Ramen Rematch: Republic Ramen vs. Sushi Ken

Heather Hoch
It's style versus substance in this week's Battle of the Dishes.
When you've had ramen done right, you just know. It's a shame it's even referred to by the same name as its Styrofoam cup counterpart. The base is always a flavorful, unique broth with an extra boost from added traditional Japanese veggies like seaweed (Japan's bay leaf) and kamaboko. All that's poured over fresh egg noodles and garnished with an egg on top.

Quite possibly the most-underrated comfort food, we're sure ramen will be the next big trend in Valley soup consumption, after everyone pho-gets about pho. Plus, the tasty soup comes with tons of broth base flavor options like tonkotsu (pork), shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt) and miso. Last time we pitted two ramen joints against each other, Republic Ramen won, even landing the Best of Phoenix title for Ramen in 2011. But can the chic ramen joint can defend its title against a traditional heavyweight called Sushi Ken?

See Also:
- The Cup of Noodles: Republic Ramen vs. Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe
- A Ramen Bowl with a Built-In iPhone Holder. Really
- Hakata Ramen from Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe

Heather Hoch
Tonkostu ramen with a $1 egg... Since when does one egg cost $1?
In This Corner: Republic Ramen

The Setup:As we mentioned before, Republic Ramen is a chic ASU area joint with dark wood tables and 90 degree angles everywhere. It's clean and hip and they even serve boba tea (which is not technically a Japanese thing). If you're looking for a sterile ramen environment, you've found the place.

The Good: We decided to go for tonkotsu ramen, adding an egg for $1 (which we didn't feel was right since ramen pretty much always comes with an egg, but whatever). The good part is it comes with all of the right stuff, the bad part is it's poorly executed.

The Bad: Republic offers two types of veggie toppings: traditional (with the seaweed and kamaboko) or original (with carrots and other scaredy cat options)--that should be the first warning. If you're looking for authentic, this probably isn't your place. However, it is good for trying to convince finicky eaters to try new things without scaring them away. Unfortunately, that's not quite us and we were not impressed by their bland tonkotsu broth, no matter how heavy-handed they were with the seaweed and we were with the Sriracha.

Location Info

Republic Ramen & Noodles

1301 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Sushi Ken

4206 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Buddha IsSitting
Buddha IsSitting

I knew about Republic but not Sushi Ken. Now a new place to try, Thanks!

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