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 $$ out of a possible $-$$$$$.