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The Early Word on Santouka Ramen

Santouka Ramen opened at 1 Bow St. in Cambridge last month as the Japanese chain's first New England location. Highly anticipated by ramen fans around the Hub, Santouka has experienced long wait times in its first few weeks. Here's what else people are saying so far about Santouka.

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Rendering of Santouka Ramen
Rendering of Santouka Ramen

The Salt Broth News: Santouka is known for its signature shio ramen, and according to this Yelper, the simple broth is the highlight of a meal there. "The flavor had a rich depth but wasn't overwhelming in its saltiness or spice level," says anotherSome disagree, saying the soup is too salty — but it is a salt broth, after all. It is simmered for nearly a day with pork bones, vegetables, and dried fish to give it a full flavor, chef Taka Igo told the Cambridge Chronicle. Also, the chef's veins course with the broth, his translator added.

Love on Top News: So, what can you get besides broth? The menu at Santouka is fairly small, with four choices of ramen plus additional sides. The Harvard Crimson reports the menu will expand later this month. For now, the bowls come with a standard offering of pieces of pork, bamboo, and wood ear mushrooms, and the shio ramen is topped with a Japanese pickled plum. For an extra cost, you can add a soft-boiled egg to your noodle bowl. "My only qualm is that they only give you two pieces of pork (mine were very small slices), two mushrooms, and a few toppings. You can pay extra to add more if you want, but I feel for $12 you should get a bit more toppings included," one reviewer says of her portion. A Harvard Crimson writer is of the same opinion.

The Waiting Game News: Highly anticipated for almost a year, it's no surprise that there has been a wait for tables since Santouka has opened its doors in Cambridge. The 59-seat eatery does not accept reservations. However, the shop does employ a texting system, TapGuest, to alert customers that their table is available, which is appreciated by Yelpers who can shop around Harvard Square while waiting. Also, several reviewers report waiting for less time than the host originally told them. But for one group of Harvard students whose attempt to visit Santouka is immortalized in the Harvard Crimson, being "a little impolite" was necessary to secure a table during the restaurant's second dinner shift.