I saw an ad for Nikai Japanese Restaurant in Chopsticks advertising new vegetable noodles. I thought I’d try it since they make handmade noodles. I went for dinner with a friend of mine. It’s upstairs inside a lunch time café called Treehaus. Treehaus is a big space and it was a little confusing to figure out where Nikai was located. Once we found it, we were seated right away at bar top tables near the bar. I got the feeling this was more of a lunch place, as there was only one other group of customers.
They give you a hot towel for your hands here–the kind that you add water to and it expands. That was a nice touch and more like a Japanese restaurant.
By this time of day, which was around 7:30, they were out of the tonkotsu ramen, so we got the miso ramen. The ramen was good, and I’d like to try the tonkotsu at some point as well.
Bassanova Ramen is a new ramen place in the heart of Chinatown. The menu at Bassanova is scant–only three types of ramen with broth. They also have a menu with a few ramen dishes without broth. The ramen here is a bit pricier than other ramen shops and pricier than the restaurants in the area. Below is a picture of the broth ramen dishes.
The décor has a modern design and sleek, clean feel. The most unusual thing is the utensils–extra-large chopsticks. The waitress asked me if that would bother me, but I had never used large chopsticks so I went in with an open mind. I didn’t have a problem with them at all. The spoons were also larger.
I ordered the tondaku ramen with a tonkotsu, or pork, broth. I was surprised that there were more noodles than broth, as I understand the broth to be the showcase of a bowl of ramen (although ramen are the noodles). However, it was very flavorful. The noodles were thin and tasted good. The broth was rich and dark, a bit oily, but the right amount of salt to make it flavorful but not too salty.
Given that there is a menu of ramen dishes without broth and that there was more ramen in the bowl than broth, I think Bassanova Ramen’s focus is the ramen.