Ramen, Bacon, Mochi, Fried Banana, Oh My!
For letter I of Alphabet Dining, I ventured to Izakaya Sozai with my friend Michelle. Izakaya Sozai is located in the Outer Sunset (read: fog), and is the perfect place for a nice warm bowl of ramen. Little did we know, we were in for a more creative menu than noodles and broth.
Bacon- Wrapped Mochi
Izakaya Sozai is known for it's ramen and it's Japanese tapas, or small plates. Their innovative menu has such things as Bacon-Wrapped Mochi, shown above. For those unfamiliar, mochi is a gelatinous rice cake/paste. It is squishy and often seen in frozen yogurt shops as a topping. The beauty of a plate which combines bacon and mochi is the juxtaposition of mochi's gelatinous texture and subtle essence with the classic crunch and full flavor of bacon. If anything, the bacon's flavor may have been a bit too overpowering for the mochi, but I delighted in the combination of textures.
Ramen with Pork Belly and Hard Boiled Egg
Of course, I ended up ordering the Ritsu Tonkotsu Ramen, with an addition of Pork Belly. This ramen comes with noodles in a pork broth, a hard-boiled egg, seaweed, and healthy portion of green spring onions. It was a bit salty for my taste, but the pork belly was soft and flavorful, and the noodles were plentiful and hearty.
Fried Banana and Strawberry Dessert
For dessert, we got the Fried Banana with Strawberries and Chocolate Syrup. Just like the Bacon Mochi, the beauty of the fried banana is the symbiotic relationship between the fried outer crunch with the soft inner banana. Though quite ubiquitous, it's a fun, sweet dessert that you can never go wrong with.
The great thing about Izakaya Sozai is they go above and beyond the minimum ramen menu. Seasonal SF trends are taken into account with the pork belly additions in the ramen. Innovative menu options like the bacon-wrapped mochi set the experience apart from other neighborhood ramen spots. Though the pork broth in the ramen was a bit salty in my opinion, I recommend Izakaya Sozai for a unique ramen experience that utilizes it's location in SF to stay trendy and different.