Don Bauder 8:30 p.m., March 6
I was en route to one of my favorite lunch spots on Convoy (I'm talking about Tofu House, when I spotted RakiRaki: Ramen and Tsukemen, a new noodle joint in the very same strip mall, sharing one of the more frustrating parking lots in San Diego.
From the iron railing and weathered wood platform outside to the driftwood panel, tungsten lightbulbs and brick walls inside, the decor is rustic urban chic.
It was a cool day, so though the tsukemen looked interesting (dipping noodles -- the broth is hot, but the noodles on the side are cold until you dip them) both of us opted for a simple bowl of spicy ramen. Each table was equipped with a bottle of water with "Enagic Kangen Water" water (misspelled twice on the menu). The water is not only served for drinking, but is the only water used in the kitchen, which meant I'd be drinking it from both my cup and my bowl.
Unlike ramen at most other places, the broth at RakiRaki is chicken based (not pork or fish). The broth itself was light and clean, but not too watery. The flavor was balanced, not too salty, just the right amount of umami, and when I stirred in my little ball of red pepper, it had a pleasant kick. The pork was tender and tasty.
On the downside, the egg (ordered as an extra) was overcooked and underflavored, and the gyoza David and I shared was also overcooked, and bland.
The service was great, the ambiance was hip and comfortable, so we'll be back soon to try out the tsukemen. But it'll be hard to drive there and not end up at Tofu House.