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Fujia Ramen

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Fujia Ramen

Photo courtesy of Fujiya Ramen

Photo courtesy of Fujiya Ramen

Photo courtesy of Fujiya Ramen

Georgine Revilloza, Staff Writer

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The new ramen restaurant, Fujiya Ramen, has been the talk of the town lately. Before now there has never been a ramen place on Middletown’s beloved Main Street. Fujiya Ramen is a small, yet chic restaurant. Walking into Fujiya Ramen my shoes squeak on the well-polished floor and the friendly staff greet me. But does Fujiya Ramen live up to all the hype, or is it yet another fad that will run itself dry? I made sure to order a total of four things—a drink, an appetizer, the entree, and dessert—to get the whole picture.
I first order the takoyaki, a popular Japanese snack cooked in a special molded pan, as an appetizer, coupled with my ramune (translation: lemonade) soda. Upon arrival, I am amazed by the presentation. Five takoyaki are aligned vertically, dried bonito flakes decorating them. You can see each individual piece of aonori, or green layer, sprinkled over the hot takoyaki, as well. Both the brown takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise are splayed across the ball-shaped snack in paralleling zig zags. The unique design of the ramune soda bottle compliments the design of the dish as well, making the dish picture perfect for your Instagram feed.
The dish, itself, is mediocre. The moisture on your tongue upon eating one quickly deflates, which leaves the chewy, tough octopus in a soggy mess of batter. Nonetheless, the takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise meshes well to create a tangy, yet fishy flavor that stays with you. The ramune soda, flavor Blue Hawaii, helps wash this down, with its bubbly nature and sweet taste. The soda is a refreshing drink that will quench your thirst. However, although the takoyaki is a dish to snap a picture of for your social media, the ball-shaped snack falls flat in the taste department.
Now onto the recommended dish: a piping hot bowl of tonkotsu ramen. The presentation is appealing to the eye, but not stunning. Golden noodles bask in the steaming, semi-transparent soup, neatly topped off with two slices of pork, dark green chives, and slivers of red ginger. The portion size feels too small compared to how wide the bowl is, but it’s the flavor that matters the most.
Snapping apart my chopsticks, I dig in. The ramen noodles are firm, slender, and hefty, and you can taste a light, slightly sweet flavor that the miniscule pieces of red ginger exude. However, the base of the soup feels lacking in comparison. The broth is not as robust and full-bodied as you would hope for, and you can feel the unpleasant greasiness of the soup. The pork is thin, yet tender, but the little amount the cooks gives makes you crave for at least one more slice.
Last but not least, is the chocolate ice cream tempura, also known as fried ice cream, a delectable dessert to top off the rest of the meal. Chocolate syrup is drizzled over the golden brown of the tempura. Two swirls of whipped cream decorate the corners of the plate. Despite the appealing garnishments, the ice cream tempura itself looks awkward. It is a mere misshapen ball of sugar, the chocolate already staining too deep into the batter. The aesthetically pleasing presentation is ruined by the oddly shaped fried ice cream.
Not to worry however, the appearance is just a slight distraction from how tasty the ice cream tempura is. Admittedly, it is a struggle for my spoon to get through the toughness of the delightful dessert, but the effort makes it all worth it. The tempura is bright yellow inside, holding a cake-like consistency to it that compliments the creaminess of the iced dessert inside. The cool, chocolate ice cream inside is a pleasant surprise, as it did not make the golden tempura soggy, and the chocolate syrup you can taste soaking into the tempura made this the perfect dessert after a hot bowl of ramen.
All in all, Fujiya Ramen does not live up to its hype. The takoyaki in mediocre and not memorable in the slightest compared to the refreshing taste of the Blue Hawaii ramune. The broth of the tonkotsu ramen feels too greasy, and does not do the firm ramen noodles justice. The chocolate ice cream tempura is the only true champion of the meal, satisfying the sweet tooth in customers with its scrumptious tempura and refreshing ice cream. While Fujiya Ramen is not the best ramen place, the inexpensive prices and fried ice cream make the whole visit worth it. However, if you are coming to Fujiya Ramen expecting the best bowl of steaming ramen, you will be sorely disappointed.

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