Ramen. Ramen, ramen, ramen. It’s all I can think about. Or tweet about. Or eat about.
After being introduced to Austin’s red-hot take on the Japanese noodle phenomenon at Ramen Tatsu-Ya, I immediately started scouting out other local ramen places, to see how they compare.
Michi Ramen is in a building that has housed, I am told, a number of failed Asian-style restaurants. Including a Japanese restaurant that had a conveyor belt that managed to carry its profits right out the door. So I imagine that no one was really sure if Michi Ramen was in for the long haul.
It’s a difficult location: across the street from The Yellow Rose on N. Lamar, a sad and faded-looking strip club, in an area of Austin that seems to be desperately trying to attract a
richer hipper crowd.
Parking is a bit of an issue. It’s none-too-easy to figure out where parking IS in relation to the restaurant, and turning in off Lamar isn’t cake. Parking is, by the way, to the left of the restaurant as you’re facing it.
The ramen inside, however, is more than worth it. As for the interior, Michi Ramen is spacious, clean, bright, and smells delicious. The waiters are cute, attentive and friendly, and all decked out with iPads to take orders.
Choosing Your Michi Ramen
The ramen decision process is broken down a little further at Michi Ramen. Patrons must decide what THICKNESS they would like their broth: Light, Regular, or Stout. This choice is in addition to standard ramen customization.
I chose Stout and the choice is still sticking with me. The broth was some of the most extraordinarily YUMMY broth I have yet consumed. The menu is actually very comprehensive, moreso than Ramen Tatsu-Ya, including vegetarian options and a great number of appetizers and desserts and things.
Of course there are a HOST of add-ons, from seaweed (Nori) to pork, veggies and eggs, and also things like fishcakes and pickled mustard greens that I’m sure make some foodies go “Ooo!” and “Aaa!” while I sit over here making bad faces.
While there had not been a whole lot of variability in our party’s dishes at other ramen places, at Michi Ramen we all ended up with VERY different bowls that were all incredibly delicious.
Funnily, my overall ramen experience was yummier at Michi Ramen, but my pork was strangely tough and hard to eat. There’s a strong likelihood that my Pork + Chopstick-Fu is very poor. I dislike spraying my companions with soupy pork juice as I struggle to masticate it and so should you.
Our appetizers were also so delicious that I almost filled up before my ramen EVEN CAME. I had fantastic edamame, but what really got us going was the strangely-named Burnt Ends. We weren’t really sure what to expect. What does that even mean?
It means SCRUMPTIOUS. Delicious. Little meaty pieces that are perfectly flavorful, tender and just phenomenally good. Chopstick wars ensued as we battled in our bowl, which, by the way, gave us an AMPLE portion for an “appetizer.” I don’t think I really needed more food than these Burnt Ends, but you don’t come to a ramen place to eat meat, right?
So I BARELY managed not to offend all my friends and snarfle all the meat like some sort of wild animal. Instead, I consumed a hero’s quantity of ramen and, when I was sure that if I ate one more bite I would surely be unable to bicycle back home, my friendly waiter came over and packaged it up in a tight container for me. And, when I realized that the container wouldn’t fit into my bicycle basket and still be upright, the nice people even gave me an illegal plastic bag to keep my ramen from potentially leaking all over the inside of my little wicker basket! The gesture was MUCH appreciated.
We finished off our lunch with Japanese frozen mochi, which are little cuteycute balls of ice cream, wrapped in mashed flavored glutinous rice. Michi Ramen has a lot of mochi flavors (don’t try saying that fast) and it’s a perfect tiny way to get something sweet at the end of a yummy hot meal!
A superb lunch. I really hope Michi Ramen continues to thrive!