A certified sake master has launched a new Japanese restaurant concept in San Diego. Ayaka Ito is co-founder of the East Village's new BeShock Ramen & Sake Bar; her family owns several restaurants in Japan, but this is her first solo project. Ito told Eater that she and her business partner Masaki Yamauchi searched everywhere south of Oceanside before landing in 2,500-square-foot space at the corner of Market and 13th Street, which has a modern industrial design from Yamauchi and a glassed-in kitchen, with an outdoor patio coming in before the end of the year.
Named after a Japanese phrase meaning "beauty of food", the eatery is hoping to stand out from the rest of the ramen pack by offering a signature light tonkotsu broth made from a mix of pork, chicken and vegetables; the stock simmers for 10 hours. The restaurant also offers chicken-based ramen and vegan ramen based on soy milk flavored with shio kogi, a traditional Japanese seasoning that lends umami flavor.
BeShock's chef previously owned a sushi restaurant, so the menu also includes sushi rolls as well as starters ranging from local mussels steamed in sake to buns filled with homemade chashu pork. For dessert, there are shaved ices in flavors including strawberry tiramisu and lemon cheesecake.
There's a full bar, offering Asian-inspired cocktails, four beers on tap and more than 30 varieties of sake, including rare selections, that can be sampled in sake flights or sipped by the glass, carafe or bottle.
Ito's parents, Kumi and Hiroshi Ito, are BeShock's investors and they also own several different restaurant concepts in Japan and she tells Eater that in addition to another BeShock, she may be transplanting more concepts here; potential future projects could include a Japanese bakery, matcha cafe or a dedicated sake bar.