Why do I think of Edgar Allen Poe every time I hear that name?
Quoth The Ramen “Never pho.”
It wasn’t quite a midnight dreary that I walked downtown blocks so dreary. Though it definitely was in bleak December. And I had to walk past the even bleaker desolation of the deserted Orlando Sentinel parking lot. But The Ramen is anything but a dark and musty chamber. It’s actually quite bright and pristine.
The new restaurant sits on the corner of North Orange Avenue and Amelia Street. Something new in the wave of ramen restaurants that we’ve seen lately, The Ramen is quick-serve: Place your order and pay for it at the counter then take a number stand to a table of your choice. Someone will bring your food to you when it’s ready.
After considering the menu that one of the cheerful greeters gave me, I selected the Shoyu Ramen, which had Shoyu broth, chashu, aji tamago, naruto, menma, green onions and nori.
Shoyu — Soy sauce.
Chashu — Pork belly.
Aji tomago — Soft-boiled egg, marinated in broth with seasonings
Naruto — An illustrated Japanese series about an adolescent ninja. No, that can’t be right. Actually, this should be narutomaki, a cured surimi-like fish.
Menma — Fermented bamboo shoots (also the name of another character in the Naruto series).
Green onions — Scallions.
Nori — Seaweed sheets.
Missing from the list are the expected noodles that are assumed in every ramen bowl. And in the photo at top you can spot all of the listed ingredients, including the naruto, which is the white cutout with a pink spiral (and looks nothing like an adolescent ninja).
The flavors were all good, and I especially liked the pork belly. With the nicely marinated and perfectly cooked egg, this would make a good substitute for a regular bacon-and-eggs breakfast.
The Ramen (the restaurant) is the project of Suichi Tanida, who was formerly a chef at the Japan pavilion at Epcot. There isn’t a lot in the way of decor — two of the walls are windows and one is the counter and kitchen. Seating is at plain booths and freestanding tables. It’s a fast-food sort of ambiance.
It’s just a place to go and have a good bowl of soup with noodles.
Only this and nothing more.
The Ramen is at 486 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-233-4801.