I (finally) had a Saturday off where I had nowhere in particular to be, and I decided to wander around Philly.
Though I didn’t plan to get off the el at 40th St, I did anyway. As I walked through University City, I saw a young man with a surf board. I hoped to ask him why he was walking around a city in winter with a surfboard, and decided to go the way he was going.
I didn’t get to speak with him, but the curiosity led me to a place that had a sign that said “Eat”.
I was instantly intrigued, and getting hungry. When I turned to the door of the restaurant, I saw that it was called Ramen Bar. Not counting that stuff in the packaging at the market on the bottom shelf, the last time I had ramen was a few years ago in Mitsuwa in New Jersey. I was past due for a good bowl.
With that in mind, I walked inside.
The first things I noticed upon entry were the sushi and beverage bar on the right, the scent of miso, and the typed out sign that read “Please Wait To Be Seated”. I was barely in the door before being greeted and taken to a table in the back. As I looked down the row of seats (since all the tables were in one row down the left hand side), I noticed more Asian customers than not, and the majority of the clientele as well as the workers were younger.
I didn’t have long to dwell on these thoughts before being asked what I wanted. The waitress was wonderful in guiding me towards a decision. I ordered a green curry ramen with vegan broth.
I expected more of an Indian green curry because I had forgotten that Japanese and Indian curry are quite different. I detected miso when I smelled and tasted the broth, but I believe I also tasted wasabi, and the bamboo shoots in this curry gave it a pungent flavor. The sesame oil in it also contributed a nuttiness. I thought it was delicious because I tend to favor a complexity of flavors, and I like how all of the different tastes–the piquant, salty, savory, nutty and pungent–blended well together.
Overall, if piquancy rings your bell, this is the ramen for you; however, if it’s not, there are many other offerings on the menu that looked just as delicious. It’s also a vegetarian and vegan friendly establishment, which is great for those that are vegan or vegetarian, and in want of a place to dine out.
I’ll definitely come back to this place when I get a craving for ramen. The price was great; It was $10 for what I ordered. I’ll also have to remember cash when I go again since there is a $15 card minimum.
I will also “kae-dama” next time I go. This is the term you use when you would like more noodles, and it’s only an extra $2. There was more than enough broth in my bowl for extra noodles. I was satisfied at the time, so I didn’t do it… but I’m going for it on my next visit.