Out in full force today, ten of us headed for the tiny Samurai Noodle to begin a glancing blow down the west site of the Uwajimaya food court. Samurai Noodle is not strictly in the food court but they give food court privileges to their patrons which helps make-up for the tiny space. Amazingly none of us had been before, but hopes were high.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen + Roasted Seaweed - $6.95
At the risk of completely ruining any credibility I have as a fake restaurant reviewer, I am going to give away my third five chopstick rating to Samurai Noodle. Since I also gave five chopsticks to the Gourmet Noodle Bowl just last week, this was a hard call to make. I suspect if my professional image relied upon it I would be forced to go back to each multiple times and look for the flaws that would allow me to bring maybe one of them down a notch, but under the guidelines provided to me here, I have to make my decision upon a single lunch and today's lunch was flawless.
I ordered the first item on the menu, Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen, and spiked it with Roasted Seaweed for an extra buck. Immediately after I ordered I was wracked with order regret having spied another item that claimed to have originated from the flames of Hell. I wanted to taste the flames of Hell, but it was too late. The tiny photos of the Tonkotsu looked boring. No signs of any biblical references or of even minor demons. Even though we slammed them with ten orders, my order came out promptly and I headed off to the food court to dive in.
Oh my noodly goodness! The broth was thick and rich with slices of mushroom and chopped green onion. The pork was fall-apart tender and cut into thick slices for optimal masticatory pleasure. The noodles were fresh and tender, but not at all mushy like rehydrated ramen can be. In fact, there is a sign at Samurai Noodle that recommends that you eat your noodles withing seven minutes of being served. They are that serious about their noodles, and it shows. Yes, Samurai Noodle has the top ramen in Seattle.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen + Extra Pork - $7.95
Lets start with the physical size of the restaurant: it's tiny. So many of us at the office had heard good things so we a group of 10 of us... and there was no way we were all going to fit in there (with the other customers). Luckily, we were able to take our food over to the Uwajimaya food court... but even there we had to split into two groups.
I ordered the ramen noodles in pork broth (Tonkotsu), and I also ordered extra pork slices (because I think pigs are wonderfully delicious). The Tonkotsu was surprisingly creamy and delicious... so much so that I've been wondering how they made it so "thick." IANAC (I am not a chef), but the only way I could think of to make it that creamy and thick would be to put a lot of butter or oil in it.
The noodles were good (I ordered mine "medium") and significantly better than brick-style ramen noodles I so vividly remember from my college days. But still, it's ramen.
Decent food. Tiny building.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen + Extra Pork - $7.95
I was looking forward to this place, cause some Amazon buddies rated it quite highly. It's a small place, requiring us to eat in the neighboring food court (which is awesome, cause I like hanging out with crack addicts). As is typical I ordered typical fare, menu item number 1, the Tonkatsu. It advertised that it contained "slice of pork", which just wasn't going to work for me. I opted for extra pork.
Good Lord. This ramen is like a bowl of fatty pork in butter with some noodles added for texture. I admire their bravery in serving this to me. It should come with a carton of Newports, for clearly my health is not their concern. The broth, though flavorful, is overwhelmed with the fatness of the pork. However, the pork is fantastic, delicious, and cooked to the point where it falls apart. The noodles were typical ramen noodles.
Perhaps it was the bonus pork I so naively ordered, but to me this soup was just too rich. I felt a knot in my stomach after finishing it. I also take points away for making us sit in the food court. However this place does have an interesting menu, and I will definitely give it a second chance.
Luncher: DaveLunch: Samurai Armour Bowl -
i had the "samurai armour bowl", which is basically one of the standard noodle bowls (pork, for me) plus a set combination of addins:
- sliced pork (a ton)
- green onions
- dried mushrooms
- a hardboiled egg that had been cooked in some kind of broth, i think
first, the basic soup: the pork broth was delicious. it was very porky, with a very filling mouthfeel (due in part to the decent amount of pork fat involved). the noodles were pretty typical ramen-type noodles, although thicker and chewier than your standard mix-in-flavor-packet variety. not the best noodle soup i've had, but definitely in the top 3 or 4 places in the area. i'd do this over pho at green leaf, but pho bac is more of a tossup.
next, the "armour bowl" addins: as an intro to the options, it was great, but as a lunch it was just too much. the pork, in particular, was delicious but was way more than i needed. i ended up not quite finishing the pork and the broth. if i were to go back, i'd probably do just egg and green onions. the mushrooms were good; a little crunchy, especially at first, but not something i couldn't live without. same with the seaweed. it added a nice seafood hit when you got a bite, but i wouldn't miss it if it were gone.
overall, i'm a little on the fence about the place. if it were the only noodle game in town, it'd be an easy 4 for me. as it is, with pho bac, szechwan noodle, and gourmet noodle (which i haven't tried yet) as options in the area, it's got a harder job to fill. that said, i'm going with 4 chopsticks, mostly because it fills a niche in between soft, wussy rice noodles and big chewy udon-style noodles, and there are times when a little ramen will hit the spot better than either of the others.
Luncher: ErinLunch: Cha-shu Don (Tender Pork Teriyaki & Rice Bowl) - $7.00
I had the Teriyaki Pork Rice Bowl a simple meal of steamed rice with roasted shredded pork. There were some garnishes of nori, pickled ginger and green onion. The teriyaki pork was flavorful and tender. The dish overall was a bit dry, it could have used a bit of extra sauce of some kind. The portion was generous, way more than I could eat for lunch. Everything was delicious, and I will return very soon!
Luncher: JeffLunch: Samurai Lunch Combo - $9.00
This meal was promoted as one of their 2 lunch combos. For 9.00, I certainly got the volume of food you’d expect at this price – too much food for one person. However, neither of the dishes appear suited for leaving to have as left-overs which meant there was some waste. That said, the $9.00 lunch combo could have fed 2 people very affordably.
The soup / noodle bowl was great. The broth was tasty, the noodles fresh. My serving was a chicken / pork combo. However, the pork flavor was certainly more dominant – the chicken appeared to be more of an added extra. That’s OK, because it would have been a great solo meal. The teriyaki which also came with combo left a lot to be desired. Marginal rice. Average meat. Average sauce. The seaweed garnish and red shredded pickled ginger were nice touches but didn’t make up for over-all blandness. If I’d ordered just the soup, the overall rating would be higher. As is, I just can’t make that strong of an endorsement for a promoted combo meal where only 50% of it was worth the return visit.
Luncher: WayneLunch: Shoyu (Chicken Broth) Ramen - $5.95
Ramen noodles that came eight for a dollar with a flavor packet were a staple of my college years. This meal bore little resemblance to that lunch of the past.
These noodles had a firm texture and delicious flavor. The chicken broth was a tasty and clear. The single piece of pork was generously large and deliciously tender, literally falling apart as I lifted it up out of my bowl.
I will be back. I’m anxious to try other their other dishes and to dine in their small, charming restaurant.
Luncher: RobLunch: Tounyu (Soy Broth) Ramen - $6.50
I was a little nervous going to a place called Samurai Noodle, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I ordered the fresh ramen noodles in the soy broth, with fresh tofu, green onions, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and roasted seaweed because it was one only veggie ramen option. There were some other lunch options, but I wanted the fresh ramen, and I must say, it did not disappoint. The soy broth was surprisingly thick and flavorful with a slight spiciness, the ramen was chewy and thin and very good, and the other "toppings" were just added goodness, especially the bamboo shoots -- surprisingly textured (chewy with a bit of a crunch) with a sweet edge. The closest comparison for me so far was the vegetable noodle with soup at Szechuan Noodle Bowl, and I liked this one better overall. The noodles were better at Szechuan Noodle Bowl, but the veggie broth and accompanying fixins were better at Samurai Noodle. I'll definitely come back here, but with a smaller group of lunchers so we can eat in the relatively tiny restaurant instead of trekking down the block to the Uwajimaya food court with styrofoam bowls in tow.
Luncher: JoeyLunch: Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen - $6.95
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Shoyu (Chicken Broth) Ramen - $5.95
Samurai Noodle PhotosSamurai Noodle
Lots of Broth
Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen + Extra Pork
Tounyu (Soy Broth) Ramen
Samurai Armour Bowl