Another pre-quarantine post I had been sitting on that I never posted.
I be’shocked that BESHOCK is a Japanese ramen-ya co-owned by Ayaka Ito, Kumi Ito, Masaki Yamauchi, and with Chef Jason Tsuji running the BOH.
Eating ramen in Japan to the OG ramen spots in Los Angeles, I never would have thought an Americanized ramen-ya would have had a chance although I was wrong. It seems as though, there is a place for BESHOCK because they have not only found their place in San Diego, but they are also dominating it with an impressive 1,072 reviews and a 4.4 rating on Google Places to 1,059 reviews and a 4.5 on Yelp to back that up.
You might be shocked about the San Diego ramen scene.
I think it has been over a decade ago, that San Diego has had several ramen-ya’s that were as good or better than many of the ramen-ya’s not only in Los Angeles but also in Orange County.
That is surprising because I liken San Diego to Denver, Colorado which has a lot of similarities with their food scene. The similarity is that it is not diverse as Los Angeles (surprise, surprise), and the places that do exist are lacking on many levels from being Americanized versions of the food they represent to just lacking in overall quality/taste.
San Diego does have a few exceptions, especially with a couple types of Japanese food such as yakitori and ramen. The places that comes to mind is Yakiyudori which was originally in Hillcrest, Tajima, and my goto, Masa Izakaya which has the best hours going into the wee drunken hours of 1am.
Within the last half-decade, a number of new ramen-ya’s started to open up throughout San Diego which were going up against these heavy hitters around San Diego from not only the local spots Masa Izakaya and Tajima (which has gotten worse over time), but also Santouka (Santouka has locations in both LA, Orange County, and throughout the world).
The newest and most notable Japanese ramen spot to open up is Menya Ultra, which has a lot smaller menu with a humbler venue. That I can say also highlights the differences between Japanese and American ramen-ya’s which sums up the Japanese approach to be specialized in only ramen (or sushi, yakitori, etc.) whereas the Americanized approach is to offer more of everything which oftentimes compromises on quality. Except, if your patrons are none the wiser, does it matter? Nope.
A few examples of BESHOCKS menu are their take on karaage (Japanese fried chicken) which is a “cajun” fusion karaage with twelve cajun spices all topped off with chili threads and salad greens because when I go to a cajun restaurant, I expect them to be doing a Japanese or Korean fried chicken. Yea, isn’t that what you expected?
There is Japanese ramen, and then there is American style ramen.
Americanized ramen is about more is better, so you will find wakame (seaweed), menma (bamboo shoots), salad greens, to of course mayu (burnt garlic oil) in their bowl of tonkotsu black ramen.
I was not a fan of the ramen because of all the influence social media vegan/vegetarian influencers have had on ramen with the addition of vegetables from salad greens to wakame (something you typically will not find in a Hakata style Japanese tonkotsu ramen).
Well none of that matters because BESHOCK ultimately has some bragging rights because chains like JINYA ramen failed in PB (Pacific Beach) which I think only lasted a year, and with BESHOCKS opening of their Carlsbad location, I am sure they are not planning on stopping there.
BESHOCK has an expansive menu, along with a great venue located in downtown San Diego’s East Village. If those are not a couple of good reasons to at least check out BESHOCK, I will sway you if you are a drinker when I tell you that co-owner, Ayaka’san is a sake sommelier, and I bet they are the only restaurant in a 30-mile radius or more with those sort of credentials. If I do not have you convinced, feel free to drive 20 more miles into Tijuana where some of the entertainers can do amazing things with a ping pong ball, because what else can one up a sake sommelier.
If you prefer a ramen-ya that specializes only in ramen, this is not your spot.
SAN DIEGO – MARKET STREET
East Village San Diego
1288 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92101
THE SHOPPES AT CARLSBAD
The Newest Location to Open in Feb
2525 El Camino Real no 211
Carlsbad, CA 92101