Dec 19, 2013

Eats: Ramen Jin, a Preview

There's a new ramen shop opening in Houston. I recently attended a private event here, intended to assist the restaurant before it opens it's doors to the general public. They had previously opened their doors to the public for one night, it turned out to be disastrous. Basically, the restaurant wasn't prepared for the amount of crowd that came and was completely overwhelmed. Carl Rosa, the founder of Ramen in Common, reached out to them to organize this private event where the crowd size is controllable.

Limited menu for private event

When we arrived, we went up to the counter and placed our order from a limited menu. We were then given a number and found seating at an open table.

Disclaimer: even though this was private event, it was not a free one. We did pay for our ramen and drinks. Appetizers weren't "available" but the restaurant gave us some on the house. 

Tempura sweet potato

Not long after we sat down, the staff brought us some appetizers. First was tempura sweet potato, which was deliciously topped with sweet and salty seasoning. Next came tempura fish cake which was good but, way too salty. And then last was chicken karaage - good, no complaints. I thought it was unusual the tempuras didn't come with any side sauce. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. The tempura was well seasoned so technically it didn't need sauce, I guess I'm just so used to getting sauce with mine.

Tonkotsu ramen

I don't usually order tonkotsu ramen because they're typically very greasy. But, since my brother ordered the miso ramen, I thought why not for variety sake. Turns out, it wasn't very greasy at all. Since I like my ramen spicy, I asked for some togarashi. I was surprised they didn't have any. I thought it's usually standard for any ramen shop to have them. Instead, the staff brought me some chili that's similar to chili oil in Chinese restaurants. 

Initially, I felt the broth tasted rather bland but, after a while it tasted ok. I don't know if the chili oil had anything to do with it since it was a little salty, or if everything just came together once it was mixed properly. I liked the noodles that came with my ramen, I thought it was cooked perfectly. The pork belly had good flavor but it was a bit to fatty for my taste, wish there was more meat to it. The egg was excellent, by far the highlight of the dish!

Miso ramen

My brother was the one who had the miso ramen but, I did get to taste it. Initially, the broth was very flavorful but in the end it did become too much. We agreed the tonkotsu broth finished better. 

Overall, the ramen was good, I would definitely go back but, just like Tiger Den, it still doesn't compare to the ramen shops I've visited in CA and NYC. 

Side note: the table layout here is not as packed as Tiger Den's therefore, I think it's more baby friendly.

Their menu board, taken from their Facebook page.
I wish they'd offer certain items as additional condiments such as
pork belly, vegetables.

Ramen Jin
11181 Westheimer Rd (Whole Foods shopping complex)

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