rich, nor did it have much in terms of personality with regards to flavor....perhaps it was just too much salt? The chashu was cold, a pet peeve; though the egg was quite nice......perhaps almost perfect.
The noodles had a great texture, nice pull, though the flavor of them seemed different from what I recalled....strange, I know, but something seemed to have changed.
The Chicken Karaage was better than on my previous visit. The flavor was excellent; I'm pretty sure they use shio koji to add that extra complex depth of flavor.
When it arrived it was nice and crisp, but it quickly became soggy........not quite worth the $6.95 I paid for it.
In order to perform my "due diligence" I returned the following week. I saw something called "Nishiki Black" on the menu...there are places that use black garlic oil in their ramen and places that use a black sesame infused oil. So why not, right? Also, I ordered this with the "thicker noodle" which in my mind would prove to be a nice vehicle to move a thicker broth.
So here's the thing about the broth......the flavors are pretty mild here overall and there was a ton of that black garlic sauce/oil in this, way too much as the flavor of the garlic, which really didn't have the nice sweetness of black garlic, overwhelmed the whole bowl. In addition, the temp of the broth wasn't hot enough for my taste as this just projected itself as greasy. The chashu wasn't cold and tasted nice, the egg was again excellent, in terms of being cooked and flavor....away from that broth.
I had ordered the thicker noodle, which, while not what you'd expect for a tsukemen, I preferred to the thinner noodle, I did expect something along the lines of what is served at, say Nagi Ramen. Overall, this was a bit too over the top for me....this coming from a guy who had pork backfat ramen in Narita! And at $10.95, I think it's a bit over-priced.
So, I enjoyed the service, the noodles.....it seemed that the "bloom is off the rose" here as the place was pretty much empty......so we'll see. I'll try to drop by again in a couple of months.
8055 Armour St
San Diego, CA 92111