For a nice bowl of comfort that's miles above those 25-cent ramen packs, Boston is growing a nice supply of ramen shops. Many restaurants serve it only for lunch, for a couple of hours a night, or on special occasions. I don’t have patience to wait in a long line outside for soup, no matter how good it is. It just smacks of the Depression or Russia food lines.
In the fall, Snappy Sushi in Davis Square turned to a ramen-only menu, to offer up a rich bowl of broth and noodles all day, all week. (Its Newbury Street sister still supplies the sushi crowd.) From what I tasted at Snappy, you can just taste the love that went into this great broth. There's broth, and then there’s a meaty, rich, porky broth that you just don’t want to think about how much fat you’re slurping. It’s actually pretty labor-intensive to make a real ramen soup.
Ramen is a dish consisting of boiled noodles in a rich broth and topped with various ingredients, comes in three varieties: Veggie Shoyu Ramen, a soy sauce flavored soup with a shiitake base; the lighter assari tonkotsu, with a choice of dashi, miso, spicy wafu or eggs benedict; and the heavier pork-based kotteri tonkotsu, with choices of Kyoto, spicy miso or tsukemen, which means dipping noodles.
"We'd like to encourage guests to have ramens as soon as it arrives to them," said Chef Youji Iwakura. "I know in American culture, people wait until they get food for everyone. But that is not the way to enjoy ramen. As time goes, ramen will taste less and less. In my childhood, I was a slow ramen eater since I had to take 10-15 minutes to finish a bowl of ramen while my friends (girls, too!) only took 5-7 minutes.
"My ramen isn't just ramen. It's cuisine. Not necessarily a typical ramen that people talk about."
This is a complex ramen soup that I did find was best eaten fresh. I tried some leftovers the next day, and it was a different experience. Still delicious, but really, it's best when eaten at Snappy. They don't even recommend take-out, that's how seriously they understand the power of the fresh bowl of soup.
Snappy offers a simple ramen menu, which is good if you want to experiment with the toppings, and the portions generous. You won't leave hungry.
420 Highland Ave
(Btw Elm & Grove St)