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Jul 10, 2011 08:12 PM

Serious Ramen in Boston?

I just got the first issue of David Chang's Lucky Peach. The whole thing is devoted to ramen and I have been craving the stuff for a week now. Does anyone know where you can get the good stuff here in Boston? The only noodle shop I know of is the one on Gloucester Street of Newbury and that place is so so at best.

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  1. There is no serious ramen in Boston.

    That being said, if you're craving that experience, give a shot at the recipes in the magazine, or try Marc Matsumoto's recipes:

    1. There are two ramen places in Boston - Sapporo in Porter Exchange (in Cambridge) and Pikachai in the Super 88 in Allston. I like Sapporo. Ramen afficianados put them in the "ok" camp, with better ramen in New York City..

      Don't try to make your own noodles - you can pick up some decent refrigerated ramen noodles at Ebisuya market in Medford if you want to make your own dish..

      You can also try Wagamama, which isn't really a dedicated ramen place.. never tried their noodles..

      5 Replies
      1. re: grant.cook

        i would give Wagamama a miss. i'm no ramen expert and yet i feel that their noodles (and broth) are lackluster versions.

        57 Jfk St, Cambridge, MA 02138

        1. re: grant.cook

          Wagamama, no, shouldn't even be discussed here, sorry. Pikachi is new, haven't tried. Men Tei in Back Bay, lord knows why they stay in business, it could be the worst Japanese run Japanese restaurant, a true embarrassment. Sapporo is surprisingly good after their reformulated recipes and slight update of the place in 2010.

          Sapporo is about as good as a 2nd tier NYC place, or perhaps 3-4 standard deviations away from good Japanese ramen in Japan. As much as I hate the hype, decor, and snotty attitude, Ippudo in NYC is as close as it gets here. But there are some unique places such as Kubuya that I'd much prefer to patronize. That would be my reco right now. Sorry it's in NY. Try Sapporo in Porter until then.

          57 Jfk St, Cambridge, MA 02138

          1. re: tatsu

            Been to both Pikachi and Sapporo and prefer Sapporo by a mile. Others have lamented the too thick / rich broth at Sapporo, but I like it a lot. Their pork can be hit or miss, though ... one day juicy and fatty the way I like it, the next kinda dried out and stringy. Not tier one for sure, but it will do in a pinch.

          2. re: grant.cook

            I should mention that the Sapporo reformulated broth is a less porky version, done with chicken partially. It's a light style of shio ramen somewhat inspired by Ramen Setagaya award-winning (in Japan) formula, which is no longer in NYC unfortunately. That is only my speculation, however. The noodles were changed in 2010 as well, I think the company is called "Wave" or something like that, from Japan. Not bad. I think Sapporo's cha-han and gyoza were as respectable as their ramen, so in my book, a true ramen shop. I'll give it my reco, in Boston.

            1. re: grant.cook

              Finally, lately, I'd rather have Chinese noodles at Eo Noodle in Framingham. Deliciously springy noodles (esp the thin ones) you won't find anywhere else.


            2. If you're anything like me, even though under ideal circumstances you do want the BEST ramen you can find, you'd probably rather just go and have a bowl made for you even if it's "just decent" than slaving away making your own broth and noodles for hours and hours.

              I agree with grant.cook above that Sapporo and Pikaichi are the only places worth really trying, and they are in the "decent" to "pretty good" category. I prefer Pikaichi over Sapporo. I think both places are "serious" about their ramen, but it just isn't anywhere near the best in the world by NYC or Tokyo or any other standard. But who cares, it's what we got here so that's where I go when I want ramen. When I have a craving, these places do hit the spot.

              Wagamama isn't really Japanese ramen at all... Sure there are noodles in the bowl, but the broth is bland and dishwater-ish... I'm gonna just stop talking about it.

              1. I have had ramen at David Chang's Noodle Bar in NYC and at Sapporo Ramen in Porter Square. They are equally satisfying on the 'wow, that was a great meal' scale. On the 'golden standard of authenticity to some elusive concept of correctness' scale...I can't really offer comment.

                I've also prepared ramen at home using David Chang's recipe for broth, dashi, and pickled vegetables and mushrooms from his Momofuku cookbook. (I use store bought noodles). This has ultimately been the most satisfying as I enjoy cooking, but is the least convenient. (Even traveling to NYC from MA for a bowl at Noodle Bar is faster than making your own at home!)

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

                1. Does anybody else have thoughts on San Soo Kap San Sushi in HMart's food court?
                  I am far from a "serious" ramen aficionado; but when Ken's went away their tonkatsu larmen took a place as a regular on my lunch roster.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: noforkplease

                    Never tried it, but everytime I am in the H-Mart food court I can't resist another national dish - the dolsot bibimbap at the Korean place at the end of the line of shops..

                    3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803