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The Route 58 Delicatessen

We were driving around Norfolk and Virginia Beach recently checking out flea markets and antique malls and found this place tucked away in an unassuming shopping center off Virginia Beach Boulevard. We paused and almost stopped in a trendy looking place in the same shopping center, but decided to go a little farther, and one look at the kitchy signs on the front window and we knew we had to try the Route 58 Delicatessen.

Once we were inside and got a good look at the menu, we knew this was a good pick. It was just the sort of place Guy Fieri would feature in “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. It was a true New York deli with everything you’d expect to find in one  – from knishes and potato cakes to chopped liver and bagels with salty lox.  After looking at the menu, we had to try the corned beef and pastrami, for which we learned they are well known.

After perusing the menu, we had to try the corned beef and pastrami — wha t we learned they’re best known for. The portions were so large that we ended up taking out enough for a least one more meal, maybe two . Matt ordered the hot corned beef and pastrami combo, and I was intrigued by the Deli Dogs — two hot dogs covered with chopped corned beef and pastrami, served with cole slaw pasta salad or potato salad.

The meats were perfectly cooked, everything was delicious and the service was fast and friendly. Our only complaint was that we had no room left to try a dessert and the cheesecakes and other desserts looked amazing. The portions were so large that we ended up taking out enough for a least one more meal, maybe two. This is one place that we definitely want to visit again.

THE NITTY GRITTY:
The Route 58 Delicatessen is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.  It is located at 4000 Virginia Beach Boulevard. Prices are affordable – we give it $$ out of a possible $-$$$$$. Visit the deli’s website at http://www.58deli.com/.

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Takara Ramen

We’ve watched a lot of cooking shows about ramen noodle soup, and are intrigued by the versatility of this Japanese staple. Ramen is basically Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a fish- or meat-based broth with some basic add-ins like pork, dried seaweed and scallions. Though relatively simple by nature, there are apparently endless ways to add complexity and layers of flavor to this soup. In fact, nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of it.

You can often get a basic ramen soup at many Chinese or Japanese restaurants, but we were really excited when we stumbled upon Takara Ramen, a restaurant dedicated almost exclusively to authentic Japanese ramen, right here in Richmond not far from home a few months ago. We’ve returned several times since then, and like the service, the food and the casual atmosphere. And don’t worry if you’re not sure of the correct way to eat ramen, the directions are displayed in bold text across the bar at the front of the restaurant. And yes, slurping your noodles is an essential part of the whole ramen experience.

We’ve tried several of the different soups offered as well as the appetizers, which are extremely delicious, even if the portions are a bit small. The soups are served in really large bowls, and are delight to all the senses, including smell and sight. The only dish we haven’t really, really liked so far is the curry beef and rice, ironically one of only a few items offered on the menu that’s not ramen.

THE NITTY GRITTY:
Takara Ramen is open for lunch and dinner, and is located at 9468 W. Broad Street in Henrico. Prices are affordable – we give it $$ out of a possible $-$$$$$.