Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kohryu Ramen, Costa Mesa - Quick Revisit

During another of my weekday OC errands thought I'd try Ikko but without luck. Their kitchen was torn out and restaurant under renovation. どんだけ〜。。。

No time to waste Plan-B was a semi-reluctant Kohryu Ramen being just a block or so away on the same street. Most of my Kohryu visits were pre-blogging days and before the new management. With the new owners you hear some say that they've improved, while others a disapproval that they've not been the same. Sounds to me like an inconsistency issue but one of my visits that I did manage to document was in 2010, a maamaa~ (まあまあ) average depending-who-you-ask miso ramen that had the typical mild miso flavor you find all over So. Cal.

Good news is the prices on the menu didn't seem to have changed in two years. Choices run a full gamut from Garlicky to Spicy, a Veggie, Wonton, Chanpon, your basic Shoyu, Shio and Miso, a loaded house ramen, and even a couple idiosyncratic offerings like the Shacho (boss) ramen.  I'd avoid the tsukemen here but the non-ramen dishes like the Mabo-don and Katsu-don may be up my Asian Dude Food alley (that sounds kinda funny, haha) though I've yet to try.

I went for the Koi Ramen ($8), koi - another word for rich.
It was pretty ok. I can't praise it but it did manage to hit the spot somewhat the day. The soup tasted your typical pork/chicken/veggie base but was cloudy in a seeming intentional way, however the flavors very fuzzy with no focal point. Kohryu has a thing with fried onions which if as a distraction tactic I have to admit seems to work, though it's not prepared particularly with care, often bitter rather than being sweet and smoky. I also often find the yolk in the egg a bit off tasting but I think it has something to do with their recipe for the marinade flavoring since my experiences are almost too consistent.

There's a pork chashu in there that is the more leaner and meaty old school style. The menma bamboo shoot is fair. The biggest surprise the day was the thicker-side chijire crinkled noodles which seemed a flatter hirauchi and rather rare. Actually reminded me of some used in Okinawa Soba but this was much chewier in style for a ramen.

The 4-pc Japanese gyoza you can tack on as a combo for an extra two-bucks. The small han-chahan fried rice I had to pay an extra $3.

The filling of the gyoza is more chive based which I happen to enjoy though it could be juicier and skosh meatier. The skins used also seem more resilient than most which is nice in that they don't fall apart like many. The fried rice as with the ramen was blurry in flavors and taste. Decently fluffy though.

The place can get pretty busy so my visit during the later off peak hour was a good thing. Otherwise I may have contemplated dropping by the door over to try out a Teishoku set. While this post may make me seem indifferent to Kohryu, truth be told I'm actually a little jealous of Costa Mesa for having them. They do Japanese junk food decently that's priced right and in an unpretentious casual setting that reminds me of spots I'd visit in High School as a teen. And In my full non-foodie admittal, on most days that's still usually what I'm in the mood for for lunch, haha. ;)

Kohryu Ramen, 891 Baker St (Ste B-21), Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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