To me, winter = ramen season! Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, formerly known here as Kukai (and still known as Kukai at other branches although this is the only branch in Oregon) brings authentic ramen as well as some izakaya dishes to enjoy in a family friendly restaurant setting in Beaverton. Located in a upscale strip mall area, there is plenty of parking nearby. They don’t take reservations – once your whole party arrives, you will be seated based on the order of your sign in. The location is pretty spacious and includes the traditional counter seating to quickly get your ramen on, or regular restaurant style tables.
Although the ramen comes out pretty quickly, their izakaya portion of their menu is worth taking a look at for some small dishes before you become full on noodles and soup. You’ll find 15+ izakaya options including Chilled Tofu (Soft tofu drizzled with a soy sauce dressing or a spicy dressing), Onigiri (Japanese rice balls), Takoyaki (Octopus Dumplings with aonori, okonomi sauce, mayo and bonito flakes), and Potato Croquette (deep-fried vegetable croquettes drizzled with tonkotsu sauce), and Chicken Karaage (deep-fried marinated chicken with spicy mayo).
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya offers 11 kinds of ramen, varying from the traditional Miso (using Hokkaido miso), Shoyu (flavored with soy sauce from Yamaguchi prefecture), and Shio (flavored with French sea salt or a version with both the French sea salt and yuzu, a Japanese citrus) and their signature Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with extra-rich shoyu-flavored pork broth with lots of garlic to Chicken Rich, Spicy, and even a Veggie Ramen with slightly spicy, all vegetarian shiitake mushroom and kelp stock flavored with miso and thickened with soy milk and ground sesame seeds.
They also have a dipping ramen (where the ramen does not come in broth and instead you dip it into a sauce) called Tsukemen Ramen, a type you don’t often see at most noodle places. I haven’t tried it yet though – it’s a great option when it’s too hot for broth. The only other place I know of in Portland that has this is Shigezo.
I definitely recommend the garlic tonkatsu, as well as the yuzu shio. Some bowls are offered in both traditional or low sodium versions, which is unique among ramen places. If you are vegetarian, this is one of the few places in Portland that offers a vegetarian option for you (and the only one in Beaverton that I know of the three places). Customize your bowl with more than a dozen additional toppings including being able to order additional broth or additional noodles. If you order additional noodles, you can choose the type of refills for your bowl from three types of noodles. My favorite are the wavy kind.
Noodle refills are common in Japan and I don’t often see the option to add more to your ramen bowl when the broth is awesome but you want more noodles for texture of just filling up on the deep broth. I find it tastes a little different from when I spend those first ideal 7 minutes or so slurping up the noodles when just added to the broth and it’s piping hot to my second helping when the soup has cooled a bit more and any toppings I’ve added have absorbed their flavors into the broth more. This also is a way to take it home for more enjoyment if you can’t finish the broth since the noodles will be separated (make sure you put them in different containers).
I think Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya is a great option for the many people I know out there who don’t live in Portland and complain that to get great food you have to drive into the city. So here’s something I highly recommend out there on the West Side for you that is as good and in some aspects better then the many ramen options in the city, and unlike some of the other ramen options in the area is one of the bigger locations to accommodate families and groups easily.
Have you heard of or been to Kizuki before? Where is your favorite ramen place in Portland – is it on PDX Eater Essential Ramen Map that I helped curate or did I miss something?