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Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya

A whole new option to fuel your consumerist adventures

Dread the mall? Maybe this will change your tune (or at least soften the blow). Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: With several restaurants already covering much of western Washington, Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya bring their internationally popular Japanese dishes to the Tacoma Mall. Known for authentic recipes and bold flavors, Dutch and Jackie brave the back-to-school shoppers for a bowl of ramen.

JACKIE: I gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of service. Though it's pretty clear they're in the process of finding their groove, we were greeted immediately by a warm young man and experienced a sense of genuine enthusiasm from everyone working.

DUTCH: I started out with an order of the pork gyoza while I waited for my ramen, and it's not a stretch to say that these are among the best I've had. Full of flavor on the inside with an outside that is pan-fried to a caramelized perfection that provides a crunchy exterior on one side, and a soft steamed side on the other two. The dipping sauce is a well-balanced combination of soy sauce and vinegar that I found myself double and triple dipping to make sure I had a little in every bite.

JACKIE: Those gyoza were impressive -- the texture balance was just right and left me craving more. I had a hard time deciding if I wanted the Karaage as a starter or a meal and ultimately chose to get the Karaage Don. A bed of rice is topped with salad greens, a drizzle of sesame dressing, and a generous portion of fried chicken then doused in spicy mayo. If you can manage to get each component in your fork for a bite, you're in for a treat! The crunch of the chicken paired with the fresh greens is utterly delightful.

DUTCH: I took a good hard look at the izakaya portion of the menu, and as good as everything looked, I had come for the ramen. I ordered the Hakata Tonkotsu which has a strong pork flavoring to the broth that I enjoyed. The bowl is then filled (and I do mean filled) with thin ramen noodles, pork belly, green onions, woodear mushrooms, bean sprouts, and sesame seeds. Additionally, it comes with a side of chopped white onions and chili paste. After sipping at just the broth a few times, I stirred everything up and dove through almost half before adding the side ingredients. If, like me, you are a fan of spicy food, add the paste right away -- it's amazing! All the flavors in the bowl from the pork belly to the onions, to the broth, and so on make for a lot of flavors in each bite. I just couldn't get enough!

JACKIE: We tried two different broths to test the "low sodium" against the regular and let me tell you, the regular Chicken Shoyu compared to the low sodium Spicy Ramen displayed a very clear difference with a salty punch in the regular one -- think briny like the sea. But I gotta say, the price point to portion size ration is pocketbook friendly. I felt satisfied with leftovers and it didn't break the bank.

DUTCH: Like most people, I'm not a fan of hitting the mall, and so every time I find a good place to eat, I daydream about all the other wonderful locations across Tacoma it could be. Kizuki falls in that category for me. The portions and flavors are tremendous, I just wish I didn't have to go to the mall to enjoy it.

JACKIE: Amen to that, Dutch. It can feel overwhelming but it is situated across from Jamba Juice so it seems like a perfect excuse to indulge. Plus, when I am forced to go to the mall, this is the perfect dining option compared to food court fare and mediocre chain restaurants.

KIZUKI RAMEN AND IZAKAYA, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, 4502 S. Steele St., Unit 501A, Tacoma, 253.650.0639,

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