An op-ed review by Iris Kao, Fundraising and Sponsorship Committee Member
Large windows, transparency into the kitchen, and a full bar set the atmosphere of the new Ramen and Sake Bar in the hip East Village. We opted to sit at the bar to get a first hand experience into the Sake inventory- over 30 premium Sakes offered.
Brett, the bartender, started us out with the “Sake Flight (Find Your Favorite)” which offered 3 types of Sake: Fresh and Smooth, Aromatic, and Traditional Full Body (Right to Left).
Neither of us were particularly fond of the Aromatic offering and decided to go with another flight each of the “Fresh and Smooth” and the “Traditional Full Body.”
Ayaka, the only certified sake Master in all of San Diego and the mastermind behind the Sake offerings directly imported from Japan, guided us through our “Traditional Full Body and “Fresh and Smooth” flights.
Kurowasa and Tedorigawa are similar offerings but Ayaka mentions that Kurowasa smashes the rice throughout the sake making process but Tedorigawa does not. Some Sake Masters can taste the difference but I personally could not (clearly not equipped with a Sake Master pallet yet). My personal favorite of the three was Akitabare.
Fresh and Smooth Flight: Black Dot, Nine Headed Dragon, and Green River (Left to Right)
Black Dot is brewed in Ayaka’s hometown of Nagoya. She even showed us a picture of her brewing this specific brand during her last trip back to Japan. Not only is Ayaka knowledgeable about each type and brand of Sake that BeShock offers, she brings her training knowledge and personal opinions to the Sake experience so that we, as Sake Novice, can better understand what it is that we are supposed to taste for.
Ayaka even showed us her Sake Mastery certificate, which was completed in Japan.
Next we tried the Spicy Miso Ramen and the Tonkotsu Ramen. The noodles were cooked perfectly and the broth was not too salty or oily (rather healthy and satisfying at the same time). If you like a hearty, oily, and heavy Tonkotsu soup, this may not hit the spot for you. My Korean-native-spicy-loving friend thought the Spicy Miso was the perfect amount of spiciness and flavor. Brett even mentioned that they have a next level up on the spiciness option after the full menu is launched for those who like a tasty tongue-numbing experience.
We also gave the sushi and sashimi a try since you can never order too much food. The La Jolla roll was good but I missed the fact that it had crème cheese, which should only belong in bagels and not my sushi rolls (in my opinion). On the other hand, the sashimi was fresh and a generous portion. The Fresh Market Sashimi of the Day was tuna, salmon, and yellowtail (they also carry exotic fish depending on the daily catch). Brett mentioned that the tuna (all 250 pounds of it) was freshly caught earlier that day (which I was able to attest to since I passed the Tuna Market by the Seaport Village during my morning run).
So now you’re wondering, will I be back? Absolutely. We even got a sneak peak into the full menu, which includes Taiwanese inspired shaved ice with a Japanese twist. So drop by BeShock Ramen and ask Ayaka for a flight or two of Sake and slurp on some freshly made Tonkotsu Ramen.
Insider Tip: Hot Sake equates to Box Wine so don’t ask the Sake Master if she has any 🙂
Address: 1288 Market Street San Diego, CA 92101