In the race for top ramen in San Diego, a new entry is shaping up to be a promisingly strong contender. Nishiki Ramen, which was founded over 20 years ago, has chosen our city as its first foray outside of Japan, where the brand operates seven restaurants and two franchises.
Mike Furuichi, who is guiding Nishiki's U.S. expansion in partnership with founder Takashi Endo, the director of Japan's ramen association, says the company wanted the breathing room to hone its concept before moving into a highly competitive market like Los Angeles and plans to open at least three shops in San Diego to test the waters.
The first ramen house is scheduled to open in mid-July at 8055 Armour Street, Suite 201A in the shopping center that also houses Mitsuwa Marketplace. The 1,600-square-foot space will have seating for 60 at a mix of communal tables, booths and counters, including a long ramen bar that fronts an open kitchen.
Furuichi tells Eater that a custom machine will extrude batches of two thicknesses of straight-style ramen noodles daily, made using a special flour from Hokkaido, Japan; also simmered fresh daily will be their signature pork and chicken broth. Nishiki's ramen toppings should stand out too; an array of vegetables will be standard and the eatery will roast and cook its pork loin separately to maintain maximum flavor. There will be a variety of ramen variations— Furuchi calls them 'ramen for the 21st century'— that range from a twist on Chinese spicy dandan noodles to seafood ramen that includes shellfish and a piece of seared fish and a chilled version of ramen topped with fresh fruit.