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Aug 6, 2009 04:18 PM

You want noodle soup?

I hesitated to post this as there have been so many on noodle soups and on this place in particular, but today I went to Ken's Noodle house at the Super 88 in Allston (which market is even more lame than a short time ago, though the food court is still rocking). I also wavered between the Pho Viet and Ken's....I love the Pho at this place a lot.

The Ken's bowl of Sapporo miso ramen was amazing, as always, so carefully composed, perfectly proportioned, seasoned, garnished. Wow. I have had this more times than I can count but it still makes me smile each time I eat it.

Just a push, not for Ken so much as for noodle soup lovers, go there. Sit at the counter and watch Ken make the soup. Slurp it up, Enjoy. I don't think there is a better noodle soup experience in Boston.

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  1. Ooh, we'll have to hit it...Miso ramen is a good thing!

    1. This! I love watching the ramen-making process and hope we can show Ken's enough love so he can keep on going. Times are hard, hounds. Get out there and support your favorite places.

      15 Replies
      1. re: yumyum

        A number of sites note that Ken Ramen is open until 2:00 AM, but there are no hours listed on their own site and nobody's picking up the phone at 11:00 PM. Can anybody confirm that they're open so late, or are those outdated hours still floating around the 'net?

        1. re: Dmnkly

          You are more likely to find me on the moon than at Ken's ramen at 2 a.m. but maybe other nocturnal hounds can speak to Ken's hours.

          1. re: yumyum

            You know what, nevermind... apparently there's a similarly-named place in SoCal that's open late, and their hours have been confused on a number of sites that aggregate such info. Ken's in Boston will definitely not be fulfilling a 1:00 AM noodle craving.

            1. re: Dmnkly

              No way on earth would Ken's in Boston be open that late: their hours are unfortunately quite restricted, and they take a lot of long vacations, too.

              But I think there's no contest that Ken's has the best ramen in the city.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                I had someone tell me recently that they preferred Sapporo in the Porter Exchange food court, but I haven't tried that one in years, and it didn't wow me last time. That could have been several ownership changes ago for all I know.

                I've always thought Ken was the best in a very limited field here in Boston. It held up beautifully just the other day, another high point in a Chow crawl with many peaks. But I was surprised to (re-)learn that Ken's is closed on Wednesdays. That was the same day that Pho Viet ran out of banh mi rolls. (We hit both the next day.)


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I've always wanted to try REAL Japanese ramen, but I'm a little afraid there will be sesame in the broth. Sesame oil is fine for me, but I'm pretty allergic to sesame seeds. It's never a problem when they're sprinkled on top of things, because I can always ask them to withhold it. However, I'm not sure if, traditionally, there might be sesame (seeds) - perhaps ground in a paste - in ramen broth.

                  Would anyone know if this is typical? Also, would Ken (or its employees) be open to telling me this information? I know some places can be very unwilling to understand an allergy.

                  1. re: Prav

                    I can't say for Ken's since I haven't tried, but the ramen I had in throughout Japan didn't have sesame paste in its soup base. Whether it's just the kind I've ordered, or if that's standard I don't know.

                    1. re: Prav

                      I did not detect any sesame in Ken's ramen, and as kobuta notes it doesn't seem to be an ingredient in Japan Ramen shops either. That said, it is possible that the roasted pork had sesame in the marinade (I do not know). I'd say go and ask before you order, Ken's English, or that of his waitstaff, seems good enough that they will undrstand.

                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                      Unless something has changed dramatically at Sapporo, it's no contest.

                      For Prav: I don't think sesame is a regular part of the Ken's regime but I also don't think you will have a lot of luck conveying your serious allergy. Can we find someone to speak Japanese for us? I'll go with you but don't want to have to stab you with the epi pen.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        You know you secretly look forward to Epi-stabbing me! You will put the 'Epi' back in EPIC.

                        1. re: yumyum

                          Sorry for bumping this old thread, but I wanted to come clean about Sapporo Ramen in the Porter Square Exchange. Apparently I have been confusing it with Tampopo next door, and Sapporo really is a cut above. Had the miso ramen today and it was delicious. Buttery broth, good noodles, bean sprouts, scallions and sliced pork on top. No egg, sadly, but corn kernals instead. An interesting addition.

                          I love the ritual at Ken's, and I think his noodles are better. But Sapporo will scratch that ramen itch this side of the river, and it's not to be dismissed out of hand.

                          Sometimes I get weary of the knee-jerk conventional wisdom on this board. Believe me, I do it too ... instantly replying to requests for salt and pepper shrimp with Peach Farm, etc.... but I think the chowish sense of exploration and discovery gets lost in that shuffle, and we can do better. I'm going to try.

                          Peach Farm
                          4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                          1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                          Sapporo Ramen
                          1815 Massachusetts Ave Ste M5, Cambridge, MA 02140

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Sapporo Ramen did indeed completely revamp their ramen last year. I was very surprised. They changed noodle suppliers and went to a chicken based broth, which I think caters better to American tastes. It's lighter obviously.

                            I enjoyed that the noodles had a bit of spring to them. It's completely different and worth checking out. The Cha-han is good and so are the Gyoza. It's a legit ramen-ya now.

                            I can't compare it to Ken's as I have never made it on the right days. But I can tell you Sapporo is about as good as a second-tier NY ramen place.

                            Sapporo Ramen
                            1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                            1. re: tatsu

                              sapporo is ok, ken's is definitely better. that said, i didn't think either was super extra special, unlike the ramen i had at ippudo in nyc which was phenomenal.

                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                          Sapporo Ramen has improved in the past few years. I like both Ken's and Sapporo for different reasons. The only other Japanese ramen restaurant I know of is MenTei. I haven't been there in years. Would love to see some Ippudo style ramen here.

                          Sapporo Ramen
                          1815 Massachusetts Ave Ste M5, Cambridge, MA 02140

                          1. re: robertlf

                            Ippudo is pretty good. But it's still second-rate for Japan and it's 2-3 times more expensive. I really dislike the decor and the setup. It's a hot mess.