Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya
827 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Tucked away and nestled in a busy Portland street it is easy enough to walk by this spot without realizing there was anything at all here. Let alone this beautiful and well crafted food hall.
With high ceiling accented by large wooden beams, with spheres of warm light and gentle ambience that can be experienced in the ground or balcony level. This is one of the most well crafted and zen food halls we have seen in quite some time. So of course we had to explorer this oasis of food and see what they had to offer.
With what appears to be their main attraction Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya! With a well crafted and elegant vibe this little slice of Japanese flavor caught our eye right away.
Wow we were underwhelmed…
The food looks gorgeous here. With fresh looking apps and a good variety of ramens we were excited to dig in. First we tried the Potato Croquettes ($5.50) this crispy fried dish is served with a tonkatsu sauce and looks great, but was unfortunately under seasoned and just a bit bland.
The Takoyaki ($8) is a personal favorite of ours usually. This octopus fried dumpling is served nice and hot with flavorful sauces and topped with bonito flakes.
This one unfortunately was a disappointment. The filling we discovered was mostly lacking in octopus at all. Mostly a breading with the tiniest bit of seafood that we hardly noticed. Not much better than lackluster hush puppies.
So far we were not impressed by the selection here. Even when we wanted to order some Onigiri rice balls and a fun sake drink. They told us that despite being on the menu they did not have rice balls at this time and their drink menu was restricted to prepackaged drinks. So we poured ourself a Cup of sake which was ok and moved on to the ramen.
First off we tried out the Hakata style ramen ($13.50) which was interesting and light. This ramen notably had a clearer broth with a delicate flavor, just a bit of pork chashu and thinner noodles than usual. It made for an easier dish to eat and would be good for someone with a light appetite.
The problem was that it was too light for us. While we enjoyed the noodles, we found that the broth lacked impact and in the end we were not interested in finishing it. It was fine but just fine.
Probably the best thing we ate here was the Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen ($13.50) now this bowl came with a big heaping of flavor!
With much thicker noodles and big pork and garlic flavor in every bite. At first we were quite impressed with this soup!
With a well cooked egg and more pork chashu on top of this flavorful bowl we thought this spot had nailed it, but as we continued to eat we discovered the flavor was too strong and one noted. The first bite was a fun impact but then it never let up and it just was overwhelmingly garlicky. In the end we did not finish this bowl either.
End of the day we were just too disappointed by the food here. Which is a shame because this a truly a great location with a fantastic ambience and vibe. We might try this place again in the future and see if they’ve improved, but for now all we can say it was a bit below average for ramen. Not bad but definitely not good.
We give Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya only four ramen bowls out of ten 🍜 🍜 🍜 🍜