Boston seems to get mixed up in food crazes, just like the rest of the world. The only difference is that we tend to lag behind most of the time. As the wise always say however, 'Better late than never!' and with the most recent food fad to hit the Boston area, I would concur!
For a couple of months now, there has been a huge buzz going on about Ramen, the popular noodle dish from China. (Many people think it is from Japan, but it originated in China in the early 1900s). Ramen became a huge popular sensation in Asia during the 1980s when 'instant' ramen was invented.
Here we are now, 30 years later, and Boston has decided to jump on the Ramen bandwagon! Apart from ramen shops in Chinatown that have been around for a while, the new found Ramen craze can largely be attributed to the new Guchi Midnight Ramen Pop-up. I have yet to make it to one and am still kicking myself for giving up my invitation to their opening weekend - I thought it would have been really tough to start my first week back rehearsing with a 12:30 am Ramen feast...now I am not so sure...
However! I did say this was becoming a trend and I was not lying! Freshly renovated Uni has also started a 'late night ramen' extravaganza. Theirs is a little more regular, being served Thursday-Saturday every week from 11 to closing.
I am happy to say that I have at least made it to this ramen event and it just so happened to be after a performance of Simply Sublime, so I really had an appetite! Myself along with a bunch of show-goers traipsed over to Uni for some indulgence at midnight:)
Uni's renovations are subtle but effective, they have changed the paneling in the walls to light wood which gives the whole place a more 'sashimi bar-esque' feel. Low Japanese-style seating is also a new addition.Chef Oringer's idea for the Late-night Ramen was to bring everything down a notch to allow for a more casual experience. One detail I really like is that the menus are written out on pieces of cardboard:)
Although Ramen is the main attraction, there are other little tid-bites that I found equally delightful. Above we have some deep friend chicken skins with flavored rice sandwiched in between. These were tasty and salty, great ways to hike up that Ramen thirst:)
My personal favorite was actually their steamed buns of which they had two flavors, the pork belly (um...yes!) and the duck. Both were beautifully seasoned with extra crunch coming from pickled vegetables in the pork belly and a layer of fried skin for the duck. I just really love the super doughy texture of the buns...it somehow feels like being a kid again!
Once we had finished our 'amuse-bouches', our ramen arrived. Traditionally, ramen comes served heaping in big bowls. You are faced with a massive quantity of steaming broth topped with various accoutrements. At Uni, the serving is a little small, but the taste is actually quite commendable. I ordered the umami which comes with BBQ unagi (eel) and a somewhere between hard and soft boiled egg, traditional of most ramen dishes. The noodles were very well cooked, the unagi was a delight, I did, however, find the broth to be a bit too thick, it was almost like a curry...a very tasty curry though:)
All in all, it is a fine option for late night diners - I know I would return without much need of convincing. I would be happier still if the steamed buns were not 8 dollars each, a price point I think is a bit unreasonable, given their desire to create an authentic ramen house feel. The bowls of ramen at 10 dollars is a better ratio.
Either way, I know I will return without much need of convincing and although Boston is a bit late...I can truly say...it is most definitely better than never!