Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday night my husband and daughter talked me into trying a place that they've visited often when I'm up North one day a week. I've been curious to try it, because they enjoy it, because I love a good KatsuDon, and because I'd never tried fresh Ramen before.
This is Mitsuwa Marketplace, located on Kearny Mesa Road, right off the 163. It is one of the places in San Diego where you can find authentic Japanese ingredients for your home cooking, but it is also home to a couple of interesting, and tasty, restaurant choices. The first, Kayaba, has been there the longest. It is a tiny spot, but the food is good and the service is quick, and reasonably friendly :)
Here you can see the small-ish seating are. There is a long table that is somewhat communal, and several smaller tables of 2 and 4.
This is the Katsudon. I didn't get a chance to get a picture of it before my husband added the katsu sauce! For the uninitiated, Katsudon is a breaded pork cutlet, served with egg, onions, and rice. Sometimes peas are added...I prefer them not to be. The onions are brothy and add a lot of flavor to the rice, and the whole dish is a big bowl of comfort food at it's best.
If you prefer no egg and onions, you can order the Tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is a breaded pork cutlet, usually breaded with Japanese panko crumbs and fried. Here it is served with rice, what we think is a potato salad (?), mandarin oranges, and shredded cabbage. Lemon slices and katsu sauce are optional, but delicious!
Kayaba also serves other dishes, such as Udon and Donburi (rice bowls with savory items, such as pork.)
And now for the item that got me curious. Fresh Ramen. The other restaurant I referred to is called Santouka and it is where you'll find the ramen. There are 3 varieties to choose from, in many combinations. Salt Ramen, Soy Sauce Ramen, and Miso Ramen.
Here you see the Soy Sauce ramen. It is served with 2 very succulent slices of char siu (pork belly), some nori (seaweed), green onion, salted bamboo shoots, and a slice of Judas Ear.
Served with the Ramen was a bowl of rice with char siu and green onion, as well as a soy sauce boiled egg (not pictured, oddly enough :) ). The ramen's broth was rich, and hot, which served the dish well. The ramen itself was toothsome, nothing at all like the stuff you get in the cellophane bags at Von's! lol The pork was, as I said, succulent and flavorful and rich...it's a good thing they don't over-do it! If I'm being honest, I left the Judas Ear fungus alone.
But I did love the char siu rice! The green onions were a nice, earthy contrast to the somewhat salty pork, and when eaten together it tasted a little like a really tasty fried rice. I gave my husband the soy sauce boiled egg, which he said was unusual, but good.
All in all, I'd say it was a good dining experience. Everything was tasty, I tried something new and I was able to slip into the market and get some goodies for later this week. Manga!