restaurant review

Restaurant Review: Tajima Ramen House – Kearny Mesa

Let’s be real. When Adam found out I got a job out in San Diego, he wasn’t excited I’d be moving here, per se. He was excited he’d have someone to go get ramen with.

And I’m not talking about the ramen that you buy at the grocery store. Nope, not that ramen at all.

According to Wikipedia (aka the be-all-end-all of knowledge):

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, kamaboko, and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.

Now that we have that definition out of the way, let’s get back to what I was saying. Adam was happy that he had someone to get ramen with, and more specifically, that he had someone to go to Tajima with.

tajima ext

Tajima Ramen House

4681 Convoy Street I, Kearny Mesa
Menu (pdf)
 ▴ Website ▴ Yelp

Let’s preface this by talking about driving on Convoy Street and finding parking within the Tajima plaza (or any of its neighboring plazas): it’s the worst. The parking lots are cramped and finding parking is a whole other issue. But ask anyone who goes to Convoy and they’ll tell you that this part of San Diego is full of amazing Asian restaurants and markets and is worth the effort.

Now let’s get to the inside (the interior photos are courtesy of Yelp).

tajima ramen house1

tajima ramen house

I really love the inside of Tajima, because it’s comfortable and the space is pretty impressive. I love the way the wood looks, as well as the dark countertops at the bar, the ceilings, and the lighting at night. I also like the center part (which you can see in both of the above photos), because even though it’s open to multiple parties, if you get a nice corner seat then it feels a little more intimate.

Drinks include your typical soft drinks, as well as a variety of beers (local and Japanese) that are fairly cheap, usually around $4.00 for the smaller ones. They also have sake, flavored sake, and my favorite: flavored nigori sake, which is blended with fuirt (strawberry, lychee, mango, passionfruit, or honeydew) and is absolutely delicious.

Now for the food.

Truthfully, I can’t comment about anything other than the appetizers and ramen, because we stick with what we like.

Appetizers:

▻ Edamame: Edamame is edamame. It’s hard to mess up. If it’s something you like, it’s pretty standard across the board, so go for it.
▻ Gyoza: One of my favorites. The sauce that comes with it is really good too.
▻ Agedashi Tofu: Umm…deep fried tofu. No brainer.
▻ Tan Shio: This is a toss-up. Spoiler alert: it’s grilled beef tongue. If I hadn’t told you that, you probably wouldn’t have noticed and would’ve enjoyed it. But I can see where some might get turned off by that. If you’re not turned off by what it is, then do it! It’s good, and one of Adam’s favorites.
▻ Mussels Dynamite: Not our favorite, but still good.
▻ Creamy Scallop Croquette: Pictured in the back below, this is absolutely our favorite appetizer. We always get it. The best way to describe it? It tastes like deep fried corn chowder/New England clam chowder. It’s so, so good.

tajima mabo tofu

Ramen:

The menu might seem confusing, but I promise it’s not. Just get what we get. It’s always a winner.

Order the Tonkotsu Mabo Tofu Ramen. Your choice of thin or fat noodles (both are amazing). Then if you’re feeling bold (you are), order it spicy. The noodles are perfect, and I love the soy egg, the pieces of pork, and the ground pork you can find throughout (especially when you get towards the bottom of the bowl). The broth has incredible flavor whether you choose to get spicy or not, and if you do choose to get spicy, that heat enhances the flavor and isn’t too overpowering (like I’ve noticed at other ramen houses).

Now I need to say that when we go here, we do it on a weekend or on a night when we have nothing else going on. You will eat a lot, you will be really full, and you will want to go home and lay around after. And you won’t regret it.

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