Noodle Tuesday: New Ramen Santouka

Ramen Santouka

There's a new ramen shop at the Don Quijote in town, a sleek and shiny place of white and metal and glass. It's 10 p.m. and there's still a wait for a table. Pass the time by peering into one of the windows, where you'll see stockpots of broth at a roiling boil, fed by a measured drip of water to replace the evaporation.

Ramen Santouka started when its founder, Hitoshi Hatanaka, watched Tampopo, and stopped for noodles after. He was disappointed in the ramen quality and vowed to make a better bowl. He opened his first ramen shop in 1988; now, there are more than 40  locations throughout Japan,  the U.S., Singapore, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Toroniku ramen

The broth here is porky and milky, the noodles firm, though they can be cooked to your liking. One of the main draws is the toroniku ramen, a bowl accompanied by thin slices of pork cheek, so tender that it will make you reconsider pork belly as your favorite cut.

Would I stop here after my next viewing of Tampopo? Absolutely.

801 Kaheka St., 941-1101