Friday, March 18th, 2011

It’s not like Madison needs another restaurant, but we’re pretty happy that Umami opened on Willy Street anyway. We stopped there for dinner after work today and each slurped up a bowl of ramen the likes of which we’ve not enjoyed since we left Japan almost six years ago.

We’ve tried ramen at a few places since we returned to the States but until now we haven’t had any that comes even close to the real thing served hot from a tiny little shop in a Japanese village. The best we ever ate was the kind they served on a cold, snowy day, but really the very best was served right in our own little town of Misawa at a place the gaijin from the air base called Cheese Roll Noodle, because that’s what was etched in the big picture window in the front of the shop. Almost. In point of fact it read “Cheese Rool Noodle.” I still have a photo of that somewhere. [here it is!] I don’t know the Japanese name except in English: Family Familiar Noodle House.

At Umami we each ordered a different bowl: My Darling B tried the miso ramen and I had a bowl of pork ramen. I was very encouraged when the waiter brought it to our table in bowls big enough for us to bathe in, and it just kept getting better from there. Mine had an appropriately fatty slab of pork floating off to one side, a few slices of bamboo and seaweed clustered against the other side, and half an egg floating smack-dab in the middle. B’s was similarly adorned but with tofu instead of pork. The noodles were not quite right – delicious, but not the same kind of noodle served in Japan. But the broth was an orgasm of flavors, if that’s not getting too personal about how wonderful it tasted. I slurped up every bit of it, picking up the bowl and tipping it back in the manner considered proper in all the finer ramen shops.

So a great big thank-you to Umami for taking me back to my Misawa days, when a bowl of ramen was one of the best kinds of dinner you could buy while you were in town. Ita dake masu!

Oishii desu! | 9:17 pm CST
Category: food & drink, restaurants | Tags: , , ,
4 Comments | Add a comment


  1. 1 Fact Checker said at 9:36 pm on March 18th, 2011:

    I believe the sign on the shop read “Familiar Noodle House,” although it was supposed to be “Family.” That was one of the bestest things about the place. Besides the ramen. And the cheese rools. And the gyoza. Oh, and the banner above the bar. And and and…

  2. 2 Dave said at 8:42 am on March 19th, 2011:

    By Jove, I believe you’re right! I stand corrected.

  3. 3 Fact Checker said at 2:59 pm on March 19th, 2011:

    We must find those photos!

  4. 4 Dave said at 3:54 pm on March 19th, 2011:

    And here it is: