Noodle Tuesday: First look at Marukame Udon Downtown

Left: fresh noodles at Marukame Udon Downtown; right: Yama chili udon

(Note: This isn't a review, just a first look at Marukame's new location.)

After a year of anticipation, Marukame Udon Downtown is finally open. But if you were expecting a carbon-copy of the Waikiki location, you might be surprised.

The new location has a different feel—a more industrial look, as if they started building a replica of the Waikiki space and then left it unfinished—and a different menu, catering to local tastes, according to Marukame Downtown manager Aaron Yamamoto. Some of the new items on this menu: Yama's chili udon (named after Yamamoto's father), teri chicken udon, chicken-soup udon and paitan udon. Some Marukame Waikiki favorites made it on the new menu, such as the ontama (topped with a soft-boiled egg) and kake udon (in a light broth).

There's still the tempura bar, the kakiage renamed "onion bomb," kabocha to "pumpkin." What hasn't changed is that all the udon is still made fresh daily on the premises, and all bowls are under $6.

For downtown workers taking lunch back to the desk, there's a takeout window on Hotel Street, open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Marukame Udon Downtown, 1102 Fort Street Mall,
Tentative opening hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.