ADDRESS: 2250 East Palmdale Boulevard, Suite A, Palmdale, CA 93550
I’m not usually one to go for hot soups or broths when it comes to meals, but I make the exception for ramen. The key to a good bowl of ramen, in my opinion, is a robust broth, with the other toppings and the noodles helping to complement it and bring out additional layers of flavor.
A recent last-minute business trip took me back out to the Palmdale area, and there was a local ramen shop that one of my co-workers had talked about. One night during the work week, I decided to head over there with a few friends to check it out.
I can appreciate a menu that uses pictures to help highlight some of their dishes. I know I’ve mentioned it a few times in other blog posts, but I’m an advocate of the saying, “you eat with your eyes first.” When it comes to something like different types of ramen, I found it pretty helpful to look at some of the pictures before making my final decision.
We tacked on a trio of appetizers to get things started: the spicy tuna nachos, chicken karaage, and the char siu pork bao. Of the three, I think the unexpected favorite was the spicy tuna nachos. Fried wonton chips served with a helping of spicy tuna topped with some spicy mayo, and avocado chunks on the side. Even though it consisted of only a few ingredients, there was something about it that just made you keeping going back for more. It was a very good blend of spicy and savory flavors with each chip scoop.
I was a bit let down by the char siu pork bao, which I thought just didn’t have enough meat. The char siu was sliced pretty thin, and each bao only had one piece. Lettuce and cucumbers made up the rest of the bao, along with some Hoisin sauce. But I’m pretty sure that the ratio of vegetable to meat was 2 to 1. The char siu was supposed to be the star of the show, but instead just faded into the background.
Now, it was time for the main attraction: the ramen. After some initial contemplation, I ultimately decided to go with the Raizel Tonkotsu Ramen. A pork broth base with kurobuta sausage, shrimp, kimchi, spinach, roasted seaweed, black mushrooms, and a half-boiled egg. On paper, it sounded like an intriguing combination of ingredients. But the bowl of ramen suffered from the same thing as the char siu bao: not enough meat (and shrimp, in this case).
Aside from two average-sized shrimp and a piece of kurobuta sausage less than two inches long, everything else in the bowl was either the half-boiled egg, vegetables, or noodles. But the other core component of the ramen, the broth, which should be its strength, was slightly below average at best. It almost felt watered down, and lacked that hit of umami flavor when you dived into tasting the broth. Put everything together, and it wasn’t necessarily a bad dish, but for me, it wasn’t a good dish either.
As a ramen restaurant, you set a certain level of expectations when it comes to their specialty dish. Unfortunately, however, the ramen turned out to just be average at best, with the appetizers outshining the main course. Given the fact that ramen options in the Palmdale area are limited, Raizel Ramen is a place that you could go to satisfy a craving. But be prepared to flex the upgrade options for the ramen to get the most complete experience.
Let’s now take a look at the Raizel Ramen Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Raizel Ramen:
Food: 3.75 / 5
The appetizers overall turned out to be better than the ramen itself. Even though there are a variety of options to choose from as well as ways to customize your ramen order, the food namesake of the restaurant just fell short.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
Several different seating options are available to you: tables, the bar-top, or a long table in the middle of the restaurant. It’s definitely pretty laid-back, with the green and black color scheme translating from the menu layout over into the décor as well.
Service: 4 / 5
Our waitress was pleasant and stopped around several times during our meal to see how things were going. The food also didn’t take too long getting out of the kitchen, either.
Price: 3.5 / 5
The price of $7.45 on the bao appetizer seemed a bit high to me, especially with the lack of char siu. On the ramen side of things, based on the lack of meats in the bowl that I got, I would need to drop in some of the upgrades to get a more complete bowl. At that point, the ramen would be pushing $14 or $15, which sits a bit on the high end.