Detroit_Noodle_Ninja aka. Mr. Bacon sits down at the new made in-house noodle joint in downtown Royal Oak, Kaizen Ramen. Now open for both lunch and dinner, he says there is no excuse for not checking this place out.
I have a secret. I LOVE NOODLES! All noodles. Well, more specifically, Asian noodles. Udon, Vermicelli, Soba, and Yes …RAMEN. Every city ventured, everywhere traveled, my mission is to seek out hidden, local strip mall noodle joints. We have a few local here in metro Detroit that I personally LOVE with all my heart (and a few I will never eat at again). There is a TOP THREE RAMEN post pending that should be up in a couple weeks and we may have just discovered a new contender for that coveted list: Kaizen Ramen.
Kaizen is the new noodle kid on the block, (although another noodle spot is slated to open up soon nearby). They specialize in serving up premium Japanese style noodles made in-house.
Key phrase there being: made in-house.
Located in the heart of Royal Oak just off 4th and Washington, this noodle joint officially opened its doors for dinner in mid-June and extended their hours to include lunch a few weeks back. It took me longer than I care to admit to make it here, but alas, I finally made it! …and let me tell you, I am pissed it took me this long to eat here, ’cause it was authentic and truly divine.
On the menu are three classic-style ramen dishes including my absolute favorite: Tonkotsu Ramen. Tonkotsu, meaning “pork bones” in Japanese, is a soup broth prepared by boiling pork bones in water for a significant amount of time, up to 16 hours in some instances. The result: a murky, cloudy, rich broth full of heavenly flavor. I like to call it “dirty broth.” And this bowl is DIRTY in the best possible way.
Classic Tonkotsu $13 (Worth Every Penny)
Rich, creamy, broth cooked with kurobuta pork bones. Toppings: Chashu (pork belly), Soft-boiled marinated egg, chili oil, onion oil, scallions, sesame, crunchy onion, bean sprout, kikurage, spicy miso, nori.
I didn’t bother with any sides, as this bowl is more than enough to fill your belly. I’ll probably try the Pork Chashu Bun & Gyoza at some point, as well as one of their infused noodles, which highly intrigued me.
One visit in and I am already hooked. I won’t tell you to not order the other ramen dishes on the menu (Miso Paitan & Shoyu), I’m just telling you I probably never will. The Classic Tonkotsu is where it is at and where my heart will remain. That pork belly melts in your mouth and the soft boiled egg is cooked to perfection. And they don’t take shortcuts in the broth. In the past, I’ve heard dairy being used to “cheat the system”. Not here! The milky white broth is achieved through long hours of vigorous boiling, resulting in a creamy emulsification of fatty goodness. Everything here is done the right way. However, I’ll give this spot a go another 2 or 3 times before I decide if it cracks the TOP THREE. For now, I’ll just say, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO AGAIN!
Kaizen Ramen | 11 S. Washington Ave. Royal Oak, MI 48067
Visit: https://www.kaizenramen.com/ for menu, hours and to order online
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