11403 Amherst Ave.
Wheaton, MD 20902
Last week, just after Memorial Day weekend of 2011, I was telling the tale of my Memorial Day weekend 2009 full of good eats in NYC a couple years ago to my coworker, and we got to the ramen topic because of my incredible experience at Ippudo. He told me there was a good one in Bethesda, MD, and immediately I exclaimed “let’s go!” but he continued, they closed last year. Fast forward several days later, and he said his friend went to one. Apparently the same place reopened in Wheaton, and it opened up a day earlier! I was too excited that I broke my own rule of not going to a restaurant within the first 2 weeks. A couple weeks ago, I went to the new Shake Shack within a week of its opening, and it went pretty much perfect, so what the heck? I should have listened to my instincts.
Saturday night, 8PM, and there’s a line out the door. 1.) It seemed popular, since you can hear people talking about this location and how they’ve been to the previous one in the past and 2.) the place is just tiny. There’s a ledge that can sit about 6 that’s like a bar and about 7 tables where most of them only sat 2 people. I waited about 30 minutes before I was able to get a seat. The crowd was mostly Japanese, which is a really, really good sign. The staff was Japanese as well, except for a waitress and a busboy (who were Latino). Since I practically memorized their small menu during my wait, I knew exactly what I wanted. My table had 2 bowls "The Sapporo" style Ramen: one Tonshio, and the other Miso. Both bowls were topped with roast pork, seasoned boiled egg, and corn. The description is: “pork based broth, 1piece roast pork, bean sprout, bamboo shoot, scallion, onion, ground pork.” The stewed fatty pork is the topping I really wanted, and I was notified that they didn’t have any more. I was disappointed, sooooo disappointed. Had I not just waited for a half hour, I would have walked out. I still considered walking out, actually. I just got a cheap “Oh, so very sorry.” Obviously I stayed. Seriously, first weekend, and you run out of what would probably be the most ordered in a small joint like this? Whatever, I got the roast pork. The wait for the food was so long. I won’t hold that against them, since I am guessing it’s to make the food better than if they simply scooped it up. The food & drinks are delivered to all the tables there individually i.e. no trays. 2 hands hold 2 cups of water. Both hands hold one bowl. A table of 2 requires 3 trips. Finally, after the wait, the disappointment, the wait again, it’s eat time! Wait a tick… where are my eggs? There is no seasoned boiled egg here. Ah man. Another mistake? I call the waitress, she apologizes, and returns after another wait with an egg cut in half in a small bowl. There is one more mistake, however this was to my advantage; they added corn. Finally, the taste. I go right for the broth. It’s porky. It’s flavorful. It’s good! Did it make me forget about everything else? Nope. But I was happy to finally