As a San Francisco native, I've grown accustomed to having a surplus of ramen houses readily available, and some at my disposal, depending on the hours of operation. I'm not talking about the well-known brand of instant ramen in a cup that you may have lived off during your college days. I am talking about broth so good you would bathe in it, noodles so fresh and tender you'd want to knit a sweater out of it and wear it, and toppings so delicious that you'd happily eat sans broth and noodles.
Yes, that kind of ramen.
Now that I've moved and settled in Madison, WI, I'm not as lucky...
... but it's looking like my luck is changing.
Until recently, there was only ONE definitive ramen house in Madison, but a couple more have seemingly popped up overnight, making ramen houses the LBD of Madison's culinary collection. With gastropubs and breweries a plenty here, it's safe to say that ramen is the new black in an otherwise expected lineup up of good eats, and I'm ready take a front row seat to see how this ramen trend unfolds.
Last week, we decided to try the newest ramen house located in downtown Madison, suitably named Ramen Station. It's located on 1124 S. Park Street and there is a small parking lot available on the property. Get there quick or you're SOL. The Good news is, the rear of the Ramen Station building is surrounded by a couple of dead-end streets with plenty of parking. If driving isn't your thing, you could always bike or walk it there, and it's close to a bus line. So there's no excuse for you to not eat here.
If the sign outside of Ramen Station wasn't obvious enough, their logo in the front landing will tell you what's up.
Yup. This indeed is THE Ramen Station.
We were super excited to check out the menu and even more excited to eat!
The place was about halfway to its max capacity when we arrived as far as seating, and we were greeted by their friendly staff and seated immediately. It was't too much longer before the place got busy and the tables were all occupied.
We perused the menu and decided on a few apps to start with before our main objective of course, eating some ramen!
We ordered the Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Skewer, and the Curry Chicken Wing Skewer (sans skewer). We were also able to try the Gyoza AKA Pan-fried dumplings, courtesy of Ramen Station. Thank you folks!
All three were yummy!
The Bacon wrapped Asparagus Skewers disappeared as quickly as it got to our table.
I mean, let's be real.
Anything wrapped in bacon is a winner, at least for me.
The Gyoza were pan-fried to perfection. They were good on its own. We didn't even bother dipping them in the sauce it came with, although I'm sure it's delicious
These perfect little fried dumplings will be a hit with the kiddos. If they had a kid's menu, these would certainly be in it, but the grownups should try them too.
The must-have appetizer?
The Curry Chicken Wing Skewer.
They were dabombdotcom!
The curry flavor was not at all overpowering, and the wings were just crispy enough. They came out piping hot, so you'll have to wait a bit before you dig in. Ask if they can serve it to you without the skewer. It's worth getting your hands dirty for these delicious wings.
I wished they served these by the basket, but they only came in threes, and we only ordered one serving.
We could have eaten bowls of it.
They were that good.
Now let's get to the our Ramen orders shall we?
We ordered two types of ramen.
1. The Tonkotsu Miso Ramen, a miso based rich pork broth with tender braised pork, scallions, bean sprouts, seaweed, fish cakes, bamboo shoots, with egg noodle ramen, and my favorite part.... a soft boiled egg.
2. The Gyuunika Ramen, a spicy pork broth with all the trimmings and the same noodles as the Tonkotsu, but with beef and a soft 'braised' egg.
They were both AMAZING! We were pleasantly surprised to find that the ratio of broth to ramen was perfect, and quite generous. I loved finding a whole sheet of seaweed floating in the broth and finally realizing what those white 'cupcake looking emojis with pink swirls' are on my phone...
... They're fish cakes! Oh soooo good! (I have been using the emojis non-stop since my discovery.)
Check out how amazing our ramen looked! (Do you see the little emojis I'm talking about?)
I mean C'MON!
LOOK AT THAT RAMEN!!!!
Those were some bomb ramen!
We were incredibly pleased with the experience, and happy to find that we can hit up the Ramen Station for a worthy ramen fix.
The dishes are reasonably priced, and the portions are quite generous. Not only that, but the food was delicious!
We hope that you pay the Ramen Station a visit and try their offerings. Tell them Epicurean Chronicles sent you.
We can't wait to go back for more!