Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ramen Bar

Ramen Bar, which opened at 4040 Locust on Tuesday, is a welcome addition to the University City dining scene, filling a gap in noodle offerings in West Philly. The restaurant boasts a fully renovated space, with clean lines and hardwood finishings. The food is tasty and the prices are reasonable (most of the entrees are around $10 and most of the appetizers are below that). I ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen, a pork bone soup with hunks of pork belly, scallions, ginger, bamboo and mushrooms. The pork belly was tender and well-seasoned, and the broth was the perfect combination of salty and savory. For $9, this is a great dinner deal--it's so much soup that I couldn't finish it. I also tried the seaweed salad ($5), a standard that was good if not exceptional, and the green tea ice cream ($5), another bargain portion size-wise. Like many new businesses, though, Ramen Bar has a few kinks to work out before it's ready for primetime. The service was slow (it was a long time before they brought the water I asked for and I had to ask twice) and they might want to spell-check their menu ("appetitizers," anyone?). However, I'm confident that given time, Ramen Bar will smooth about these little hiccups and make this place a must-try for noodle lovers the city over.

Check out the full menu over at Grub Street Philly.

-- Kiley Bense

I am a huge ramen fan. My first experience with ramen was in the summer of 2010 in Tokyo, and I fell in love with it. After that I visited a number of ramen restaurants in Seoul, Busan (another Korean city), Philadelphia, New York, and even London. Still, the ramen I had for the first time remained the best. The ramen places that I visited in Korea were good, some amazing, but some of the ones I went to in Philly and New York were disappointing. Maybe I had picked the wrong restaurants, but it was enough to chisel in me the notion that if I wanted really tasty and authentic ramen, I would need to wait until my next visit to Korea or Japan. I had been satiating my ramen cravings at Tampopo (near 44th and Spruce), which actually sells okay ramen, but being always in search for great ramen, I was more than ready to try out Ramen Bar on 40th and Locust. My friend and I arrived at Ramen Bar around 7:15, and since the restaurant just opened, it was no surprise to find the place brimming with people. After waiting 20 minutes, we were seated, but had to wait another 10 minutes for the waiter to bring the water. I ordered my favourite Tonkotsu Ramen, and my friend ordered the Spicy Miso Ramen. Then waited another 30 or 40 minutes for the food. The Tonkotsu ramen has pork bone broth, while the Miso of course has miso base. I ladled my long-anticipated Tonkotsu ramen soup to my mouth, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually quite delicious. The broth was rich and savory. The meaty flavour was there, but did not overwhelm; and was not too oily or salty, which was the opinion of a couple of my friends who had already eaten here. The yolk of the egg was moist, and the slice of pork (chashu) was very generously thick and succulent. My only complaint is that the noodles were clumped together. The clump did not separate well at all, so I felt like chewing on a big piece of flour at times. I only had a ladle of the Spicy Miso ramen soup, which was equally good, but did not try the noodles, which were thicker than my Tonkotsu ones. Lucky for my friend, his noodles were not all stuck together. So overall, the meal itself was highly satisfactory, and the decor and location are very nice--but I was not impressed with the service. Of course, the place was jam-packed even when we left but the waiters were not very attentive. Hopefully when the hype dies down a little bit, the service and speed will improve, because I do want to visit this place again... and again... and again.

-- Emily Yoon

Ramen Bar
4040 Locust St

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...