Strings Ramen Shop | Chinatown | Chinese, Noodles | Restaurant
Noodle shop dedicated exclusively to ramen.

Our Review

I can't help but beat my head against the truth that the current wave of ramen slingers who do a million other things besides ramen will never make a superior bowl. So I was perhaps unreasonably excited about Strings Ramen in Chinatown, which opened in early 2013 with a relatively focused menu of four ramen styles, a few rice bowls, some sides, and oden, the winter snack made of various skewered bits (fish cakes, sausage, boiled eggs, and other things) bathing in a slow-simmering dashi broth. Unlike those at most spots in town, the noodles here are made fresh daily with an imported Japanese mixer and noodle maker. They're thin, firm, and have a fresh, almost floury taste that stands up well in any broth you choose. These include a turkey-and-salt-based shio ramen with pickled ginger, fish cake, and boiled egg; a light, clear, soy-based shoyu ramen with added smokiness from bonito; a miso-and-pork-based broth with corn, garlic, sesame, and white pepper; and, finally, the big daddy, tonkotsu, made with a 48-hour Kurobuta (aka Berkshire) pork-bone boil. The latter two broths are nearly indistinguishable, both pleasingly sticky with rendered collagen and just a hint of animal funk, and both offer the chance to upgrade the pork quotient with pieces of grilled Kurobuta chashu. Yet despite that 48-hour bone bath, the broth in each is surprisingly flat, missing depth and body. The real winner at Strings is the chazuke, or rice tea bowl, available with chicken, chicken and pork, salmon roe, scallops, or duck. The duck chazuke features a fan of pink sliced duck breast with scallions and pink pickled ginger bedded on firm white rice. Hot tea is poured over the top, which cooks the duck just slightly and is absorbed into the rice, making a simple, clean bowl that trumps the clumsiness of the others.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
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