Ugh, been feeling under the weather the last few days only to be getting gradually worse.. I tried to drive to SD Mitsuwa's Gourmet Fair for lunch but I found myself making a beeline instead to Ramen Yakyudori thinking I wasn't going to be able to handle a crowd today despite wanting to check out the fair opening day. And a hot bowl of ramen did sound like it would be good for me.. :)
Well, fourth time was the charm this month where RY was finally serving their Tonkotsu Ramen as advertised in the papers. Served only during lunch and limited to 30 bowls.
I had a bit deflating Tonkotsu experience at Izakaya Masa recently (though far from bad) and the folks at Sakura as good hearted as they are seem to still be experimenting with theirs.
So anyway I thought Ramen Yakyudori did not disappoint again. :)
While slightly on the lighter and delicate side as usual (characteristic of the place) it was full of creamy scratch made fresh pork bone soup flavor. The topped kikurage wood ear mushrooms were great and I noticed near the end the garlic chips and roasted sesame seeds as I finished the soup to the last spoonful. No egg but the two slices of chashu pork was nice if not a bit on the smaller side compared to during my first few early visits.
One rather big disappointment though was that the noodles were way overcooked and too soft. So you might want to ask for it cooked firmer if this is a trend. To give credit they were using a different white, thinner, and straight style typically associated with Hakata Tonkotsu that I know of. If they ironed things out I personally thought the bowl would easily help me forget my so-so bowl at the hyped Shinsengumi in Gardena some years ago.
Still, RY's light Japanese Gyozas are a bit left to be the object of guilty desire as the Shinsengumi's wonderful garlicky bite sized would trump these easily by a long shot (and most SD Japanese Gyoza's IMHO).
And while perhaps not quite to the level of Santouka's sophisticated flavors I believe created by additional umami from shellfish, personally having once OD'd on Santouka I find Yakyudori's version refreshing and a great addition to San Diego's options. Yay to that.
The Spicy Kara Miso ($7.50) I ordered earlier in the month (reluctantly because the Tonkotsu wasn't available as advertised). Some people will most definitely like this.
The Nira garlic chives and the Soboro ground pork were really nice. But the overall experience just wasn't my thing when I personally crave for a bowl or ramen. Strictly personal but I crave the chashu, menma and egg (which you can all add onto for extra). I felt the Miso flavor was a bit watered down to give way to the spiciness and I much rather preferred my first straight up hearty Miso bowl (with also a slab of butter, haha). Though I probably wouldn't be ordering the Kara Miso too often I felt again this was a nice addition to the menu.
The Chahan fried rice (half order, $3) here does not seem to be wok'd (at least before serving) and is also advertised as being healthy(er) without the use of oil.
But I found the roast pork Chashu rendered enough fat to make it into a very decent tasting rice side if not missing that wok hay. Can't vouch for the 'healthy' aspect of the dish but it did taste pretty good, for me with a nice dash of pepper. ;)
The Nagoya Ramen (researched, I found out sometimes AKA - Taiwan Ramen) is a very spicy ramen popular in the Nagoya prefecture.
All from what I gathered because I am not very familiar with, but my first experience I can safely say was fairly spicy. In fact I remember during earlier days a Japanese lady returning the bowl back to the kitchen because she couldn't handle it, haha (but seriously you did order a spicy bowl now...). Anyhow I don't think it's that spicy but it is definitely spicier than the Kara Miso. The soup is based on the shio salt flavored soup. The menma bamboo shoots were also a spicy pickled version.
Had the flavored soft boiled egg as a side. This $1.50 price is for a whole egg (two halves) Fyi.
Full order of gyoza (6 pieces) $4. The half order of rice is free during lunch. Which you can do this to after the end of your ramen meal.. :)
As with the Kara Miso, strictly a personal preference thing, I probably won't be craving a Nagoya Ramen again soon either but it was still fun to try.
Another early visit in the month when inquiring about the Tonkotsu (that still wasn't ready) I went for one of my tried and true favorites, the Shio salt flavored. This time with extra pork chashu.
I remember the noodles could've been firmer this day but the simple clear Shio here is something that will be hard for me to grow tired of. They were training someone on gyoza duty and I unfortunately received one of the trainee's not so perfect creations.
Oh well, but the Shio Ramen was good as usual. Simple and satisfying.
The Shoyu Ramen is probably my favorite here at RY.
As my friend (which I brought with this day) described as "a very good truck stop style ramen.." which may sound odd but is a compliment.. ;) Had mine with extra menma sweet marinated bamboo shoots. Yum.
Sorry for ending rather abruptly. I probably should be getting some sleep soon...
Past visits on RY in reverse chronological order, here, here, here and here.
Ramen Yakyudori, 4898 Convoy St., Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92111