I’ve been waiting for the crowds to abate at Nami Ramen in Clayton (former location of House of Wong). But since that doesn’t seem to be happening, I went anyway. Chances are Ramen noodles put you through college, but now you’ve upgraded to sushi. But I’m not talking about your 1980’s dorm room survival kit in a cellophane package. Ramen noodles have come a long way.
Today Japanese ramen-making is an art form with many expressions, as is evident by the menu at the chic corner kitchen. Nami’s attractive website tells us that fresh ingredients are prepared in-store and carefully simmered for hours to produce an entire meal packed into one bowl. The menu reminds customers to “respect real ramen” and, indeed, you will after slurping a hearty bowl of broth, meat and veggies at Nami’s.
The steam buns (or bao) are little bundles of flavor. I had the Shredded Curry Chicken ($3.00) and would again. My friend had the Nami Signature Tonkotsu ($13.80), a creamy pork broth with braised pork belly, onions and wood-ear mushrooms. The Tempura Rice Bowl ($12.50) was a mélange of vegetables topped with a crunchy, tempura-style chicken.
Nami Ramen seats about 50 people, some at the bar or window counter, others at long community-style tables. Try to find a seat that faces the open kitchen and watch the cooks in action. Here’s the menu.
Nami Ramen, 46 N. Central Ave., Clayton. Open: Sun-Thu 11a-9p. Fri-Sat 11a-10p. (Hours are subject to change; check Facebook for updates.)
Interesting Factoid: The average American spends about $7,852 a year on food. If you ate commercial Ramen noodles at every meal for a year it would cost you about $150.