A new Japanese restaurant opened up recently that serves several types of ramen. It's called Satsuma. They make the broth there but not the noodles. I don't eat pork and all their ramen are made with pork so I haven't tried it. The couple of dishes I had there were good and lots of Japanese folks were eating there when I was there. Maybe someone else can try the ramen there and report back.
8003 Norfolk Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
For the past couple of weeks I've really had ramen on the brain, since the closing of Ren's has sent me into a panic. I was in NYC over Labor Day weekend, and wanted to try the best ramen that NYC has to offer, by way of comparison with Ren's. NY hounds steered me to Ippudo.
Things that Ippudo does better than Ren's:
1) the pork that comes with it -- SO much better at Ippudo! This is the place where I wish Ren's would improve. Not only is quality of the pork way better at Ippudo, they also provide a lot more of it. I also opted to pay $4 extra for kakuni (braised pork belly). This was delicious as well, but not necessary as the pork that comes in it is so plentiful.
2) Ippudo tops its ramen with a large scoop (about 2 T.) of finely chopped ginger; I loved this addition.
3) the additions in general are better at Ippudo - here is how they describe their miso ramen on the menu: Soy bean paste flavored ramen noodle in 'the original tonkotsu' based soup with pork belly shashu, cabbage, spinach, menma, ginger & scallions.
4) there is lots more variety at Ippudo - they have 8 types of ramen. I ate there twice - once for the miso ramen and the second time I had "karaka miso" in which a "special blended hot spice" is added. both were excellent.
Things Ren's does better than Ippudo:
1) the broth -- I really prefer Ren's broth, which is richer, deeper and porkier. While it was good, Ippudo's broth seemed flat and watery in comparison
2) the noodles - the ones at Ren's seem a bit more substantial with a bit more chew than the ones at Ippudo (I tried both regular and "hard cooked" noodles at Ippudo)
3) price - a basic bowl of miso ramen at Ippudo is $13 (but the pork they use has to cost them more)
If Ren's improved the quality and quantity of their add-ins (especially upping the quality/quantity of the pork they use and adding chopped ginger), it would rise to the top of what NYC has to offer.
Ren's, please hurry back!
Thanks for the detailed comparison.
For me, I think Ippudo is significantly better across the board, including their pork broth. Hakata-style noodles are thin, so that comes down to preference. You may want to try the akamaru modern, which is sort of Ippudo's signature ramen, the next time you're in NYC. That's the one most people rave about.
Regardless, I hope Ren's returns quickly.
My husband and I moved to DC recently from LA and I'm jonesing for good ramen -- bad. I've been reading a lot about Ren's, but I'm disappointed to hear that it's closing. I hope it does open up in a location near public transportation. Can anyone tell me what their ramen is like? Do they let you choose how you want your noodles (eg. soft, normal, etc.)? What about the soup base? Can you choose that as well? Anywhere else we could try that's in DC proper or at least near metro? Thanks hounds.
I tired the miso ramen. I believe they also have shoyu. I thought the soup base was rich and deep. Very satisfying. The noodles were too soft and the regular pork topping is dry and uninteresting. As I place more importance on the soup base, this was a really good bowl of ramen for me. I never went back, but I would order the noodles 'katame' or hard if there is ever a next time. I would also pay for the upgraded 'fatty' pork topping which I have heard is much better.
I hope they can open back up. It was a valuable addition to the food choices in the DC area.
I went last Sunday and also had the miso ramen. They also had tonkotsu and vegetarian ramen, if memory serves (and maybe also shoyu?). I concur with Steve that the soup base was very good.
They were collecting e-mail addresses, I assume to notify patrons where they end up. I added mine and will post if I hear something.
They also have a Web site - www.ren-ramen.com.
re: Lori D
Thanks for the info, Lori D -- but ... I just emailed them at the address given on their site and got this:
Mail Delivery Subsystem to me
show details 10:59 AM (5 minutes ago)
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
Technical details of permanent failure:
DNS Error: Domain name not found
Grrrrr.... this is a huge pet peeve of mine. Don't give an email address if it isn't going to work!
I had dinner at Ren's last night. Probably my last in that location, sigh... Just wanted to give an updated report on the closing. Currently, their last day will be Sept. 3. They will be open on that day, but will probably close early. There is an upcoming meeting about when they have to pack up and go. At that meeting, it may be decided that they can stay another week - or two. This remains to be seen. They still haven't been able to find another location for the re-opening.
The miso ramen last night was as good as it always is. I so love Ren's Ramen and miss it already!