3 years ago, I had real ramen for the first time at Blue Ginger, and it opened my eyes to a world of noodle deliciousness. Most Bostonians will lament the lack of authentic ramen in the area, especially after Ken’s ramen in Allston closed (to open a new shop in Japan, of all places!). When YumeWoKatare opened, the buzz was undeniable as it manifested itself in 1 to 2 hour long waits that stretched down the block, all the way to the Dunkin’ Donuts.
There has been a particularly chilling cold front in Boston this past week and in my own twisted but logical thinking, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally experience the ramen everyone has been swooning over. I figured only real die hard lunatics would be willing stand outside in the frigid weather and therefore my wait would be shorter. I was right; I got there at 5:45 and was reward by a 15 minute wait. Insanity wins!
The restaurant is tiny; there are 9 seats at a large communal table and 6 seats at the counter, overlooking the kitchen. You order when you enter; there are 2 options, soup with 2 slices of pork ($12) or 5 slices ($14). When your soup is ready, the chef will ask you if you want garlic or not. Now is also the time to tell him if you would like extra garlic, extra veggies or extra pork fat. There is no charge for the extras. I went with extra garlic and soon received a steaming hot bowl of ramen in pork and soy enriched broth topped with bean sprouts, cabbage, 2 thick slices of fatty pork and a mound of raw garlic.
People are saying that the bowls are huge and difficult to finish; I have no idea what they are talking about. I was able to polish mine off with no trouble. The noodles are thick and pleasantly chewy, and the broth is rich, although a tad greasy (I would not recommend the extra pork). As much as I enjoyed the ramen, I think the Blue Ginger ramen is superior, a cleaner tasting broth with miso and caramelized onions. Still, if there was no wait, I could see myself becoming a regular.
1923 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140