Posh v. Hana Japanese Eatery: Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Ramen
If you've been following our Ultimate Battle of the Ramen, then you already know about the upsets, drama, and good eats we've shared over the last month and half. For those just joining the action, here's a quick review.
We started our March Madness-inspired ramen battle last month by gathering some of the Valley's best noodle restaurants for a tournament-style ramen-off. The first round knocked out Phoenix's Clever Koi, Tempe's Umami, and Chandler's China Magic Noodle House. Posh won by default over T. Spot, which closed and was therefore disqualified from battle. In round two, Republic Ramen fell to Hana Japanese Eatery and fan-favorite Sushi Ken was bumped out by Posh. That brings us to this final battle, which will decide which restaurant takes home the top spot in Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Ramen.
In This Corner: Posh
Lauren Saria Posh's goma ramen.
The Setup: Chef Josh Hebert is easily one of the biggest talents in this town. At Posh, which he opened New Year's Eve 2008, the chef offers diners one of the most unique dining experiences in the city: improvisational cuisine. Customers get to enjoy a multi-course dinner prepared with seasonal ingredients and tailored to their personal likes and dislikes. But once a week -- specifically on Tuesday nights -- Hebert gets extra creative and hosts a pop-up ramen shop that's come to attract a regular crowd of food enthusiasts and industry players. It's easy to see why.
The Good: The ramen menu at Posh is concise. Usually it contains four ramen flavors and not uncommonly a special (it was BLT ramen when we last visited). We went for the goma ramen, which is made with char-siu pork broth base and sesame flavoring. It comes absolutely spilling over with toppings that include bok choy, shistio peppers, and scallions in addition to bonito flakes, nori, leeks, and bean sprouts, which come with all four flavors. We loved the sesame broth; it was rich and slightly opaque with lots of flavor from emulsified fats and a handful of nutty sesame seeds. The noodles were perfectly cooked, al dente at first and then getting softer as you work your way through the bowl. The best part of this ramen however, was Hebert's thick cuts of char-sui. They offered just the right amount of sweetness and were so moist they nearly fell apart at the touch of a chopstick.
The Bad: We have little to complain about Posh's ramen though some bites did taste a little heavy on the ginger. If we're getting really nitpicky, we could also argue that the abundance of toppings made it hard to get to the noodles at the bottom of the bowl.