Ramen Marathon Pt. 10: Nozaru Ramen Bar

Nozaru

Address: 3371 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Date Visited: 
6/26/2017
# of Marathoners:
11 (Jayzee, Jenn, Jenne, Jessica, John, Laura, Melissa, Michael, Miko, Sarah H, Trinh)

SCORES
Scale:
1: I hated it  ♦ 2: I did not like it ♦ 3: I am neutral ♦ 4: I liked it ♦ 5: I loved it

  • Overall: 3.74
  • Noodle: 3.46
  • Broth: 3.13
  • Meat: 3.18
  • Egg: 4.27
  • Other Toppings: 3.82

IMG_6147

Jayzee

  • Order: Tokyo Chicken
  • Overall Score: 2
  • Noodle: Flour noodles. Overcooked. Chewy. 1
  • Broth: Salty and greasy. 1
  • Meat: Overcooked, not seasoned. Meaty. 2
  • Egg: Delicate. Cooked well. Consistency is not consistent though. 4
  • Other Toppings: Asparagus — surprisingly good. Chopped onion amazing. Bamboo terrible. Lemon slice … why? 5
  • Price:
  • Service: Good.
  • Ambience: Beautiful place. Cool tiny spot.
  • Other Food: It was ok.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Not composed well.

Jenn

  • Order: Adams Belly, shared with Michael
  • Overall Score: 4
  • Noodle: Cooked well, good texture. 4
  • Broth: N/A.
  • Meat: Chopped up, not in slices. Couldn’t taste. 3
  • Egg: Soft-boiled egg mixed in to make sauce. Excellently cooked soft-boiled egg. 4
  • Other Toppings: 4
  • Price: Standard.
  • Service: Very friendly. Ramen took longer than expected to come out.
  • Ambience: Hipster, succulent planters on the wall. Open patio area is nice for ventilation except when smokers are outside 😦
  • Other Food: Kara-age — white meat. Ninja roll — crust not quite crunchy enough. Ninja roll — good, not oversauced, spicy tuna not too spicy.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Soupless ramen was a surprisingly good choice. Like “Asian” carbonara. Very enjoyable experience. Would not order the karaage again.

Jenne

  • Order: Angry Ape
  • Overall Score: 5
  • Noodle: Too soft, but otherwise good. Could order firmer. 3
  • Broth: Best so far! FU tonkotsu! 5
  • Meat: Not the usual chasu but I like it. 4
  • Egg: All an egg should be. Softest white yet. 5
  • Other Toppings: Corn! Boy choy just ok. Nice small onion. Red things meh. 4
  • Price: Not bad!
  • Service: Only one waitress for the whole place! But she’s nice.
  • Ambience: Pleasant, good music.
  • Other Food: Chicken sauce is yummy but the chicken isn’t crispy. Nice + moist though. Sushi roll is tasty!
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? OMG yes!! Best so far!

Jessica

  • Order: Tonkotsu Heights
  • Overall Score: 2.5
  • Noodle: Good texture, chewy, not overcooked. 4
  • Broth: Tonkotsu + sea salt really thick consistency, unpleasant and unnatural. Killed the dish. 1.5
  • Meat: Pork chashu crispy, good bite/texture. 2nd overcooked. 2
  • Egg: Great yolk texture, white soft & breaks well. 5
  • Other Toppings: 3
  • Price: A little above standard, but not much.
  • Service: Attentive, good at refills, friendly.
  • Ambience: Hipster, planters with succulents. Relaxing. Open air. Good.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? The downfall of the dish was the broth. Disturbingly thick texture, and a bit too salty. While the noodle texture and egg were good, they were not enough to redeem the dish. Would not order again. I might come back to see if other dishes are better. It has potential, but I would DEFINITELY not order the same dish again.

John

  • Order: Tonkotsu Heights
  • Overall Score: 4.6
  • Noodle: Good enough, but not special. 4
  • Broth: Extra oily, and rich at the same time. 4.5
  • Meat: Best pork chasyu! Pre-grilled for texture? 5
  • Egg: Cooked perfectly with the gooey center. You get 2 halves instead of one. 5
  • Other Toppings: Black mushrooms are a nice touch. 4.5
  • Price: Normal prices. Happy hour before 6pm would’ve saved $2.
  • Service: Kristi was nice.
  • Ambience: Clean, hipster, industrial.
  • Other Food: Karaage chicken was delish! But needed more crunch. $3.50 during HH.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Only if I was in the area.

Laura

  • Order: Tokyo Chicken with Pork Chashu + Extra Egg, shared with Miko
  • Overall Score: 3.5
  • Noodle: Noodles are a little soft but I like it in a weird way because it reminds me of instant ramen noodles. I don’t know why I am rewarding this. 3
  • Broth: Solid broth. My favorite part of this. I dunno if it tastes instant – > refer to Michael + Miko. 4
  • Meat: Like a pork chop. It reminds me of a piece of fried Spam, crispy on the outside but meaty and thick on the inside. 2
  • Egg: Seasoning is pretty good but the egg yolk is just a little mealy. Second egg was better! 4
  • Other Toppings: Shredded pepper is pretty. 3
  • Price: Not that great value because if I’m paying over $10 for any dinner, it should be a home run.
  • Service: Nice and cheery, however has a hard time pronouncing the correct names of food. “Tonkotsu” became “tonkatsu,” which is not horrible but then she served us the “karaji” and I had to write about it. But she topped my cup 2x w/ water 🙂
  • Ambience: Very hipster but I do like the outdoorness and openness because it’s hot! Jamiroquai, oldies.
  • Other Food: Karaage was like juicy fried chicken bits with buffalo spice. What I would imagine buffalo wild wings could be.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? It was ok. Yes, but only if people wanted to meet up, I guess.

Melissa

  • Order: Adams Belly + Baby Bok Choi
  • Overall Score: 4.5
  • Noodle: Super soft and creamy w/ the egg mixture — I love it! 5
  • Broth: N/A
  • Meat: Bacon — really good, but not too overwhelming. Pork — hard to get a taste of the flavor b/c it was very small cut. 3
  • Egg: I love that the egg mixes w/ the noodles to create this creamy sauce. 4
  • Other Toppings: Bok choy — needs a little more seasoning. Tougarashi — same as everywhere else. Green onions — perfect addition. 5
  • Price: Pretty standard.
  • Service: She sold me on the brothless ramen! And it was very good!
  • Ambience: I like the hipster vibe and that it’s within walking distance of home! I also enjoy their oldies music and laidback vibe.
  • Other Food: Karaage — super tasty and crispy. Sauce is very creamy and delicious.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Super close to home and I like that you can just get noodles if you don’t feel like broth.

Michael

  • Order: Adams Belly, shared with Jenn
  • Overall Score: 4
  • Noodle: Pasta carbonara-like. Thick noodles. 3
  • Broth: N/A
  • Meat: 4
  • Egg: We had a poached egg with runny yolk for mixing with the ramen. Was pretty good. 3
  • Other Toppings: 4
  • Service: Fast + friendly. Ramen is slow.
  • Ambience: Open. Hip … but not hipster? Hoo-white. Very comfortable. Cheery music. Motown. Oldies.
  • Other Food: Kara-age: was just okay. A little salty. Not rubbery like BeShock at least. Ninja roll: pretty good. Seaweed wasn’t great.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Good vibe. Good food. Good flavor overall. Good texture as well.

Miko

  • Order: Tokyo Chicken with Pork Chashu + Extra Egg, shared with Laura
  • Overall Score: They need to be firmer, but the noodles themselves are my favorite type. 4
  • Noodle: 4
  • Broth: Not enough salt or flavor, but I always appreciate a decent shoyu. (I tried the tonkotsu, and it was actively bad. They must use an artificial thickener.) 3
  • Meat: It’s like an overcooked pork chop. Chewy. My least favorite meat yet. 1
  • Egg: Jelly-like, good flavor. Marinated in sake, but not too much. Nicely salty. I ordered an extra. 5
  • Other Toppings: Fancy tougarashi shaved pepper. I could’ve done without the asparagus — not that it was offensive, but it didn’t seem to add anything. I surprisingly liked the lemon slice; it went well with the chicken base. 3.5
  • Service: Ramen took a while to get to us, but to be fair, we were a gigantic group in a teeny restaurant. The server actually said that we were the biggest group she’d had since they opened. Server was very friendly, but not overly so. I do snobbishly believe that servers at ramen restaurants should know how to pronounce the dishes though … I don’t ask for an accurate Japanese accent (because that would be obnoxious) but “tonkotsu” and “tonkatsu” or two totally different foods. 
  • Ambience: Relaxing. Hipstery, but it’s nice & cozy. Not trying to be Asian at all except for the fake food glass display at the front! (Yay!) The music is a nice mix of oldies and modern retro; it feels like it’s carefully curated to be a happy playlist.
  • Other Food: Kara-age tastes good, but it’s not crispy. Made with white meat. Sushi is decent, and I would get it again, but the nori in it isn’t great quality — its flavor is distracting.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Strangely fancy. Very American. But I liked it better than most of the other places we’ve visited. So yes, since the ramen is pretty good and it’s within walking distance of my house.
IMG_6154
I do like the fake food display in the front!

Sarah H

  • Order: Tonkotsu Heights with Pork Chashu + Baby Bok Choi
  • Overall Score: 3.5
  • Noodle: Thickish, good texture. 4
  • Broth: Not a lot included.  3
  • Meat: Grilled! Not fatty and bland. 5
  • Egg: Typical but good. 4
  • Other Toppings: Bok choi — extra $, wanted more. Bamboo shoots tasted canned, mushrooms should have been shredded. 2
  • Price: Bok choi not worth it. A little overpriced.
  • Service: Friendly and accommodating.
  • Ambience: Open front, pretty nice.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Not crowded, in a good part of town.

Trinh

  • Order: Tonkotsu Heights with Pork Chasu and Sea Salt Flavoring + Corn
  • Overall Score: 3.5
  • Noodle: Flour. 3
  • Broth: Pork bone soup w/ chicken oil w/ sea salt. A bit salty. 3
  • Meat: 4
  • Egg: Comes with 2 halves of an egg. 4
  • Other Toppings: 4
  • Service: Friendly, attentive.
  • Ambience: Small but airy. I like the open front.
  • Other Food: Karaage is really good.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? No. The food is a bit pricey and it’s not that great.
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