Ramen Zetton: Japanese Quesadillas!
Let me start this review with something unprecedented: a correction and an apology. In our March 14 OC People issue, we misidentified the author of the cover piece on La Niña del Mezcal mujer Cecilia Ríos Murrieta as Yesenia Varela. The real author was our own Dave Lieberman. We regret and apologize for the error—and by "we," I mean me, as it's my fault for the fuck-up.
I'm really torn up about it because it was the second year in a row I did this to Dave, one of our regular writers for our Stick a Fork In It blog, as well as a personal friend. Dave is one of the most brilliant people I know, a man who has done everything—from working on a hog farm in Iowa to moonlighting as a Hollywood head to writing for this infernal rag. If I ever have a question about anything, whether the name of the score for one of the opening musical pieces during the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony (Borodin's "Polovstian Dances") or how to prepare garden snails for consumption (feed them carrots so they can purify themselves), Dave's the man. To make up for my egregious error, I should take him to Ramen Zetton, the most hidden member of Costa Mesa's Ramen Row, wedged in the same obscure strip mall the Huddle calls home. It's barely open for lunch, then reopens again for dinner for a spell, its four tables and counter perpetually occupied with people slurping down ramen in various manifestations: spicy, with more pork, more veggies, more whatever the customer wants. I'm not one of those purists who swear by the fat content in a particular broth or where the pork is sourced from, but these are honest bowls that work wonders against all the ailments of the human condition.
But what I like best about Zetton is, bizarrely enough, the quesadilla. It's really nothing special—chasu pork in a flour tortilla mixed alongside Cheddar cheese—except for the sides: a spicy miso that functions as a thick salsa and one of the best pico de gallos I've ever had, tart and bright and spicy as hell. The Japanese have legendarily conquered Italian and French food; the mind boggles as to what they can do with Mexican. And when that happens, you know our Dave Lieberman will be there to expound on the phenomenon with his usual brilliance—and correct byline.
Ramen Zetton, 735 Baker St., Ste. B, Costa Mesa, (714) 241-1625.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.