[Update: I've since posted a more thorough First Month post. Check it out!]
Who knew there'd be not one but two ramen joints opening in San
Diego this year. 2012 has been good and we still have couple months left
to spare so what are the chances that there will be a third? Don't
know but while I've yet
to do a more thorough post on Yamadaya SD (Update: Have since posted here) I've managed to drop by RakiRaki Ramen And Tsukemen this evening and wanted to share. This is a Quick Visit post, meaning - Single meal.., First impression.., Not a review.., Your experience may vary.., etc...
Also need to mention on top that they are in soft opening at the moment.
Currently only operating during dinner hours from 6PM but hear will be
serving lunch eventually (sweet..) after their actual grand opening end
So I noticed RakiRaki mentioned in the Japanese free publication Lighthouse SD in their '18 ramen in San Diego to try..'
article and even received an email about the place (thanks Faye!). I was
there earlier the day and had a chance to check out the temporary menu and shop info
taped on their window. Supposedly owned by a Nagoya based food service
group (and water ionization equipment producer) called Jyosui with a
slew of restaurants under their belt. One of which is Riki Maru (力丸) where I noticed the large chochin paper lantern with its name but according is not related, at least directly.
The interior is done up really nice. Very modern and chic cafe like. The menu for the time being is fairly simple. A chicken based Shio Ramen in different richness and a tsukemen
(also chicken based) available in different spice levels. A choice of
pork or chicken Chashu, and several other ramen toppings, most your usual suspects
except the oxtail. Karaage and fried rice. A couple rice bowls.
enough background, onto the ramen. I debated to try the tsukemen but
went for the "Premium" (..ramen, $7.75) which is described to be richer than the
Pretty darn good. If the soup were any more cloudy it would maybe be in a light Tori Paitan
category but this definitely remains a classic torigara shio. I really
appreciated the subtle dried fish flavor (which my guess is bonito but could be niboshi or both). Noticeable enough for me to appreciate but I think subtle enough that
it wouldn't be a turnoff for some sensitive to the marine flavor. The
noodles are thinner-side medium straight, pale yellow in color and has
decent resiliency. Halfway through I did have thoughts if it were ever
so slightly salty but my final conclusion was that the namesake sodium flavoring
was very rounded (unlike if msg) and a pleasant experience that I wouldn't
change much. If anything I wouldn't mind a stronger wa-fu dashi dried fish flavor
but that's how I am. As for richness, for me it was hovering only just above just right and not quite a Shio I would consider truly rich (like maybe the gyokai shio I had at Ramen Setagaya). Any case it easily hit the spot.
chicken chashu was very tasty too, a tender thigh portion, well
attended in trimming of fat and connective suji. Well flavored with light shoyu and sake/mirin notes. The menma bamboo shoots were also larger with a nice lightly marinated fresher crunch. Only
bummer was the egg (not shown) which was hard boiled but some ramen
shops just roll the way.
As I've been having a gradual year-long falling out
with our Ramen Yakyudori (strictly for the ramen and will explain in a future rambling post) I've
been wondering where I'd be getting my lighter assari-kei ramen fix in
SD and RakiRaki couldn't have come in a better timing. I'll save the
actual praising after I try the tsukemen though, but I am hoping that they'd be the first San Diego ramen shop that I can recommend to my out of town friends without a long laundry list of cautionary do's and don't's. :P
I didn't mean to give a five-dollar tip today but was asking if I could
have change for a five so that I can tip. But things like this can
happen during soft openings. Nervous new servers, heck new everything. Wouldn't have bothered mentioning here except that I didn't want the management to think I was a dork
hitting on the waitress!!? Haha. Anyway looking forward to be back. Plan to ask what the name is all about then.
RakiRaki Ramen And Tsukemen, 4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111