Next week, the highly anticipated Japanese Ramen Chain, Kukai Ramen and Izakaya in Bellevue will enter its second year of business in Bellevue’s strip mall. The franchise was founded more than 10 years ago in a classy shopping district of Tokyo named “Shibuya” in one of Tokyo’s busiest railway stations, so you can only image the competition. Lucky for us, we can get a taste of Tokyo without flying all the way there.
The Kakai Ramen and Izakaya in Bellevue is the first U.S. outpost of the Japanese favorite, Kukai Ramen & Izakaya offering nine different styles of ramen. The most popular is Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen ($11) topped with two pieces of grilled pork, seasoned bamboo shoots, in a rich pork broth flavored with Yamaguchi soy sauce and topped with black garlic oil. A local favorite is the Tsukemen Dipping Noodles ($10) with Tonkotsu which is broad, chewy noodles dipped into a thick, rich soup where you can choose between a light soy sauce base, a thick pork broth base, and a rich chicken broth base.
The Yuzu Shio Ramen ($11) is cooked in a Japanese citrus base, giving it a light, “easy to drink with two hands,” tangy soup base that goes nicely with the French sea salt of the pork and vegetables. The noodles in this dish are slightly thinner than the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen dish.
Menu: French sea salt, kelp, Japanese citrus base.
Menu: Rich pork broth flavored with Yamaguchi soy sauce and topped with burnt garlic oil.
“We are passionate about our ramen. Our philosophy is to serve the most traditional, authentic and delicious Japanese ramen that you can possibly have without actually flying to Japan. Come slurp a bowl and join us in our passion.” —OwnersThe restaurant is situated in an area with ample parking but getting a seat will require some patience. With it’s recent launch, locals and ramen fanatics have lined up out the door to try the authentic Japanese noodles for themselves. After getting inside, the restaurant went with an open concept kitchen as guests can look straight into chefs prepping and cooking the dishes.
Overall, this restaurant offers guests high quality ramen with broth that is carefully thought out and cooked with professional skill. Ingredients are fresh, dishes taste authentic, clean decor and great service.
Stay tuned for our Top List for Best Ramen in Seattle. Comment below and tell us your favorites.