The ramen craze continues to expand at a rapid pace around Greater Seattle, and one of the newest arrivals is Jinya Ramen Bar in Bellevue.
The California-based ramen chain with a dozen locations across the United States and British Columbia is known for its big bowls of house-made noodles.
The menu: Choose from 10 different styles of ramen ($9.80-$11.80), and be sure to combo it up with a salad plus either pork gyoza, crispy chicken, chicken chashu, pork chashu or a plate of Tokyo curry rice ($3.95-$4.95).
Customers can also customize their ramen by adding additional toppings (50 cents-$2). Other main dishes include pork or chicken chashu rice bowl ($4.80-$8.50) and a Tokyo curry rice bowl ($5-$9).
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They also serve Japanese-style tapas like marinated spinach in sesame sauce ($3.80); Jinya quinoa salad ($5.80); takoyaki, a ball-shaped batter filled with octopus and vegetables ($4.80); spicy creamy shrimp tempura ($6.80); Jinya bun with pork and vegetables ($4.50); and Brussels sprouts tempura ($5.80).
What to write home about: The chicken karaage and pan-fried gyoza (six pieces) were our favorites. The crispy chicken comes in a pile of five, 10 or 15 pieces ($5.50-$13.50) along with a side salad with a light daikon (radish) dressing.
The Jinya tonkotsu black ramen ($11.80) comes with a delightful rich-and-strong porky broth and thin noodles. It was filled with pork chashu, kikukrage (cloud ear fungus), green onion, nori (dried toasted seaweed), egg, garlic chips, garlic oil and fried onion.
The setting: Contemporary dark-wood tones in the dining area; nine tables and one large common table with ample seating leading to an open-aired kitchen.
Summing up: Four of us ordered the tonkotsu black ($11.80) with extra noodle ($1.50); premium tonkotsu ($11.80) with a combination curry rice and salad ($4.95); Jinya chicken ramen ($9.80) and a side of gyoza ($4.80) for $48.89, tax included.
Mark Yuasa: email@example.com