Susie Church | Food Fight
Yume Wo Katare and Sapporo Ramen
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 08:10
With the leaves falling and the air getting chillier, this week felt like the perfect time to warm things up with some hot soup. Too many college students consider ramen — the Japanese noodle soup dish — to be little more than a hunk of noodles you boil with some water in the microwave. But real, house-cooked ramen can make anyone’s day. Here me out while I, amidst my food coma, try to decide where you should go to slurp down this delicious dish.
Ramen is one of my favorite foods — this summer I set out on an adventure in New York that led me everywhere from a secret ramen house at 2 a.m. to a formal Japanese dining room where the culture was as rich as the food. This week I was excited to try out two ramen houses in Porter Square: Yume Wo Katare and Sapporo Ramen.
I decided to head over to Sapporo Ramen in The Shops at Porter first. Sapporo Ramen is tucked away in a corridor, with only about 10 tables and a small, open kitchen. The restaurant offers a good variety of ramen as well as dumplings. I got the house ramen, which had pork, corn, bean sprouts, scallions, a boiled egg and nori. The noodles were a little undercooked, but had a nice texture, and I ate them all too fast. My biggest issue with ramen is that there are often too few noodles. However, the broth was also very good — on the richer, meatier side, but still light enough. I happily finished off all the broth — feeling like I had gotten a full meal’s worth from the bowl — but it was definitely missing some of the flavor punch that I’ve experienced with other ramen. I left hoping that Yume Wo Katare would offer just that.
After waiting for 30 minutes, we were finally seated in an intimate and friendly dining room. The chef personally asked each customer if they wanted garlic in their soup, and if anyone finished off their ramen, they got an enthusiastic “good job” from the entire staff. Closed on Sundays and Mondays, Yume Wo Katare plays by its own rules, prohibiting customers from taking leftovers home and maintaining a strict one bowl per customer policy. Though it just celebrated its first anniversary on Oct. 12, people are already calling Yume Wo Katare one of the most authentic bowls of ramen in Boston. The service was delightfully speedy, and before long a beautiful bowl of noodle-heavy soup was sitting before me. The noodles were much thicker than what I was used to, and, though I enjoyed them, I missed the lightness that the thinner noodles bring to the dish. On the first sip, the broth was fantastically flavorful. However, as I continued eating, the richness of the broth became a little too much to handle, overwhelmed by the intense flavor of the pork fat and oil. Overall, Yume Wo Katare brought a rich and delicious bowl of ramen to the table, but was just a little too heavy for my taste.
Something I appreciate most about ramen is its lightness. Yume Wo Katare’s intensity was truly special and more interesting compared to Sapporo Ramen’s somewhat boring taste, but I wouldn’t say that, on quality alone, Yume Wo Katare was worth the wait. The experience was surely fun, and I wouldn’t discourage any eager stomachs out there to give it a go. However, I’m going to continue my search for that happy medium of flavor. Until then, happy eating!
Susie Church is a sophomore who has not yet declared a major. She can be reached at Susannah.Church@tufts.edu.