Monday, July 26, 2010

Ramen Sky, ラーメン空

Segueing fairly well from the concept of Yashoku Ramen and Miso as a historic concept within Sapporo, we have particularly one restaurant that stands out in context.

That restaurant is ラーメン空, or as I'll designate it, Ramen Sky.

Imagine a Sky made of Ramen, I would assume such a thing would be either incredibly frightening or awe inspiring.

I had quite a few sources direct me to this shop. It has a 3.5/5 rating on Tabelog, which despite what you may think, is surprisingly high, as even the highest rated Ramen shop only has around a 4/5 rating on the website. Furthermore, this shop also had a full page article in the book "Every Day Noodles", a guidebook highlighting different noodle shops across sapporo, including of course, Ramen.

However, most reviews online seem to suggest that it the restaurant's style is "Sumi Jun Ken", which as you remember, means it is essentially a replication of what Junren and Sumire have been doing for 40 something years. Thick soup, rich lard cap on top, golden noodles, you guys know.

This restaurant opened recently, and thus Yashoku has decided to collaborate with them, but the truth is that this restaurant had originally closed in 2006, to move to Nagoya, but after it actually came back to Sapporo. Interesting story in itself, it happens to have a particular cult following considering how new it is. Combining this with the amazing location near Susukino, the downtown party district of Sapporo, and you have a fairly packed restaurant.

Yashoku claims it is "a taste of Sapporo", which makes sense, it is after all, reminiscent of those Second Generation Ramen shops.

I sat down at the restaurant on a cool spring day,and the place was full up. Which brings me to my next rule.

3. A small ramen shop is usually a better shop.

There is just something about the size of a shop that makes the experience feel more personal. It also means the cooks have to be more intelligent and creative with space and ingredients, and food from smaller stores tends to be better.

But... this is a ramen review. How was it? Do I agree with the consensus?

For a bit of comparison, this is what Yashoku displays as their picture of the bowl.

And this is what I recieved

So, fairly accurate hm?
Well... I cannot tell a lie. It was certainly good.

But it wasn't amazing.

To be honest, knowing a little of the history of ramen now, I couldn't help but feel like it was merely ripping off Sumire and Junren. Nothing in particular stood out from the original rich miso ramen, maybe a little less in terms of the fat film floating on top. The noodles are not hand made, and as far as condiments go, your standard fair of sliced welsh onions, bamboo shoots, soft boiled egg, and roasted pork, known as "chashu". They were okay, nothing essentially standing out. Fresh ground ginger melted away in the soup for a little extra bite, which I liked but I couldn't shake the fact that I was eating essentially a remake of the second generation, with the only differences being that maybe a bit more tweak on the spice profile and a little less rich. Both Sumire and Junren also have ginger as part of the spice profile.

In this way, I can't say I agree with such a high rating online, because to me, the uniqueness of this bowl was extremely lacking. But I will not pretend like it was anything less than good. Remember the first rule after all :P

Therefore, in short, if you have the chance to go to the original "Sumi Jun Kei" shops, I would suggest skipping this place. For a bit of a twist, in a far superior and much easier to access location however, I would certainly recommend this shop.

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Ramen Sky ラーメン空
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 am-5 am
Sunday: 11 am to 1 am.
Closed Monday.

1 comment:

  1. Mike...

    you are presumably "segueing," not riding a Segway