Hana Japanese Eatery v. Clever Koi: Introducing Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Ramen

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Evie Carpenter
Introducing, Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Dishes: Ramen (see a larger version here)
In about a week basketball fans will begin obsessing over their March Madness brackets, trying to predict which college teams have the talent and luck to take the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. And here at Chow Bella we're kicking off a tournament of our own: an Ultimate Battle of the Dishes to find the city's best bowl of ramen.

The dish's popularity has been on the rise since last year, becoming wildly popular in places such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. While our own food scene has been a little slower on the uptake, we've still got a good selection of restaurants dishing up delicious bowls of noodles of broth. Follow along for the next few weeks as we hunt for the very best ramen in town.

See also: The Clever Koi in Phoenix Is Innovative but Sometimes Overly Complicated

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Lauren Saria
Yakibuta Ramen
In this corner: Hana Japanese Eatery

The Setup: This north central Phoenix spot, courtesy of brother and sister Lori and "Chef Koji" Hashimoto, has earned a well-deserved reputation for being one of the city's best spots for sushi. But that's not all the restaurant has to offer. There's a selection of noodle dishes, salads, and entrees such as whole lobster tail, ribeye, and grilled salmon.

The Good: Hana's ramen features soy-based broth, which means even your vegetarian friends can enjoy a bowl. Your bowl will come with pork, fish cake, green onion, and bamboo shoots, which makes for a pretty authentic arrangement of toppings. The pieces of pork shoulder come in thick cuts that offer an ideal slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture. But the best part is the noodle. They're nice and thin and offer the appropriate amount of bite required of real ramen noodles.

The Bad: Because the broth is soy rather than pork based, it lacks the meaty flavor you might associate with good ramen. Overall it's a fairly mild broth -- but sometimes simplicity is just what you need.

Location Info

Clever Koi

4236 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Hana Japanese Eatery

5524 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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2 comments
Phxfoodlover
Phxfoodlover

For the record, Hana does offer a tankatsu broth! So, if you're a meat lover you can get your traditional creamy pork broth and save that soy broth for the vegetarians.

lhsaria
lhsaria

@Phxfoodlover  Thanks for the heads up! Do you just have to ask for it? It wasn't listed on the menu when I was there. 

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