Japan-based ramen chain Santouka now has its first Boston proper location — it soft-opened yesterday at 66 Hereford St. in Back Bay, the former Mentei space. With just 16 seats, it’s significantly smaller than the only other local outpost, which opened in Harvard Square in February 2015. As such, the new location has fewer non-ramen options (appetizers, entrees, etc.), as previously reported, but the ramen offerings are more varied.
This Back Bay location has been a long time coming; the planning began back in March 2014, when Santouka partnered with Itadaki for a pop-up event. The neighborhood appealed to the company due to both its student population and nine-to-five crowd, as Santouka’s business development strategist Nao White previously told Eater.
"Back Bay is the heart of Boston," White said at the time. "Looking at Newbury Street, there are many upscale retail stores. That's where Santouka identifies."
Founded in 1988 in Hokkaido, Japan, Santouka serves a variety of ramen, but the signature dish is the tonkotsu shio ramen, a mild, salt-flavored dish that starts with a broth that comes from simmering pork bones for 20 hours. It’s topped with a pickled plum.
Santouka Back Bay is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.