A friend is supposed to look out for you and be there in times of need. They should be a shoulder to cry on. A confidant with whom you can share your deepest fears and loftiest dreams. Someone who will tell you you’re better off without your ex and no don’t drink that 21st shot of tequila on your birthday. Friends also don’t serve you mini bowls of ramen and try to pass it off as a good idea. That’s why we can’t be friends with Friends Ramen.
Friends Ramen is a ramen restaurant brought to you by the people who own the nearby Friends Sushi. And we actually like Friends Sushi. It’s the kind of decent and affordable sushi restaurant responsible for the survival of weekday sushi with my girls. So we had hopes this ramen project of theirs would fill a similar role - that it'd be an easy and affordable place to grab a weekday bowl of ramen. But it’s not.
The problems start with the concept - mini bowls of ramen for $6. There are nine different styles of ramen and each one comes in a small bowl a little bigger than your typical cup of soup. The idea is you order multiple bowls at once and can try a few flavors. But we’ve never once thought, "Man, wish we could try all those ramen flavors." It’s not ice cream. We don’t want to order four different mini bowls of ramen. It’s not cute. It’s not fun. And plainly put, it's a bad idea.
Aside from the fact mini ramen bowls are a bad idea, it’s also not good food. If you've had ramen anywhere else you’ll know this is mediocre broth with spaghetti noodles that lacks flavor. Edible, sure, but something you’d expect to find in an airport or mall food court. And then there are also bad rice bowls with pork belly and other meats. The rice tastes like it was microwaved after sitting in the fridge for a night while the meat is reminiscent of a generic rubber chicken. Not that we’ve eaten rubber chickens before, but we imagine this is what they taste like. Add in an uncomfortable seating arrangement and a menu that looks like it was drawn by crayon and you have the makings of a place to which we will not be back.
This isn’t any way to treat a friend.
You’re going to need to order 2-4 bowls anyway. If you’re here, get the tan tan men or the spicy miso ramen. Or better yet, go somewhere else. Stay away from the cheesy ramen - we’re afraid of that.
Rice Bowl With Pork Belly
Skip the rice bowls altogether. The rice isn't cooked right and the meat tastes rubbery and fake.
The seaweed salad came over a bed of plain lettuce. Let’s keep a seaweed salad to being a seaweed salad.