My first foray into the crowded Seattle ramen scene.
I just moved to the Seattle area, where there’s no shortage of ramen places. My first bowl was at the highly-rated Arashi Ramen in the Ballard neighborhood.
The restaurant is a hole-in-the-wall eclectic spot with seating for about 25 people. Interesting Japanese posters and some unusual kitsch lends a casual, friendly feel. The menu has a good variety of ramen, most based on tonkotsu broth, a few rice bowls and some appetizers. They also seem to have a very respectable selection of Japanese beers and sake.
I ordered the black garlic ramen and my usual starter of gyoza.
The gyoza were excellent. The wrapper was delicate with a nice crisp char. The pork and chicken filling was flavorful and well-spiced; I’d even term it refined. Light yet rich, I could’ve eaten a dozen.
The black garlic ramen arrived and I immediately noticed the broth, which was light and almost clear. Not your typical rich and creamy tonkotsu-based broth. I had to ask if indeed it was tonkotsu and the waitperson confirmed this.
Upon first taste, I was pleased to find the broth was delicious and well balanced The garlic oil added a richness, but wasn’t overdone as has been my experience with some past garlic ramen. Overall the broth was enjoyable; not complex but well executed.
The noodles were thin, al dente with a slight chew. They had a nice flavor. Nothing standout, but nice. The good amount of bean sprouts added a welcome crunch. The egg was fine, though slightly over-cooked.
The chashu was tasty but fell apart as my chopsticks grabbed it. I would have liked more integrity there. But it was tasty with just enough fat. Unfortunate it got overwhelmed.
The service was quick and friendly. Prices were reasonable. The street location is slightly grungy and isn’t in a well-trafficked area, so clearly this is a destination ramen spot. Arashi has another location in Tukwila, Washington.
Arashi makes a really good bowl of ramen. I left satisfied and would definitely return to try other bowls.
Ramen Club 5-Star Rating System:
Food: 3.75 stars
Service: 4.00 stars
Atmosphere/Comfort: 3.25 stars
1 star: weak
2 stars: just ok
3 stars: good
4 stars: very good
5 stars: superb or special