I’ve been going to Ebisu ramen for around 20 years now, so when my wife recently asked me why I haven’t reviewed them yet, all I could do was give her my best deer-caught-in-headlights look.
Ebisu Mendokoro is owned by the same company that owns the Ebisu supermarket and the Bon Marche bakery in the same plaza. The restaurant is clean and well-lit, and it’s always crowded on the weekends. Ebisu isn’t just a ramen restaurant: they have a wide variety of offerings, and their rice is especially good. Even though I enjoy their ramen, I often end up getting their tentojidon (tempura with egg on a bowl of rice) with cold soba. Their fried rice is excellent, with lots of chunks of pork, lots of egg and onions, and fluffy Japanese rice perfectly done. Now on to their ramen!
I’m going to get flak from fans of their cross-town rival Shinsengumi, but I think Ebisu has the best ramen in Orange County. And yes, there will be a review of Shinsengumi in the future.) Ebisu’s shoyu and chashu ramen start off with a rich but not too thick soup base. The pork, chicken, and shoyu flavors (among other ingredients) are well-balanced and satisfying, especially on a cold day. The noodles are flavorful, soaking up the soup nicely, and have a nice chewy texture. The green onions, bamboo, bean sprouts, and a boiled egg half fill out the ramen. The pork…well, the pork is inconsistent. Sometimes, it’s just fatty and soft enough to be a delight. More often than not, though, it’s a bit tough, with a too-strong pork smell that overpowers the rest of the ramen. It seems like you have a better chance of getting the “good pork” at dinner for some reason.
Ebisu’s shoyu/chashu ramen gets an 8. The fried rice and tentojidon gets an 8.5.
— wait, what? “The best ramen in Orange County” only gets an 8?! While there *are* a good number of ramen restaurants in “the OC,” it’s hardly the mecca of ramen. But if you’re a ramen lover, and you’re in the area, you owe it to yourself to try it out!