Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Oki Doki - Costa Mesa

Goofy name aside, the folks at Oki Doki are serious. About soup. Soup is consistently great here. I've been telling people on Chowhound for years that the sizzling rice soup is amazing. If it's possible to kick ass with both feet, they do it day in and day out with their chicken stock.

Their ramen appears to be an afterthought, however. You'll easily miss it if you're not paying attention to the menu. Unsurprisingly, they make the ramen with this fabulously flavored chicken broth seasoned only with salt. Chicken soup is an exception in the pork-centric ramen world, and delicious. I finshed the whole bowl of soup, right to the bottom.

Most of the toppings are typically Japanese: the chashu, hardboiled egg, bean sprouts, and scallions. The delicous, fried crunchy bits of garlic are an atypical, probably Viet influence. Oki Doki bills itself as a pan-Asian restaurant with touches from Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisine. Some of these international items are good, like the Korean seafood pancakes and the Vietnamese Imperial egrolls. Avoid the stir fried Chinese dishes, however.

Eggrolls w/ lettuce and mint to wrap them in and spicy nuoc mam dipping sauce

This place is Japanese owned, so ask the wait staff to guide you their Japanese izakaya specialities if you go for dinner. The lunch menu is more limited. Izakaya are pubs where small dishes are served to share with your drinking companions. The menu of daily specials is usually good. Of these, I like the eggplant sauteed with ground pork and red chili powder. It's a version of mabo dofu, called mabo nasu. This is a lightly spiced Japanese version of the Sichuan dish called pockmarked lady's tofu, minus the tofu and Sichuan peppercorn.

But I digress. Oki Doki makes a fine ramen, especially if you prefer a lighter soup. Another nearby option: Mitae Ramen makes a very light, vegetable-rich, soy sauce flavored Tokyo ramen. Mitae is probably my least favorite because of my bias for rich, porky soup, but for you - I'll go and report back. Stay tuned as Ramen Week continues...

Oki Doki
3033 S. Bristol St. #O
(SW corner of Paularino)
Costa Mesa, CA


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Internet reviews are sure miss leading for this restaurant.

Just ate here today. First time and last time. Not Pan Asian at all, mostly Chinese with a couple of Viet dishes thrrwn in, if I wanted those type of dishes I'd drive a couple more miles.

5/16/2005 01:27:00 PM  

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