Sherman's Food Adventures: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya (Southcenter)

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya (Southcenter)

Although it isn't a "must visit" restaurant when it comes to the Seattle food scene, I've been trying to eat at Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya for the past 5 years or so.  Since my kids love ramen, it has been in my back pocket as an eating destination if the situation arose.  Well, we just didn't end up needing it and my several visits to Seattle a year didn't yield any visits to Kizuki.  Finally, as we were heading South on the I-5 towards our hotel in Renton, we figured that it would be best to avoid the height of Seattle rush hour and hightail it to Kizuki at Southcenter instead of eating in the North and being stuck for who knows how long.

Since we arrived in the middle of the afternoon, the place was calm and we got a great seat facing the mall.  To start, we got an order of the Chicken Karaage and Pork Gyoza.  Personally, I like my pieces of chicken karaage to be a bit more bite size due to many factors.  One of which is that there is less chance of under cooked batter.  The large pieces we had here did suffer from that.  Mealy and doughy, some of the batter in the cracks were indeed undercooked.  However, being larger in size, the dark meat was tender and juicy.  The slightly spicy mayo underneath was a good compliment to the chicken.  As for the gyoza, I found them to be acceptable.  They were smaller in size, but that was absolutely fine.  The dumpling skin was medium-thick while the bottom was somewhat crispy.  I enjoyed the tender meat filling as it was well-seasoned with the right amount of greens.

We also got the Tuna Mayo Onigiri which was "okay".  I thought the rice was nicely textured being chewy and dry enough.  Everything held together alright without chunks falling all over the place.  Inside, the tender morsels of tuna were plentiful and we liked how there was minimal amount of mayo.  However, the whole thing didn't taste like anything.  I realize it isn't supposed to be a flavour bomb, but really, it was completely devoid of flavour.

Onto the ramen, my son decided on the Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (limited quantities) with an extra rich broth spiked by tonnes of garlic.  That promise was completely realized when we tried the broth.  It was silky, super garlicky and definitely porky.  Although the shoyu was definitively there, it was completely brushed aside by the ample garlic.  Noodles were chewy and didn't soften too much and the egg was perfectly runny and well-seasoned.  The one large slice of chashu was smoky and charred, but since it was lean, it was a bit chewy in parts.  However, one could add pork belly instead for $2.00 more.  For myself, I had the Spicy Miso Ramen with a rich pork broth, Hokkaido miso paste and garlic paste.  This broth was also silky, garlicky and full of umaminess.  It wasn't really all that spicy though.  Again, the egg and chashu were the same while the portion size was on the smaller side.

My daughter wanted to do something different and had the Chicken Rich Ramen with large chunks of chicken, yau choy, bamboo shoots, a whackload of green onion and egg.  Again, the promise of a rich chicken broth was completely valid as the fatty oil slick added body to an already thick broth.  There was no mistaking it was chicken and the level of umaminess was high.  I would say that all of the broths so far were tasty, but on the saltier side.  We were not that enamoured with the chicken as it was dry and lifeless.  Viv stayed on the same theme but went lighter with the Shoyu Chicken Ramen with the same toppings as the rich ramen minus the egg.  Furthermore, the broth was clear and devoid of the oil slick.  As such, it ate as a clear broth that was still flavourful, but with much less impact.  Overall, we enjoyed the food at Kizuki.  It wasn't the best we had, but above-average at the very least.

The Good:
- Above-average broth
- Friendly service
- Okay pricing

The Bad:
- Not really an izakaya considering the menu options
- Chicken meat was dry

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