Mendoki Ramen - Costa Mesa

Was in the area and had seen the sign for Mendoki ( a few times in the past.
The pictures online passed the eye test and I had a chance to stop by for lunch today.
I mean, check out their Jiro-style offering.

That ain’t no joke.

The Chef (Ramenolo?) at Mendoki, Akimoto, is an alumn of the famed Taishoken.
He was in the kitchen today making each and every bowl himself.
I do not know what the Taishoken ramen trademarks are but when I asked about the soup in the Chuka ramen he let me know it is a tonkotsu-gyokai (pork bone and fish stock) soup and indicated that this was Taishoken style.

We ordered the Chuka Soba, Abura Soba, and Chicken Karaage.
Don’t be thrown by the names. “Ramen” and “Soba” are often used interchangeably at ramen shops.

Here is the Chuka Soba:

This was really good. This is tonkotsu-gyokai soup, but do not think of milky, blended white tonkotsu. This is a rich tonkotsu soup, but even more present than the rich porky bass drum in the background are the fish stock (niboshi?) snare notes. The fish stock brings complexity and a slight bitterness.

The noodles were medium thickness and cooked to a semi al dente doneness.

The chashu was fresh, meaty, with a good ratio of fat.

Man, this was a really good bowl of ramen. I haven’t eaten ramen out in a while. My last ramen was at Tao before pandemic closures. This is my new favorite ramen for Orange County, ahead of Tao and Kitakata.

I didn’t take pictures of the Abura Soba or Karaage, but here are pics that look identical:

The Karaage was excellent karaage. Fresh fried and well-seasoned.
The Abura Soba was also fucking good. Abura Soba is a “dry”, soupless noodle dish where you mix and coat the noodles with seasoned abura (oil/fat) that is at the bottom of the bowl. At Mendoki, the abura seems to be pork backfat. From their Abura Soba, what stood out to me was the definite smoky notes coming from the abura. I think they smoke or get some char on the pork before rendering the fat. Man, I wish I had Gold’s words to help explain these dishes better. For all you egg sluts, their eggs have that gooey golden yolk that you are longing for.

Anyway, this is a legit ramen shop. No worries of “bait and switch” because Akimoto-san is in the house making your noodz. (I really don’t like the phrase “bait and switch” being misused to describe ramen shops that are trying to localize in the US.)

I can’t wait to go back and take on their Jiro ramen! Just have to prepare mentally to take on that beast…


Fuuuuudge that sounds sublime!

I love Jiro style ramen! Ever since I prayed at the Jiro Ramen honten temple in Mita-ku many years back (dang I miss traveling and also I miss @rameniac), I’ve been looking for something like this in SoCal.

How thick are the noodles at Mendoki?

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The noodles in the chuka were medium thickness. The abura soba noodles were thicker. I imagine they use something at least as thick as the abura soba noodles in the Jiro ramen.

I didn’t see any Jiro ramen go out while I was there, but I also wasn’t looking.
The photos look the most legit of anything I have seen in the States.

Also, speaking with Akimoto, he seems to be a serious ramenolo. A shokunin that is passionate about and committed to his craft. I am confident that he wouldn’t create his menu description like this without being able to back it up.


Woah, this looks fantastic. Is it currently only to-go orders or did you sit outside?

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Costa Mesa is basically Ramen City now.


Sat outside. They had 3 2-tops and 1 4-top.

Ramen is definitely ERTAT.

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Thanks for the report, that is looking like a mighty fine bowl of ramen. Definitely on my radar in the not to distant future.

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Ok. So, I did it. Then I took a nap. Now I am here reporting.
As anticipated, this Jiro ramen is legit and it is a beast.

For all of you people that have trouble with ramen from Tsujita being too fatty, stay away! This is on a different level.

Here it is (my photos from today):


Oh and what is that hiding behind the mound of cabbage and bean sprouts?
Oh, it’s just an entire head of minced garlic.


Here are the noodles. Thick with that mochi-mochi chewy texture that the Jiro style is famous for.


Jiro-style is also famous for thicc chashu. Here is a close up of the chashu. You will notice this is a pork belly chashu and is completely different that the chashu from my Chuka Soba yesterday.


She got the Tsukemen:


Of course I had some too! Man, this Akimoto can execute great versions of all of these styles. The tonkotsu-gyokai soup is thicker with a touch of sweetness for the tsukemen soup. As always, don’t forget to order soup wari when you finish your tsukemen noodles!


Ohmigod, how is it possible to be fattier than Tsujita?!?!?!?!

Is fish stock unusual for ramen? I don’t recall hearing discussions of this b/f, but it sounds like a sublime combo…

Thanks for the report. Looks and sounds delicious.

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My bad. I was only thinking of Tsujita’s main shop and totally forgot about Annex. Annex serves a twist on Jiro-style ramen and it is damn good. If you have had Tsujita Annex’s ramen, this is on a similar level. However, Mendoki is more true to the Jiro style. If I recall correctly, Tsujita adds chili powder?

Yeah, fish stock is common. It is also common to add dry fish to other stocks. See the Nagi thread for further discussion on niboshi (baby sardine) ramen stocks.

10th heart - THIS ramen requires a pilgrimage. Thank you for such a quick report back! They got the industrial grade white pepper powder there for customers to tailor to their palates? Or is it BYOIGWPP?


I didn’t see any pepper on my visit, but I also wasn’t looking for it. I am sure they have some, but you may want to BYOIGWPP, just in case.

I see they have a vegan ramen. I may have to plan a day down to OC to try it.

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No kidding
HiroNori (right across in Irvine)


Someone told me there is now a Silverlake Ramen at Irvine Spectrum, and Bella Terra as well. Well shit, after many years passing by the crowds on Sunset Blvd in front of Silverlake Ramen and heading to other restaurants (Needle, Night and Market, Pine and Crane) and places, am I missing something?

No, Silverlake Ramen is nothing special. They set up their franchise system, so they are expanding. That’s all.

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You can add Kashiwa as well (chicken ramen)

@hanhgry Kashiwa has some veg options:


Thanks I thought I was maybe missing out on something, just another tonkotsu place I suppose?

I wonder if anyone would be willing to do a Costa Mesa Ramen Bang Bang and risk the sodium bloat for us lol actually please don’t

Yep. Tonkotsu & soy milk soup. Maybe Silverlake Ramen was good once upon a time, but it is not worth consideration at this point with all of the other delicious ramen joints around.