Ramen Marathon Pt. 9: Menya Ultra

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Address: 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd Ste M, San Diego, CA 92111
Date Visited: 
6/23/2017
# of Marathoners:
13 (Alli, Annalise, Jayzee, Jenne, Laura, Matt, Melissa, Miko, Reiko, Santiago, Sarah H, Sarah P, Tom)

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: 4.5
  • Noodle: 4.35
  • Broth: 4.54
  • Meat: 4.75
  • Egg: 4.75
  • Other Toppings: 4.09
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Tonkotsu ajitama + butter.

Alli

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama + Butter
  • Overall Score: 5
  • Noodle: Great. Good thickness and cooked perfectly. 5
  • Broth: Nice and light. Butter was a good call. Just a good solid standard ramen. 5
  • Meat: Nice tenderness and flavor. Medium thickness w/ good edge of fat. 4
  • Egg: Wonderful. Perfectly cooked w/ good flavor. Also, some of the butter got on it, which is great. 5
  • Other Toppings: 3
  • Service: Good, quick, don’t chit chat much.
  • Ambience: Love the long handled spoon. Small and cozy at counter — felt like a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a good specialty.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Good food and atmosphere. Best of the standard ramens I’ve had yet.

Annalise

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama
  • Overall Score: 4.5
  • Noodle: Good, but not as firm as I’d like. 4
  • Broth: Excellent. Creamy + full of pork flavor. 5
  • Meat: Really really good. Wish it came with one more slice. 4.5
  • Egg: This is the best egg I’ve ever had in my life. 5
  • Other Toppings: Mushrooms aren’t “extra” but not listed. They’re so good. 5
  • Service: Pretty good considering big group + restaurant not equipped for it.
  • Ambience: Okay.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes, but only when the hype dies down … I can get tasty ramen quicker elsewhere … I really enjoyed it, but that may have been influenced by how much I liked the egg.

Darren

  • Order: Tonkotsu
  • Overall Score: 4.8
  • Noodle: I like mine a little firmer, but not too soft or anything. 4
  • Broth: Fantastic! 5
  • Meat: Soft but a little bland. 4
  • Egg: N/A
  • Other Toppings: N/A
  • Price: Worth it and appropriate for what you receive.
  • Service: Good.
  • Ambience: Good for a ramen shop.
  • Other Food: Karaage — good.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Best ramen I’ve had in SD.

Jayzee

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama
  • Overall Score: 3.5
  • Noodle: Flour. Slightly chewy. Al dente. Doesn’t carry flavor well. 2.5
  • Broth: Delicate. Nuanced. Not salty. Complex. Thin. But overall, bland. 3.5
  • Meat: Best meat. Delicate. Perfectly salted. Thin but still crazy. 5
  • Egg: Best egg. Perfectly cooked. Gelatinous. Perfectly salted. 5
  • Other Toppings: Nothing special. Understated. 3
  • Service: Fair.
  • Ambience: Cool spot. Nice location and restaurant layout.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Wouldn’t make a stop if it’s out of the way.

Jenne

  • Order: Miso + Butter + Egg
  • Overall Score: 2.5
  • Noodle: Way too soft. Blah. 2
  • Broth: Very little miso flavor. 3
  • Meat: N/A. (But I had a bite of Jayzee’s and it was awesome.)
  • Egg: Just right. 5
  • Other Toppings: The sauteed cabbage took me back to Machida ♡. 5
  • Price: Why is the miso so much more?
  • Service: They were very accommodating of our enormous group. Also, cute boys.
  • Ambience: Feels convivial and Japanesey without going overboard. Having to wait outside with cigar smoke sucks. 😦 😦
  • Other Food: Chicken is nice + crispy but a little bland. Miserly lemons and no mayo 😦
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? No. Bad noodles ruin all. There are better options.
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Karaage — a bit bland.

Laura

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama
  • Overall Score: 2
  • Noodle: Ok noodles. I like the firmness but they aren’t twisty like other ramen noodles. A bit like spaghetti. This now is reminding me of a creamy spaghetti from Bistro Kaz. I prefer Bistro Kaz’s preparation. 3.5
  • Broth: Creamy, rich broth. Very creamy. I like it but as I eat more and more, it’s a little monotonous. Broth of paiko tantan men (pork) was tasty. 3.5
  • Meat: Meat was very soft. I actually don’t think it had too much of a presence. (I think I was talking while I ate it and didn’t register the taste too much. Whoops!) 3
  • Egg: Egg was really nicely cooked, and had a lot of seasoning. My personal preference is for it not to be as sweet as it is. 2 halves! 4
  • Other Toppings: 3
  • Price: Good value if you like the ramen, which I don’t.
  • Service: Good service, accommodated a big group.
  • Ambience: Decent decor. It resembles a ramen place in Japan in the layout of the kitchen connected to the bar area for single ramen eaters. Tables have wooden decor but not as nice and homey as Yamadaya.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Not equal to the sum of its parts.

Matt

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama + Extra Noodles + Extra Chashu
  • Overall Score: 5
  • Noodle: Got extra noodles! So good! 5
  • Broth: Best broth hands down! Didn’t need to be spicy. 5
  • Meat: Got extra meat and well worth it. 5
  • Egg: 3
  • Other Toppings: 4
  • Service: The small place accommodated our large party of 15. So job well done.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? 5!☆☆☆☆☆ Yes. AMAZING!!

Melissa

  • Order: Paiko Tantan with Chicken
  • Overall Score: 5
  • Noodle: I love that it is a flour noodle. Perfect texture. 5
  • Broth: Not too spicy, which is a good thing. 4
  • Meat: I loved that the chicken was fried, but did not get too soggy. 5
  • Egg: N/A
  • Other Toppings: Green onions — really delicious and adds to the broth. I loved that there was no seaweed. 5
  • Price: A little pricey considering you get no egg.
  • Service: The wait was too long to be seated, but once we were inside, it was very efficient. They forgot to split our check after we had asked.
  • Ambience: Very casual. Reminds me of a place in New York w/ the counter.
  • Other Food: Ramune soda pop — delicious taste of bubble gum! Karaage — nice + crispy, but I would have enjoyed some sauce.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. The fried chicken in the ramen is great.

Miko

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama + Butter
  • Overall Score: 3
  • Noodle: Noodles should be MUCH firmer. They’re good noodles, but they’re so soft, they remind me of the noodles in Campbell’s chicken noodle soup! 2.5
  • Broth: It has good flavor, but this kind of super-fatty broth is just not my style. I don’t want to drink it down. 3
  • Meat: Good chashu. There’s a ring of fat around the edge. It’s soft, not tough. 4
  • Egg: Slightly overcooked and maybe SLIGHTLY overmarinated. A little too much sake. Good, but not great. 3.5
  • Other Toppings: Butter! I also do like bean sprouts but mushrooms are eh. 3.5
  • Service: No substitutions 😦 Wanted to get miso but with the egg and chasu, but they said no. The male servers are strikingly handsome.
  • Ambience: The vibe is legit. I like small ramen spots like this.
  • Other Food: The actual chicken meat used for the karaage doesn’t taste great.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Good flavor, and I guess I could ask them to cook the noodles extra firm, but I’m not about this tonkotsu. So no. It’s crowded and I like other places more.

Reiko

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama
  • Overall Score: 4
  • Noodle: Fair. 3
  • Broth: Too creamy. 2.5
  • Meat: Great. Nice, soft & has flavor. 5
  • Egg: Tastes great & soft. 5
  • Other Toppings: N/A
  • Price: Worth the price!
  • Service: Good.
  • Ambience: Fair.
  • Other Food: Karaage was good.

Santiago

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama
  • Overall Score: 5
  • Noodle: Not too hard. Not too soft, even after soaking in broth for 20 min. 5
  • Broth: Very flavorful. I could taste the pork in the broth. 5
  • Meat: Good. Tender. Pork. 4
  • Egg: Not a huge egg fan, but I didn’t dislike it. 3
  • Other Toppings: No bamboo shoots?! Giving a 2 because no bamboo shoots. 2
  • Price: Worth it.
  • Service: Service was good. Attentive. But not too much.
  • Ambience: Not sure about the wallpaper. No Sapporo happy guy ads 😦
  • Other Food: Gyoza: crispy, light, good. I’ve had others with more flavor, but it was still good.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Loved it! Really good.

Sarah H

  • Order: Tonkotsu Ajitama
  • Overall Score: 5
  • Noodle: Good texture. 5
  • Broth: Creamy and perfectly fatty. 5
  • Meat: Only 1 slice, but very good. 4.5
  • Egg: 2 egg halves! A little overcooked but nicely seasoned. 4.5
  • Other Toppings: Could have more selection but what they had was good. 4.5
  • Ambience: Calming.
  • Other Food: Karaage -> fairly good, no sauce 😦 Gyoza – > very good, crisp.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? SO GOOD!!! Yes. So delicious.

Sarah P

  • Order: Paiko Tantan with Chicken + Egg
  • Overall Score: 4.4
  • Noodle: Thick + not too chewy. 5
  • Broth: I don’t know what this flavor is (I would swear it’s cheesy …) but I like it. Intriguing. 4.5
  • Meat: Yummy fried chicken, but you have to eat it fast to avoid sogginess. 4
  • Egg: Creamy + well-marinated. 4.5
  • Other Toppings: 3
  • Service: Hands-off but effective.
  • Ambience: Folksy.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? This is just a good solid bowl of ramen. Yes.

Tom

  • Order: Paiko Tantan with Pork
  • Overall Score: 4.75
  • Noodle: Nom. 5
  • Broth: Nom — full of flavor. Nice level of spice. 5
  • Meat: Interesting to have fried pork. Different but works. 5
  • Egg: N/A
  • Other Toppings: 4
  • Price: Good. Pricey bowl but it is definitely worth it.
  • Service: Good, worked well with the big group + separated bill.
  • Ambience: Pleasant music + decor.
  • Impression/Would You Come Here Again? Yes. Nom.
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