Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hinotez Breakfast Updates - Getting Your Asa-raa Ramen Fix And More

I've posted a few times on Hinotez' Japanese breakfast, first when they had started and another update sometime after. All other subsequent asagohan meals there were either mentioned randomly in a ramble post if not at all since there weren't much new to cover.

When I had tried their ramen during the first month of opening I thought it was in need of a little massaging but overall decently serviceable (at least for San Diego standards, and at least if they kept with consistency...). But what I always thought would be neat was if they extended the service to breakfast hours. While the culture of Asa-raa or "morning ramen" have been only distinct in a couple limited cities in Japan, the trend has been gaining popularity in Tokyo for a few years now. I had been bugging one of the waitresses and another person with ties to the owner of Hinotez about this without much success... until just a couple months ago. :)

We'll have to see how this pans out in the long run but I personally feel it's a clever use of minimal investment to make the restaurant more unique in the area. So now aside from Vietnamese Pho or Mi, I have another option for soup noodles in the morning, and that's a good thing.
So one morning I got the Shoyu Ramen with extra negi. Not bad for $6.50 and the extra green onions were only $0.50 more. The lighter assari style of the bowl fits nicely for the time of day while the Shio would be another good alternative maybe. If someone were inclined to go more hearty, the full ramen menu is offered (miso, tonkotsu, etc.). Hinotez' full updated breakfast menu here.

Other new items I've tried was their Saba no Shioyaki. Relatively the more pricier single item at $3.50 but was a nice portion. The only bummer is as with the Salmon which I've had a few times in the past you can tell it is reheated on a pan. These simple salt seasoned fish taste astronomically better when actually grilled, and it wouldn't be that hard to do with those inexpensive stovetop ceramic mesh grillers.

I found the Tamago-yaki very attractive for only a buck. Lightly sweet and I could taste a good amount of dashi used. While I do feel I'm pushing my luck some, if they'd now only fry an egg for me I'd be grinning an even happier smile (I've asked multiple times without luck). Because drizzling some soy sauce over a sunny-side egg on rice is probably one of my favorite things to do. All my Japanese friends agree. C'mon Hinotez, make us feel loved! ;)

Aside from them I had second tries of the mini soba as well as the ginger pork side, Japanese curry. More my usual though is natto. Fyi, there are parts of Japan where natto is not commonly eaten. Its dislike by most people of Kansai region are fairly known. I've personally learned to love the stuff a long while back after hanging with one of my sister's ex-BF's who's family was from Tokyo.

I had a conversation with friend recently regarding Tororo grated mountain yam, how it's probably not a very typical thing had for breakfast in Japan. But we often find ourselves ordering it because we like it so much. Similar with the Onsen Tamago which is not convenient to make in a home setting, especially during busy mornings. I've had them more for breakfast at rare stays in Japanese hotels or ryokan maybe. Which then makes it even more neat to know that if you happen to live in San Diego, your fix is only a quick ways drive to Hinotez. :)

Hinotez Japanese Restaurant, 7947 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111


Jinxi said...

Nice variety of breakfasts! I've yet to check out this place since it's hard to get anywhere by 11AM for me on weekend mornings :P On a side note I LOVE natto, although I quickly learned not to bring it to lunch at work! haha.

imjustatree said...

That first shot of the ramen is amazing! I'm going to be down in SD in the fall and will definitely have to check this place out for breakfast.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Jinxi, I absolutely love natto too! People often speak of its smell but to me it always just reminded of wet coffee beans.(?) I think the slimy texture is what most find more difficult.
Anyway as for breakfast, most is nothing I can't make at home, but so are bacon and eggs. I should confirm about the weekends but I'm pretty sure they're open the morning.

Hey Sawyer! Hope you're doing well! The ramen is ok passable, but for now it's the only place you can have it for breakfast. ;) Hope you give us a shout again when you're down here!