Chopsticks waded through a rich broth, each of us pinching crinkly noodles, almond-shaped duck slices (with an elegant stratum of fat), and smoky scallion spears (with cool grill-mark stripes).
"Prettier than your average ramen," veteran chef Antonio Friscia said in his test kitchen for Gaijin Noodle + Sake House. The informal panel of taste testers nodded, "mmm"ed and goose-necked closer toward our utensils.
Slated for a February opening, Gaijin is still under construction. So Friscia's been auditioning ramen makers and trying out menus in his cooking bunker, at the back of Stingaree, the 1,200-capacity nightclub that used to have a restaurant.
Taste test the Gaijin menu for free tonight, from 8 to 11 p.m.
Look for the black food truck parked around Island and Sixth (CurioCity Catering partnered up with Friscia). Onboard, there's Crying Tiger skirt steak, fresh spring rolls (cucumber, Green Dragon apples, shrimp, bacon, sprouts, mint), miso chashu ramen, kimchi pork belly yakitori, tuna poke with taro chips, shishito peppers, and mango sorbet. For free. To celebrate Chinese New Year.
Friscia says his new restaurant will be like a modern izakaya fusing global influences with his sustainable standpoint. "We're buying from sound sources, as far as our animal products go. And our veggies and produce will be as much local as possible."
Read more of Keli Dailey's San Diego dining reviews on utsandiego.com