Dining at a San Diego Japanese Restaurant
Contributing writer Marci Pascua visited Underbelly, a San Diego Japanese Restaurant located in Little Italy and a local favorite!
But the horizon is changing in the quiet but robust town of Little Italy and they are serving up a whole new dish. That dish is Underbelly, a craft beer and local ramen delight.
Underbelly ravishes the corner of Fir and Kettner in the heart of Little Italy with its large pop up windows and seating that wraps around the corner.
It’s not uncommon to see patrons lining up around the block to get a taste of all the treats Underbelly has to offer, from shucked oysters served with pickled watermelon and buns stuffed with sous vide pork belly to their infamous ramen bowl with oxtail dumplings.
We arrived on a beautiful, sunny afternoon to a restaurant full of noodle lovers and craft beer connoisseurs. The first thing I noticed was the ease of ordering and the simple menu. The menu was easy to understand and if you needed any recommendations, they are happy to help you out.
We started with a craft beer and honestly I don’t know which one because I asked Shane, the manager, to surprise me and he didn’t disappoint. The cool thing about this place is that the craft beer list is chosen by the employees and rotates often to keep the selection fresh and mostly local.
We started off with appetizers – Crispy Chicken Wings and the Tuna Tataki. The wings were hearty and delicious and the tuna was fresh and delicate, both with unique flavors. A must-have is one of their buns or baoki, also known as boa, which is the traditional name.
We ordered up the sous vide brisket and tempura eggplant and for those of you who might snub a vegetarian bao, this one might change your mind.
Now for the main event! We ordered the Vegetable Ramen with Kimchi and Belly Of The Beast ramen with a soft boiled egg and let me tell you – I’ve never experienced ramen like this.
These ramen bowls were packed full of fresh vegetables with the option of adding condiments that not only enhance but authenticate the experience. We enjoyed our Japanese inspired with a San Diego twist ramen bowls, all the way down to the last slurp.
We rolled ourselves out of there with our bellies full from Underbelly and a new appreciation for how many unique ways ramen can be enjoyed.
Underbelly was truly a great restaurant to experience and a soon to be staple to the San Diego food scene. San Diegans have embraced this eatery with open arms and a satiable palette for Japanese-American fused ramen bowls.
By: Marci Pascua