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Bring me all the Black Garlic Oil!

Yelp released their 100-Best Places To Eat In The United States, and surprisingly, there were a handful of San Diego spots that made the cut -- one of which was in Carlsbad!? The city is a lot of things, but a food destination it is not. So to see a local restaurant make a top-100 list was surprising in-itself. To see that the restaurant broke the top #20, well, this we had to check out for ourselves.

GONZO! Ramen is located in a cute and unassuming little spot in Carlsbad Village. This is a family-owned place, run by Mika and Jamison Murphy with the help of their three sons -- which we love to support. Apparently the Murphys raised their boys in Japan until about 12 years ago, when they all moved to San Diego and pursued the dream of opening a ramen spot that could rival the ones they enjoyed in Japan.

The menu has a pretty broad range of appetizers and a few Bowls, but we stuck with the ramen. We both ordered the GONZO! BLACK, which is a tonkotsu chicken and pork broth with black garlic oil, served over egg noodles, kikurage mushrooms, green onions, red pickled ginger, bean sprouts, a perfectly-cooked "6-min" soft-boiled egg, and two of the most flavorful and fatty pieces of pork chashu that I've had in a while.

I opted for the spicy version; my kiddo got sans-spice. And honestly, the ramen was pretty damn delicious. The tonkotsu broth is rich and full of umami-flavored-goodness, made even more delicious with the addition of black garlic oil. The noodles are thinner, and have a really nice texture to them. Firm, but not too dense, which in combination of the pork and other toppings, was kind of the perfect compliment.

To be warned, the spicy version is made hotter with chili oil, which on top of the black garlic oil, was just a little too oily for my taste. And although I like a little heat, the chili oil in this case, distracted from the delicious flavor of the broth. If I were to eat this again, which I definitely will, I'll likely stick with the purist version.

All in all, it was a delicious lunch and will be a welcome addition to my North County food rotation.

Contact Info:

GONZO! Ramen

300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92009

(760) 672-5111


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