Ajitama RamenOn a recent night, while partaking in libations, a friend of mine, who goes by the handle, JiggyRamen, was raving to me about this new ramen place on Kapahulu. Now if you consider his handle choice and the fact that he AND his girlfriend, who stated that she doesn't care for noodles, was raving about this place, it must be good.
I was told it was in the same area as Starbucks and Jamba Juice, to park in the same lot and enter from the back entrance.
Follow the sign and you will find the "back entrance". A couple friends and I arrived right around opening on a Saturday evening. We were the first ones in there, but within half an hour the whole place became occupied. The interior was your typical ramen decor and nothing to write home about. They have a bookcase full of Japanese magazines and comic books. Fyi, the magazine "Fry-Day" has female nudity, so parents and those that might be offended of such, be forewarned. Of course my friends and I were all over it.
If you enter through the front you will be greeted with their sign with some Japanese hiragana that says "kotteri?". Which means, rich/thick. It refers to their broths.
As we reviewed their menu. I noticed that they had tsukemen, which they describe as "Cold Dipping Noodles". I love tsukemen because the noodles don't sit in the hot broth like Ramen, so the texture of it stays consistent through out your whole meal. So for those that haven't had tsukemen before it's like ramen but the noodles are served on the side.
We started off with some gyoza. Since it was early, they allowed us to make a "sampler" gyoza order. Where normally you would order 5 pcs. of either their Shantsai (Cilantro) or Nira (Chives) gyoza, they made one order of 3 pcs. Nira and 2 pcs. Shantsai. When this first arrived, the first thing I noticed was that the gyoza seemed small. They were about 2/3rds the size of your normal gyoza. The Shantsai was ok. I like cilantro, but I don't think it was a good pairing with gyoza. The Nira was good though. I like my gyoza to be juicy and both weren't juicy at all.
Friend K ordered the Shoyu Ramen. I sampled the broth and it was a bit richer than your normal shoyu broth. In the above picture you can see the fat floating around and it is definitely kotteri!
Friend J ordered the Kakuni Ramen. He also added the free chopped garlic option to his order. The broth seemed to be shoyu based. The Kakuni (braised pork belly) was very good. Pork fat rules! It was very tender and flavored well.
Friend C ordered the Goma Miso Tsukemen. I thought that they were a bit skimpy on the sides. There was only like 5 pieces of Menma (Pickled Bamboo Shoots) and a few sprouts. What's up with that? I tasted the broth and it was rich in miso and nutty goma flavor.
I ordered what my friend, JiggyRamen and his gf told me to order. The Spicy Negi Miso Tsukemen. I modified my order with chopped garlic, special garlic oil and chopped round onions. This dish was good but spicy. I was perspiring the whole time I ate it. If that mound of Negi (Green Onion) wasn't on my plate, my dish would have looked like friend C's plate. Again skimpy on the sides.
Overall the place is good. Flavors are rich like their street front sign suggests. Kotteri for sure. The only downside to this place is that the portions are small. Small gyoza, little sides and smaller than average portion of noodles. I will be back but not with a huge appetite.
617 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Lunch: 11:30AM-2:00PM (M-F)
Dinner: 5:30PM-9:30PM (M-Sat.)
Closed on Sundays
Labels: Ajitama Ramen