Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Restaurant Ramblings: Boke Bowl (Portland, Oregon)

Hmmm, I guess it's been a while since I've blogged about restaurants.  What's going on here?  I had been wanting to try Boke Bowl for a while now.  Boke Bowl started as a pop-up restaurant and now has opened in a permanent space in the industrial area of the East bank of the waterfront, near OMSI.  

One of the main reasons I've been hesitant on trying this place out is because I *heart* ramen.  However, after reading reviews, people had been disappointed in the pork ramen here.  The last thing I needed was to be disappointed by another bowl of noodles.

I decided to be brave and try it out for once and for all.  You order at the counter then get a cool wooden number.  Take the number to a table and it fits in the groove in the middle of the table.  The wait staff will find you when your order is ready.

It was really difficult deciding which ramen to get.  They all sounded delicious.  My cashier recommended the vegetarian soup.  The reviews I had read were about the pork dashi.  It wasn't authentic and was too contemporary.  

Rather than set myself up for disappointment, I decided to take the cashier's recommendation.  I ordered the Caramelized Fennel Dashi Ramen (japanese eggplant, seasonal rice cakes, pea shoots) for $9.  I should add that they make their own noodles in-house.  In fact, while I was there, they were making fresh noodles.  My cashier also recommended adding the House-Brined and Smoked Tofu for an extra $2.  I happily agreed. 
If you set aside all pre-conceived notions of what "authentic" Japanese ramen should taste like, you'll be in ramen heaven.  The caramelized fennel broth was delicious!  It had a very nice flavor.  The house made noodles were also delicious and had just enough spring and chewiness!  My tofu also did not disappoint.  Wow!  

Of course, I wasn't done trying things.  These are their steam buns.  You can pick 3 buns per order for $7.  I chose (from left to right) pork belly, Korean pot roast and miso mushrooms.  I took these to go to enjoy later.  However, they charge a to-go fee.  My cashier said to avoid the fee, she would send out the steamed buns to the table and to-go boxes were self-serve so I could pack them up and take them with.  Good idea!  I enjoyed these later and my favorites were the pork belly and the miso mushrooms.    
I also took this home for dessert.  It's a DonutOrama Crem Brulee Doughnut.  Delicious!!

I will definitely be back for the novelty ramen.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll be brave enough to try the other broths.

Boke Bowl
1028 SE Water Ave
Portland, OR 97214
ph: (503) 719-5698