A new new ramen house! In Orange, of all places! I’ve been waiting for months to try out Okazu ramen, but haven’t quite been able to make it until recently. Okazu is located in the back corner of a Target shopping plaza, and is now open for lunch and dinner.
There’s a nice trendy vibe inside Okazu, and there’s a large community table in the middle of the restaurant as well as individual tables along the side. I was seated promptly by a friendly waitress, and mulled over the extensive menu. Okazu offers 4 types of ramen: shoyu, creamy tonkotsu, curry, and spicy beef, along with sushi and donburi, and a few other offerings. Okazu has a large variety of gyozas: there’s regular gyoza (homemade/housemade), shrimp gyoza, deep-fried gyoza, and surprisingly, hanpen gyoza. Imagine a steamed gyoza wrapped in a thin piece of kamaboko instead of a flour skin and you get a rough idea of what a hanpen gyoza is. I opted for a chashu ramen (shoyu base), an order of chahan, and the regular gyoza.
The food came quickly. The gyoza was good, with a mushy pork/cabbage filling and just a little bit of garlic.
The fried rice was also tasty. It was a bit on the light side for my taste, but a few scoops of the spicy miso paste they provided quickly remedied that.
The chashu ramen comes with the basics: several (4? I didn’t bother to count) large and thick slices of chashu, green onions, menma, and a slice of naruto.
The soup was light and mellow. If I recall, the menu proclaimed that they didn’t use MSG. Those of you who prefer a healthier MSG-free shoyu will probably appreciate the soup. Me, I like my ramen broths a bit richer, but I still enjoyed it and drank every drop. The noodles, on the other hand, tasted almost exactly like spaghetti noodles. They had a nice al-dente texture, but didn’t really pair well with the soup.
The chashu was very lean, as you can see, and a little bit dry. It still had good flavor, though, and is better executed than some other ramenya with similarly lean chashu.
Okazu’s somewhat average (not that there’s anything wrong with that) chashu ramen gets a decent 5 out of 10.
Sun: Noon-3:00pm, 5:00pm-9:00pm
Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2:00pm, 5:00pm-9:30pm
Sat: Noon-3:00pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm