The ramen rage has come a long way since the instant cup version hit America’s grocery shelves in the 1970s, and eateries geared toward this slurp-a-licious Japanese comfort food are becoming a popular trend.
The latest aiming at grabbing a piece of the “ramen pie” is Coco Ramen & Curry Bar, which resides on one of the busiest corners in downtown Bellevue.
There is no shortage of ingredients in each large bowl — including vegetables, and a choice of seafood, beef, pork or chicken. Other add-ons are nori (roasted seaweed), scallions, enoki mushrooms, shallots, bean sprouts, tofu and half of a soft-boiled egg.
The menu: Choose from 17 varieties of ramen ($7.99 to $9.99) including some unique versions steering away from the norm like the spicy volcano kimchee; ma-bo (ground chicken and tofu); Sara (crispy noodles with mixed seafood); and chanpon (spicy mixed seafood) ramen.
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If noodles aren’t your cup of soup, then be sure to try the hearty 12 varieties of curry and rice dishes ($7.99 to $9.99). Other alternatives include a tempura udon ($9.84) and “gyu don,” a beef rice bowl ($9.84).
Side orders are a six-piece fried-pork dumplings ($3.75); green salad ($2.75); eight-piece gyoza ($4.25); chicken (deep-fried) karaage ($4.25); and gesso (squid) karaage ($4.95).
What to write home about: The chicken katsu curry ($8.99) with carrot slices came layered with two deep-fried panko breaded chicken breasts, rice and a slaw.
The bulgogi ramen ($9.99) was loaded with diced sukiyaki meat, cabbage, tofu, enoki mushrooms and scallions.
The spicy beef ramen ($8.99) came with braised beef brisket, bean sprouts, roasted seaweed, scallions and half a soft-boiled egg.
The setting: The roomy dining area has 20-plus tables and ample seating, plus seven outdoor tables and chairs.
Summing up: Four of us ordered the spicy beef ramen ($8.99), bulgogi ramen ($9.99), chanpon ramen ($9.99), chicken katsu curry ($8.99) and three sodas ($5.25) for $47.31, with tax.
Mark Yuasa: email@example.com