By Anna Ing, a food aficionado
The cold weather calls for hot, soupy noodles. With a willing friend, we tried out two of Boston’s ramen places.
Ramen nights start at 11 p.m. on any Thursday, Friday or Saturday at Uni, attached to Ken Oringer’s uber fancy Clio Restaurant. This Japanese restaurant serves a limited menu of ramen, pork and duck buns, and even a Japanese style hot dog.
The compact space that usually is a sushi bar is darkly lit and each table has a simple menu written on a piece of cardboard. Don’t be fooled, though, this is not a cheap Japanese ramen stand by any means. The price point was a bit pricey. For example, a lone pork belly bun was $8. Although the pork was good quality, it was a bit on the dry side.
The duck bun was better and the hoisin sauce and scallions made it taste almost Peking style with the mantou, or Chinese steamed bun.
As for the ramen, the braised beef with kimchi sounded appetizing but the regular ramen was better. Served in a large bowl, we were disappointed with the small portion and the broth barely covered the noodles. The noodles were acceptable, with good chewiness. The broth for the kimchi ramen was too subtle but the highlight was the braised beef, despite the tiny portion. The soy-based broth for the regular ramen was better, with a heavenly slow-cooked poached egg. A bowl of ramen goes for $10.
Sapporo Ramen is located in the restaurant stall row inside Porter Square. It has limited seating, always has a line and accepts only cash. Patrons are seated when everyone in the party is there. Service is efficient and a menu with photos is handed out while you wait.
The house meat broth is cooked over high heat for more than 10 hours to extract collagen for a hearty, cream-colored broth. Vegetarians can enjoy a vegetable-based broth as well. The appetizer prices are cheaper than at Uni’s but ramen prices are the same at $10. Sapporo offers more entrée options than Uni, including curry rice plates.
There were two pork buns which we enjoyed more. While the meat was not Berkshire pork belly, they were moist with a tiny bit of mayo and were easier to share.
The house ramen had great flavor and body with nori, corn, egg, scallions and bean sprouts. We liked the heartiness of the soup broth and the noodles were just right for us in texture and chewiness. Boston’s ramen scene may not rival New York City’s, but the options are promising.
|Uni370A Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
|Sapporo Ramen1815 Massachusetts Avenue
This post is also available in: Chinese