As more of Orange County is vaccinated, and restaurants open back up with limited outdoor and indoor dining options, I am slowly getting more comfortable with venturing out to dining at restaurants instead of only utilizing their take-out options.
JINYA Ramen opened this week in Tustin, and it was the first dine-in media meal I’ve attended, in-person, in over a year. The restaurant offered 25% capacity for indoor dining — which I was comfortable with — and temperatures were taken the moment you stepped inside. Masks were appropriated donned by all members of staff. I felt very safe, seated several tables away from the next party.
Our meal began with both the JINYA Bun ($5) and the Vegan Bun ($5). While they both look similar, the vegan version is a plant-based steamed bun, stuffed with a pea protein patty, guacamole and vegan mayo.
Meat-eaters will enjoy the slow-braised pork chashu of the JINYA bun accompanied with cucumber and Kewpie mayo.
Who doesn’t like fried chicken? Crispy Chicken ($7/5pc) is JINYA’s version of kaarage and I thoroughly enjoyed its crispy exterior coupled with the moist, tender interior. Served with a side of ponzu sauce, the 5-pc is generous enough to share amongst several people.
Caramelized Cauliflower ($7) was a huge hit. I ate one piece, went to photograph the other dishes, and returned to find it had completely been devoured. The tangy flavors were welcoming on the palate and worked extremely well with the caramelization on the cauliflower.
My son is a huge fan of Takoyaki ($7) and these were pretty good. They were fluffy and light with bits of tako (octopus) dotted within the fritter. I would have liked them to be a little more cooked on the outside to accentuate the crispy outside texture juxtaposed with the soft, creamy-like interior, but flavor-wise it was stellar.
The menu is extensive and there was no way we were able to sample everything. However, ramen is what they’re known for, so we couldn’t leave without trying some varieties on offer. JINYA Chicken Ramen ($13.80), one of the signatures, however, turned out to be my least favorite. I had an issue with the texture of the chicken — which I later find out, had been prepared sous vide style and then grilled before serving.
JINYA Tonkotsu Black ($14.50) was exactly how I imagined the flavors to be. The broth was rich and hearty, with perfectly executed noodles and well-rounded consistency throughout. This was very enjoyable!
I was pleasantly surprised by how bold the Flying Vegan Harvest ($15) was. Served with a sprig of charred broccolini, the roasted aromas are immersed into the overall essence of the broth, layering more intensity into it. This was one of my favorites!
If you’re not a fan of cilantro, this bowl definitely wouldn’t be for you, but Slurp Up Cilantro ($14) was possibly my favorite of all the ramens we tried. I loved the element of freshness the cilantro brought to the broth, cutting through some of the richness by its brightness.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal. There were a few consistency issues here and there, such as the texture of the ramen being different in every bowl. Some were a little softer, and another, even softer. Hopefully, these will be rectified as time goes on. They opened this week, so go check them out!
1086 Irvine Blvd
Tustin, CA 92780
Tel: (714) 714-0467
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