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Restaurants & Bars 6

Ryowa Ramen Berkeley

Miele Maiale | Oct 26, 200509:02 PM

A group of 6 intrepid office workers trooped over to University Avenue this rainy October day to slurp noodles and munch on gyoza.

Having closely followed Melanie's Ramen Research Reports, I chose #2 with Chasu, Wakame, Nori, Egg, and Pickled Vegetables, but substituted a shio broth to test the kitchen's stock expertise. I ordered my noodles hard and was rewarded with springy spirals that had some sass even after a few minutes of bowlsoaking.

The broth was assertive and elegant, living up to all expectations, and really was a revelation to me (I've never really focused on ramen broths before). However, my colleagues reported that they did not enjoy the shoyu broth's oily, coat-the-palate quality (that mine did not have). High marks for the deep flavored roast pork with just enough fat to make the experience a silky, porky treat.

While I did not try the combo plates, all reported that the fried rice was superb, and gyoza to die for. By the looks of them, the translucent skins and well-caramelized bottoms suggested proper assembly and proper cooking care. I cannot personally vouch for the filling, however.

I also tried a tea egg on the side, and loved it's pretty pattern and smoky flavor. I could snack on these any day of the week!

The service, while earnest, left much to be desired by way of detail. Our orders were timed unevenly, and there were many misunderstandings and uncalled-for substitutions.

Overall, Ryowa Ramen deserves it's high ranking on Melanie's ramen list, but next time, I'll go with a smaller group, and give myself a full 2 hours to account for any service glitches.

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