Man, work has been busy. And there were a couple of cool/rainy days, where I just wanted a bowl of noodle soup, and some quiet. Here's where I went.
Pho Hut and Grill:
I didn't expect much based on my previous visits. I wasn't sure what to order and ended up going with the Mi Sui Cao, dumpling egg noodle soup, not cheap at $8.50, but based on those earlier visits, I really didn't want pho.
The bowl was generous and it was better than I thought it would be.
While the broth was a bit heavy with regards to the MSG, it wasn't bad, decent flavor. The egg noodles were done well.....the dumplings were typical, a bit on an under-performer because all of them were torn open and falling apart. Not bad....but perhaps a bit over-priced in my mind.
Pho Hut & Grill 5252 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92117
When I want a quiet lunch, I'll sometimes hit up Hinotez. There's usually no one sitting at the bar when I at there if it's early enough. And like other visits, the place was empty. Instead of the usual item I order; the Shio Ramen, I went with the Shoyo Ramen.
This was actually a bit better than the last couple of shio versions I'd had here in the recent past. It was piping hot, had a mild, but not too salty flavor. The egg was decent, but the chashu was again cold and dry. The standard issue noodles were prepared decently....could have been more firm, but was a tad better than average. It won't win any awards, but I wanted a quiet and peaceful meal and I did get that.....
The area look a bit smaller than I thought it would be. There's a three table and four seat "bar" looking area near the entrance and a sunken area with tables and another bar; I didn't see any seats, but am pretty sure they'll be there soon.
Upon arriving, it took a bit to be noticed. I was told to sit anywhere I wanted. The service was friendly, if a bit on the slow side.....going thru those opening jitters.
I went with the Kotteri Tonkotsu, done "Yamadaya Style", which made my bowl $12.95. Wow, more expensive than places I'd been to in Japan like Nagi, Ippudo, and Rokurinsha!
So you're basically getting one extra piece of chashu, another half an egg, and a cube of kakuni pork for three bucks. The broth was actually a bit richer and more flavorful than what I'd had on my previous couple of visits to the Clairemont location. The flavor is still not quite "there" for me. It needs a bit more porkiness and oomph. I forgot to order the noodles "katame" and was punished with weak, soggy noodles. Historically, I've not been impressed with the chashu at Yamadaya. It is often cold, dry, and flavorless. This was actually decent, it was warm, and while still not great, at least it had some flavor. That piece of kakuni was terrible though. Hard and chewy, lacking in flavor. The egg was good, just making the cut in terms of doneness, had some flavor and was also warm, which added to the enjoyment.
In spite of all my criticisms, I believe in terms of broth, this bowl was much better than what I'd recently had at the Clairemont Mesa location. I recognized two of the staff working in the kitchen, though it did take a while to get to my table.
Will I return? Well, it seems that I have jury duty every year, so maybe......if I'm in the area, perhaps. Will I be making a special trip here? Not really.....though I'm sure it's a boon for folks who work and live downtown.
Ramen Yamadaya 531 Broadway San San Diego, CA 92101
It was nice to see Narita by daylight as arriving anywhere at night makes things a bit mysterious. The vibe of the city seemed quite relaxed, it's quite hard to believe that over 35 million people pass through an airport just a few miles away. Looking out from the window we had our first glimpse of the colors of the season. Something we don't get here in San Diego. Since our shuttle back to the airport wasn't until 940 and it was only 6am, we decided to do a bit of exploring and find something to eat.
Things seemed quite calm as we walked through the JR Narita Station, which is nearly right next to the privately operated Keisei Narita Station next door. We could make out some of the streets that we thought were so confusing the previous night. There were quite a few small temples tucked along the side streets.
We decided to visit what is probably the most popular site in this part of Narita; Naritasan Shinshoji Temple which is easily found by following the signs. The street heading to the temple, Omotesando, is lined with shops and restaurants, which were all closed at this time of the morning.
The street were very quiet except for schoolkids headed off to class. One particularly feisty little girl marched off quickly in front of us. Everytime we'd speed up, so would she, when we started catching up, she broke into a full on sprint....she refused to let us pass her! It seems we had become part of the morning entertainment.
The temple grounds were quite a bit larger than we anticipated. There's was a good amount to see. Sorry to say, my photos of the Main Hall were among those that were corrupted and unrecoverable form one of the SD cards. Still, there were quite a few distinct structures like the Three Story Pagoda.
For me, the most interesting structure was the Shakado Hall, which looked both grand and imposing at the same time. This was temple's main hall until the 1960's when the larger main hall was built.
Workers were taking down plants and flowers from an autumn flower show which had concluded the previous day.
There's also a large park. The cloudiness in the photo below is not an artifact, but the mist coming off the spruce as the environment warmed up.
We climbed up the stairs next to the Shakado Hall and were greeted by folks as they walked down past us.
The Missus read a sign that basically said, "shortcut to JR East Station", so we followed the trail. And wouldn't you know, we somehow quickly ended up quite close to the station.
We started looking for something for breakfast. And according to the Missus, "a pastry and coffee is not going to cut it!"
We circled around a bit, then ended back at Keisei Narita Station, and noticed a 24 Hour Ramen place. This seemed to fit the bill of the Missus wanting "as much ramen and yakitori" as we could possibly find on this trip.
There was one person manning the shop and one customer in attendance. The typical ramen ticket machine in the corner. The Missus couldn't make out some words and the proprietor (his photo was on the posters adorning the walls) was nice enough to point to different photos on the walls so we could correlate them to choices on the machine.
The Missus read some of the signs and said this place serves "backfat" ramen.......that would be "seabura" ramen. So what the heck, I went whole hog (no pun intended) and ordered the large bowl.
The Missus went with the Tenkasu-don - those crispy bits of tempura batter on top of rice, drizzled with a tentsuyu type of sauce, along with a raw egg. She added another boiled egg for good measure.
When my bowl arrived, I could see what looked like rice porridge on top of the ramen. It quickly became clear that these were silky little minced pieces of fat. Some of which melted away, some not. It added quite a bit of richness to the broth, which, in spite off all this fat, never became greasy. It added a different dimension to what was pretty much a ubiquitous bowl of ramen. The tonkotsu broth (minus the rendered pork fat) was fairly light and on the salty side. The noodles were done adequately...the Missus said the boiled eggs were decently flavored, though a bit on the over-cooked side for Her taste. There was a huge amount of beansprouts, I enjoyed the textural contrast it added to the ramen. The broth wasn't quite hot enough for us, which would have ended up in an even richer bowl of ramen in my mind.
While not an excellent bowl, this was still good enough for us. Would be in the top 2 in San Diego......is San Diego ready for backfat ramen?
Sadly, Osaka would be the last stop on our trip to Japan. Well, not really our last stop as we left Osaka early and decided to grab lunch at Tokyo Station.
As always, the Shinkansen was perfectly on time. It's such a comfortable way to travel.
People watching is such fun........and we saw this group of folks; mostly men having a great time in the rows in front of us.
There was one guy taking photos.....I guess the designated photographer. As soon as the Shinkansen started; they started....breaking out the beer! 8am in the morning! I sent Kat a text and a photo and she explained that it looked like a company outing......hitting the brews at 8am? That's one heck of a company outing! They sure were having a great time. What was even more impressive.....after they exited I walked past the seats and it was spotless! As if no one had even sat there.....they sure did a great job cleaning up.
We had a small bento to share......
We decided to spend our last few hours at Tokyo Station before heading to the airport. They call it Tokyo Station City and if you ever visit there it becomes quite obvious that it's large and populous enough to qualify as a city.
There was one last eating destination that I wanted to try. It is located in the basement of Tokyo Station near the Yaesu exit. Here you'll find Tokyo Ramen Street. Here you'll find one shop with a line that stretches around the corner....like a bunch of teenyboppers waiting to buy Justin Beiber tickets. This is the very popular Rokurinsha..... Hyped by folks like David Chang, even people I know who wouldn't know Tsukemen from Tsukemono have heard of this place. The line says it all. I will say, it moves pretty quickly...there are signs along the way telling you what the projected wait is from that location.
This is one of the those order from the ramen ticket machine places.
We ordered a Ajitama Tsukemen, the standard issue Tsukemen here. Along with some extra chashu, menma, and another egg. This ended up being enough for the Missus and I to share.
I really liked this....the Missus on the other hand didn't care for the heady niboshi (dried baby sardines) - sababushi (mackeral flakes) flavor, with a topping of bonito powder, calling it too fishy. The broth is thick, perfect for sticking to those thick and chewy noodles....did I say chewy noodles? Let me say, very chewy noodles. This was also a bit too much for the Missus.
It was also a bit much for the quite...ummmm....hefty young lady seated on the table next to us. The Missus kept laughing as the young lady, who had ordered a large bowl of tsukemen, with chashui and extra egg....in other words more than what the Missus and I were having combined, kept complaining about how chewy the noodles are...making her jaw sore, in Mandarin. But that sure didn't stop her from finishing off her bowl and the remainder of her eating companion's as well. In fact, the other young lady looked a bit tense. When the Missus mentioned this to me, I said, "she's afraid that she's going to be dessert!"
The chashu was very nice; it looked too tough, but was tender and well flavored. The egg....well, you can tell how good it was. I loved this, the Missus, not so much. Oh well, that how it goes. I will say that for some reason the broth gets cool quite fast.....it was getting less pleasant to eat at the end.
For me, it was a nice way to end our time in Japan. And makes me want to return soon!
Rokurinsha (Tokyo Station) 1-9-1 Marunochi, Chiyoda, Tokyo
For a number of reasons, I'd always hesitated when travel to Japan was mentioned. Those reservations were misplaced, we both loved Japan. Travel was easy....while finding addresses were not. We noticed that each city we visited had it's own distinct personality and of course wagashi (confection). The food.....oh yes, the food, from Sushi Iwa and Suzunari to Okariba and Mizuno, I don't think we've ever eaten so well!
Our last full day in Osaka was going to be a rather "easy" one....well, easy in relative terms. We woke a bit later than usual, then hung around the apartment a bit. We then headed off South. Walking was quite easy and we eventually came to the first of two gigantic shopping malls; the first, Namba City, basically two huge multifloor complexes, going two floors underground and two stories above ground with over three hundred shops. The second Namba Parks, built on the site of the old Osaka Baseball Stadium has a huge roof garden with waterfalls....and to keep the Missus busy, a ton of cosmetic shops. All of this was fine with me because just a block or so away on one of the side streets is a location of Ippudo Ramen. I'd been wanting the Missus to try classic Hakata style Tonkotsu and this was our chance.
We basically found the place based on the unique sign. It was dead on opening time and we walked right in.
Ordering was dead on easy.....the Shormaru Special; the classic tonkotsu with chashu and egg.
We'd gotten into the habit of ordering one bowl of ramen, with the Missus ordering a rice bowl and extras, and basically sharing.
The Missus got the "Hakata Chikara Meshi" - basically chashu gohan. This was pretty darn good...the pork just tender enough, moist, it was a very nice bowl.
We got an onsen tamago for the Missus to have over the rice.
I gotta say, the ramen was excellent, perhaps the most picture perfect example of Hakata style ramen I've ever had. Rich, but not too rich or oily. The broth temp was nice and hot.....
Nothing super fancy nor over-the-top about the broth. Just a nice tongue coating richness, without sodium overload.
The long and thin Hakata style noodles are a problem for the Missus...She dislikes them. But I believed the main reason was because most places over-cook them, even when you ask for it extra firm. This was spot on perfect. Nice pull, just perfectly chewy.
Check out that egg.......I don't think I need to add any commentary.
Since I'd be sharing my bowl with the Missus, we hedged our bets and added a couple of extra "toppings".
I actually heard the Missus say "aaahh" when She sipped the broth.
This was a super solid, no frou-frou, no fancy marketing BS, no noodles made by "blond haired virgins from a remote island in an unknown archipelago" tonkotsu ramen. It was perfect for the day and the best bowl I had on this trip.
The place started filling up as we exited.....
The Missus, even with Her perspective clouded by the Santouka effect, still was impressed. Something else really got to Her as well; "I don't see some senior guy running the place like other ramen shops....it looks like a bunch of college students. It's kind of amazing that they put out something with such attention to detail. There's no way that happens at chains in the US."
And now with some perspective, She's even more impressed.
After having the hottest October on record, we've kind of settled into milder weather. Which means pho and ramen can be shoe horned back into lunch.
When Pho Paradise first opened, I thought it had some potential, even thinking that we'd finally get some decent Pho on Convoy. Even though my follow-up visit wasn't quite as good, I still believed they might have been the best pho in the area. So now, over six months later, I was wondering how things would be.
I started with the chicken wings, which looked very pale.
This wasn't too bad, the wings were fairly light and crisp, though sogginess set in rather quickly. A bit too much MSG for my taste, with that strange very salty edging on sweet taste and tongue sensation.
The pho was a disappointing.
This reminded me of the stuff Pho T Cali puts out. Barely any flavors other than being very salty with a very mild hint in the background. It was much too low in fat, the noodles, of which there was a healthy amount of, were over cooked, the proteins had no flavor and the tendon was too hard.
Well, at least the basil and bean sprouts were fresh, right?
In case you have doubts. Here's a bowl from Pho Paradise back in February.
Pho Paradise 3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori:
I needed a break from the office one Friday and ran over to Yakyudori for an early lunch before the place got too crowded and the Servers too surly. It had been a while since I'd had lunch here and I went with the Friday combo. Chashu Gohan with a Shoyu Ramen.
The pork and rice came in a medium sized miso soup bowl....lots of rice in this though the chashu was good in comparison to what I'd had recently at Okan during lunch. It was tender, had some flavor, and was lukewarm rather than cold. The corn and bean sprouts added texture....but this was mostly a whole lot of rice.
I hadn't had lunch here in a while so I was surprised at the size of the "mini-ramen"....it was more mini that I recalled.
Not that I needed more carbs, but there were maybe three bites of noodles and I really wanted more soup. Overall, this was a decent bowl, just edging on too salty, but quite satisfying and the noodles were prepped well. I should have just gotten the ramen instead of the lunch special.
Since I did it with Pho Paradise, it's only right I do this here too. Here's what the mini ramen used to look like.
No wonder they give you so much rice now. They need to fill you up somehow.
At least they were a bit nicer here than on my previous visits.
Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori 4898 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
My memory might be foggy, but I think a couple of businesses ago this was the location of Ed from Yuma's favorite Thai Restaurants, Karinya.
Man, this was one nice restaurant....looking very modern gastro-pubbish.......
Nice bar area....and very friendly folks...even though one of them did call it "Tonkatsu style Ramen"....
This young lady eating at the bar was really funny. After trying with chopsticks for a few minutes, she waved the white flag and asked for a fork.
I thought the menu, besides the ramen quite interesting...there were the "classics", rice bowls, chicken karaage....and other items I would never have ever thought of seeing in a ramen joint. Quinoa Salad, anyone? Well, the Missus does like Her quinoa, which She really started enjoying in Peru back in 2007.
Of course I got some ramen. I decided on the Jinya Tonkotsu Black ($10.80).
The bowls were very nice; though I did notice that the actual portion size of the ramen might be a tad smaller than it actually looks. First off, the egg was nicely flavored, but over-cooked, the yolk dry. Speaking of over-cooked, the Hakata style noodles were also not to my liking, being too soft and mushy. The chashu was nice, but could have used more flavor. The broth wasn't hot enough, which led to this really rich pork tonkotsu developing a "skin" rather quickly and also attaining a greasy texture. Too much bitter garlic messed up the flavor as well...don't get me wrong, I love garlic, but this was a bit too much for me.
I could tell the ramen had potential and all the hiccups could be remedied. After all, they had just opened.
Seeing Pig Ear Chicharron ($8.50), I just had to order it.
I really enjoyed this dish. The pig ears were fried crisp and rather light. The harissa added a nice flavor and the fried, crisp kale was nice as well. The onsen tamago threw me at first as it was ice cold. But it was beautifully runny and added a nice creamy-richness to the whole mess.....it was a lovely mess.
I was pleased enough with what I had, that I was actually able to talk the Missus (who was quite dubious of going to PB for ramen) into having an early dinner here.
The main selling point being the Tempura Brussel Sprouts ($5.80). The Missus loves Her Brussel Sprouts. At one point last year, I was making bacon fat sautéed Brussel Sprouts in a balsamic reduction 3-4 times a week!
The Missus likes Her tempura either light and feathery, or full on thick and crunchy. This was the latter. The Missus also loves truffle oil...guess what was drizzled on these? This was quite good, though I couldn't help but think how good a tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce) would go with these as well. No complaints from the Missus.
Her Pork Chashu Bowl ($8.00) was quite large.
That egg was quite good, cooked nicely. The sauce was also decent and the rice cooked well. The pork was on the dry side, but passable. I don't think we'll have this again though.
We won't be having the Caramelized Cauliflower ($5.80) either.
I think of cauliflower as being a wonderful palette for different flavors, but this seemed uninspired....not roasted nearly enough, with too much citrus that just overwhelmed the whole dish.
This time, I got the Tonkotsu Assari ($8.80). When I think of Assari Ramen I think of a light broth. This was still a bit thicker than what I expected, but I'm not complaining.
The broth was nice and porky while perhaps on the higher end of the sodium scale, but not terribly so. The broth coated my tongue nicely and I'd say it was better than what I've had recently at Yamadaya. The thicker (it's all relative) noodles were prepared well, nice and al dente, a touch of chew to them. You can tell that the egg this time around was better as well. The chashu was the same as before. Overall, this was a much better bowl of ramen......
Of course I got the Pig Ears, but the Missus, who loved the egg, kale, and harissa, didn't care for the pig ears, which weren't quite as good as on my previous visit.
Strange. What She really wants is something crisp on the exterior, but still having that crunchy-chewiness in the exterior. She believes that doing this to pig ears defeats the purpose of using it as an ingredient. Of course conversation went to the fantastic pig ears we had in Hiroshima, but that was a totally different prep. Oh well, I'll still be ordering this.
Strangely, Jinya wasn't very crowded on either visit, but it could because they've recently opened and we usually eat fairly early. As with my previous visit, people watching is half the fun. I'm wondering if they had some kind of doll making class nearby...otherwise this photo of the young lady having ramen while her doll "watches" seems kind of weird.
It seems like Jinya is trying to please a variety of different folks...quinoa salad, craft beer, and French fries on one hand....the classic trio of ramen, gyoza, and rice bowls on the other. Who knows, they might just pull this off. I know I'll have to return....especially since I totally forgot to try the karaage!
Jinya Ramen Bar 825 Garnet Ave San Diego, CA 92109
Once again, mmm-yoso!!! is here with another post. Kirk is having more technical difficulties today than he had yesterday; Ed (from Yuma) is enjoying being retired and isn't glued to his computer; Cathy is in front of her computer sharing a meal she enjoyed in the recent past.
A few weeks ago The Mister and I were in Mira Mesa, planning on going to that location of Seafood City and planning to eat before shopping, as we usually do, similar to the food court of the South Bay Seafood City location. But the parking lot was pretty full and we pulled up on the far West end and noticed this storefront. You know we had to stop and check it out. I vaguely recalled posts by cc, Kirbie and Mary from earlier this year...thinking this was a 'dessert only' place. But there are menus on the door and on the wall as you walk to the back to order. The Mister noticed a 'Ramen' page and I noticed 'Appetizers'. We walked in.The eclectic decor is interesting in that there are so many choices of 'eating areas' and levels of comfort. I'm glad I could take these photos, because almost all the tables filled up within about 15 minutes.Duck ramen with tonkatsu broth ($9.99) with the basic toppings (soft boiled egg, seaweed, scallions, sesame seeds and bean sprouts). This was very good in flavor and size (enough to share). The broth was rich, porky and not very salty. The noodles had a 'bite' and were not mushy. The duck leg was standard. The vegetarian pot stickers ($3.99) were also standard. Fresh fried and crispy with a good amount of filling. Quite large for pot stickers.
The Kani-Cheese Croquette ($2.99) is basically potatoes mashed with cream cheese, formed into a patty and rolled in bread crumbs then deep fried. Topping is kewpie and teriyaki. Again, freshly made but pretty standard. Nice sides to munch on while waiting for my turn with the ramen bowl.
Looking at the menu, I remembered the desserts I had seen online.Shubuya honey toast...presented with a theme. We decided on "London".Based on the photos from other bloggers and the menu, there was a small disaster during the assembly, but all the ingredients are there. The (very) large piece of honey toast was hollowed out and cubed, the cubes toasted and most placed back inside the outer large cube of (also) toasted bread. Ice cream, bananas, caramel sauce, toffee and a side of custard sauce. A really nice, and fun dessert.
T-Pop Desserts and More 8945 Mira Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92126 (858) 566-6494 Website open Sun-Th 11-10, Fir-Sat 11-11
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 young guys working here are very nice; friendly, pretty well versed in the product, and kept our waters filled....I know; it's a soft opening....but isn't that the purpose of doing that?
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.
I noticed the sign of this place back in June. They turned the renovation around pretty quickly and opened a couple of weeks ago. I decided to check them out since they're located relatively close to both home and work. One thing I quickly noticed was the removal of the "Yakitori" in the signage....I'm guessing getting that robata thing straight might have been a bit too much.
My server on both visits was a very gracious, friendly young man, from, if I recall Latvia. He was just perfect, great timing, and for some reason, reminded me of the kind of service we received in France.
It was way too hot for ramen on my first visit, so I ordered a couple of items from the menu.
I started with the Tsukune, because I was curious as to why the "yakitori" part on the sign was removed.
This was on the tough and rubbery side. The flavor was quite mild. The tare was different, sweet with some mild spice, more like teriyaki in texture than a traditional tare.
Like that wood wall; it seems like all "New Japanese" have some kind of Pork Belly Bun on the menu.
In terms of flavor the pork was decent, on the waxy side and cold, but ok. I think heating this up a bit more, getting some caramelization on the pork would make this better. The bun was cold and dry and this seemed a bit slapped together.
I also ordered the Katsudon; you know the iconic katsu (in this case chicken katsu), egg, tsuyu, onion, scallion, and rice bowl. What I got made me laugh.......it was literally "Katsu - Don".
No egg, no tsuyu, no onions/scallions........just overcooked chicken katsu; hard and dry....and overcooked rice....hard and dry. For some reason I just found this quite funny. Like someone figured out what "katsu" and "don" meant in Google Translate and took it literally.
Overall an interesting meal. I really liked the service, it was so very open, seemed really interested in my opinions, after a while, you can usually tell if someone is sincere when they ask for your opinion of the dishes. I did find out that the owner of Kanpai also owns Fish Attack.
With that in mind, I decided to return for lunch. On the menu there was a "special combination" menu which is ramen along with a rice bowl.
So I went with Tonkotsu Ramen with Karaage Don.
Beyond the standard Sriracha-mayo, this was good. The chicken was perfectly fried, light, crisp, not too salty, with a slight savory backbone. The rice was perfect this time around. I'd easily have this again.
I'd consider this, with consideration as a work in progress, as lower second tier ramen. The egg was fine; in fact much better than what I'd recently had at RakiRaki. The Chashu was decent. The noodles were typical wholesale ramen noodles and were overcooked. The broth was an uneven mixture of tonkotsu base with shoyu. It was much too thin, definitely lacking in richness, though the temperature was good.
I really liked the service, the folks here seem eager to please. I'll check back in a couple of months to see how the menu, and hopefully the food has evolved.
Izakaya Kanpai 5430 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117