Hana Japanese Eatery v. Clever Koi: Introducing Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Ramen
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.
Evie Carpenter Introducing, Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Dishes: Ramen (see a larger version here)
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.
In this corner: Hana Japanese Eatery
Lauren Saria Yakibuta Ramen
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.