(tonkotsu ramen from Yakitori Jinbei)
Ramen is so much more than a college foodstuff that comes in a packet. It's comforting, delicious and a wellmade bowl can soothe the weary body and soul. I'm pretty convinced that this is one food I could eat this every single day without getting tired of it.
There's quite a bit of places around Atlanta to get this comforting bowl of noodles. While I'm no ramen-otaku, I've been to these places enough to know how consistent the noodles are and the taste of each ramen. I'll mention all the other stuff I've had at each restaurant but I'll mainly talk about the tonkotsu ramen which is what I usually get.
I love the tonkotsu ramen from YJ. It's creamy, rich and the salt level is spot on - not too salty and not too bland but just right. One of the most consistently good ramens I've had in Atlanta. The only con? I wish they gave me more slices of their delicious, fatty pork. Totally worth the trip.
Their torisoborodon (rice bowl with eggs and ground chicken, pictured above) is tasty as well so if you're in the mood for rice over noodles, get that instead.
(pork takana don)
If you're around K-town aka Duluth and craving a bowl of ramen, Haru Ichiban is your place to go. I recommend going for lunch because their ramen tends to get a bit salty at night and the ramen is cheaper (same size) during the daytime. If you do go during lunch, get their pork takana bowl too. Delicious slices of pork that are used to top the ramen with rice. In comparison to YJ, the soup (in my opinion) is a little saltier but there are times I crave that salt. I appreciate the generous slices of pork they give you too. A lunch time favorite.
(spicy tonkotsu ramen)
The 5 times I've been to Umaido, I've had mixed experiences. The first time I went, I got the tonkotsu ramen and I'll be completely blunt - I thought it sucked. It was so bland and the soup had no taste. They make their own noodles and unlike the chewy store bought ramen, it has more of a soba/Korean janchi gukso texture. What I did like was the huge slices of delicious chasyu they gave you and that soft boiled egg. That soft boiled egg is *beepin* delicious.
Some time passed and people started hyping up Umaido's rich soup on Twitter. The first time I went, I didn't get the rich soup so I decided to give them another go thinking maybe that's why my bowl wasn't very good. On my second visit, I did get the rich soup added in (I'm told that it's just pork fat) and the soup was...good! It had taste and it had salt. The rich soup made it feel more creamier and made the ramen oilier but in a good way. Umaido's broth kinda reminds me of Sapporo Ichiban Original's soup base. Just sayin.
I went back a third time wanting that same soup as before but to my dismay, even with the rich soup added in, I got the same bland bowl of ramen as my first visit. What I did get along with the ramen was the chasyu bowl - chopped chasyu with Japanese mayo. I liked it and it's a cheap add-in if you go at lunch.
My fourth visit - long story short - I got the same, tasty bowl of ramen as my second visit. The huge slices of chasyu and soft boiled egg? Delicious - every, single, time.
With the score tied 2-2, I made a fifth visit to settle this BO5. Ironically, my 5th bowl was somewhere between the good and bad so I didn't get the final score I was looking for.
In conclusion? The ramen is inconsistent. I wish the soup was more spot on everytime because when it's good, it's tasty. Their homemade noodles are of a different texture than the chewy storebought ones and while it's not good or bad - it's just different. What I love about Umaido is their awesome service and toppings. Garlic, chili oil, beni shoga and sesame seeds are right on your table so you can add them in if needed. Their gigantic slices of pork are tender, creamy and delicious. Finally, their soft boiled egg is just awesome. I'd go just for the eggs. You can get an additional egg in your ramen for $1.85. If you're not worried about cholesterol levels I'd totally get another one. Word.
PS. that little hook that lets the spoon hang off your bowl Umaido is genius.