Co-owner and host Jeong Hoon Kim (Remember him? The tall, silky haired and rather inscrutable front-of-house host at Saketumi?) is pleased to bring one of his favorite dishes to the Cape Region. “These are not the Ramen noodles you buy in the store and throw into boiling water,” Kim warns. “We make these entirely from scratch with our own, proprietary recipe. We will serve the real thing.” The menu offers a selection of proteins to combine with your noodles, including chicken and beef.
Kim made a huge impression on Saketumi’s customers, so much so that Saketumi owner Tammy Wang has partnered with him in this exciting ramen venture. This is a power duo if there ever was one. The decor is somewhat reminiscent of a cross between Tammy’s Saketumi and the signature hi-tech/industrial look of the Chipotle stores: austere and clean. It’s hard to believe that it is the same space that housed the overly cramped and rather poorly managed Saladworks. The future looks good for Miyagi Ramen Bar.
Click here to listen to the podcast of Kim and Tammy on the Saturday, 7/22 Sip & Bite Show.
Our first experience – before their official opening – was a success. Aside from the standard first-day growing pains, every dish was beautifully spiced and presented (don’t take my word for it – scroll through the gallery). We started with the pork gyoza (dumplings). Lightly seared, the wrapper is the right texture and the fillings are nicely spiced. We also had to try the Chashu Bun (pork belly on a steam bun). This was particularly good because the pork belly was thinly sliced and seared, thus eliminating the possibility of chewing on a glob of fat on an undercooked park lardon. The char and slicing made all the difference. We had two orders. Don’t judge lest ye be judged.
One of our party of 4 had the signature dish, the Shio Ramen with chicken. The broth brought layers of flavor and in spite of the shio salt base (evaporated seawater salt), it was nicely balanced with a smooth, mild saltiness. A marinated egg, beautifully pickled ginger, nori and black garlic rounded out not only the visual experience but also the complex flavor palette. This is the perfect entry-level dish for the ramen-challenged. We would order it again in a minute.
Vegan Ramen with veggie/kelp broth.1/14 Miyagi Ramen Bar2/14 Miyagi Ramen Bar3/14 Simple, austere decor4/14 Miyagi Ramen Bar5/14 Pork dumpling appetizer6/14 Chicken katsu dish7/14 Kim and Tammy8/14 Chashu Bun (pork belly buns)9/14 Miyagi Ramen Bar10/14 That spicy miso ramen11/14 Age-dashi tofu appetizer12/14 Image courtesy Bryan Hecksher13/14 softshell crab14/14
I had the Spicy Miso Ramen bowl. The aggressive spice profile was simply delicious, and I sincerely hope that Tammy and Kim don’t give in to the spice wimps and mute this dish. It says spicy on the menu, so wimps be forewarned! But those of us who like personality on the end of our forks or spoons will love this nicely constructed entree. The obligatory egg made an appearance, along with a slice of that nicely charred pork, pickled ginger and bright green scallions.
One of our companions ordered the Chicken Katsu. A fried chicken cutlet is perched on a bed of rice surrounded by a cool cabbage salad with tomato and a donkatsu (simply referring to the fried cutlet) sauce. Those who wish to depart from the realm of ramen will like this simple, straightforward dish.
Another member of our group who is a vegetarian (at least for now) ordered the Vegan Ramen. As much as I tease him about his on-again-off-again eating proclivities, the vegetable kelp seaweed broth was delicious! The bowl was beautifully arranged with bright green broccoli, corn, cabbage strips, kikurage (mushroom) and menma (a Japanese condiment made from lactate-fermented bamboo shoots). Almost makes me want to murder some veggies and take up a meatless life – well, almost! There is a nice pic of the Vegan Ramen in the gallery.
We have been several times since this was first written and the service has matured greatly. Looks like the growing pains are over and Miyagi Ramen Bar has hit the ground running. Don’t miss the softshell crab app if it is on the menu (it IS seasonal, after all). It was delicious and very cleverly presented as to be a tempting finger food.
Prices range from $8 to about $19. Kim chimes in once again “I want Miyagi Ramen Bar to be a place you can dine 2 or 3 nights a week and be able to easily afford it. It will be the essential neighborhood eatery.”
At the moment (one never knows when it will change!) Miyagi Ramen Bar is open for lunch and dinner Tues. thru Sat. They are located at 19266 Coastal Highway in the Safeway shopping center in Rehoboth. They share the center with TGI Fridays and Palate Bistro & Catering. Double-check their hours at 302-567-2835.