RAKU TONKATSU RAMEN
2550 PLEASANT HILL RD, DULUTH, 30096
Growing up I think we all tried those disturbing packets of ramen noodles in which you boil water, pour it over this hard block of dehydrated noodles, and finish off with the classic seasoning pack. However, REAL ramen noodles are a staple cuisine of Japan and when done the authentic way, are amazing. While researching top ramen spots in Atlanta, I stumbled upon Raku Ramen and decided to give it a try.
First off, locating Raku Ramen is a bit difficult. It is tucked away in the corner of a huge shopping center. Even with my GPS, it was a bit of a mission to find this place so keep that in mind when looking. Walking into Raku Ramen feels like you got dropped off directly in the heart of Tokyo. The modern wood flooring and stainless steel tables give this small yet quaint restaurant a futuristic feel. The lights are all extremely modern fixtures and are also mostly made of stainless steel. The TV is playing some Japanese show and the servers do not speak fluent English, but I absolutely loved it. I have never been to Japan but I can imagine this is the closest I am going to get here in Atlanta.
Our waitress was extremely friendly and helped us with the menu choices and suggestions. The food came out quickly and the entire staff was friendly. The waitress even cracked a few jokes that had us laughing. Overall the service was great here.
For an appetizer I decided to start with the steamed buns. These bad boys are opened steamed buns stuffed with pork belly, cucumber, scallions, and hoisin sauce. First of all, I am not a pork eater at all. I actually do not enjoy the flavor of pork in general, but these changed my mind. The pork belly was so tender and juicy it melted in my mouth. It was infused with an intense smoky flavor that I absolutely loved. The crisp bite of the cucumbers and scallions gave a nice balance to the dish and lastly the dense chewy steamed buns added the body and texture the dish needed. I absolutely loved this dish and wanted to order a second round.
For my entrée I got the Tonkotsu Seafood Ramen which is the classic ramen noodles with house broth topped with chasu (braised pork belly), seafood, and vegetables. I decided to add egg to mine as well. When the bowl of ramen came out I was taken back by its beauty. All of the elements of the ramen, from the vegetables to the seafood were displayed for my feasting eyes to see in a huge overflowing bowl. The broth had an extremely rich earthy taste filled with fresh seafood flavor and saltiness from the pork belly. All of the seafood was extremely fresh from the calamari to the mussels. The pork belly was cooked beautifully and packed immense smoky flavor. And lastly, when I broke into the par-boiled eggs, the rich creamy yolk oozed out into the broth making the soup that much better. The crisp vegetables added texture to break up all of the richness from the rest of the elements. I absolutely loved this delicious soup.
The price at Raku Ramen was extremely affordable. The steamed buns were $5 and my ramen was $11 making the total bill around $16. For the amount of food you get and the quality you cannot beat this. I definitely was not able to finish my big bowl of soup and had plenty of leftovers.
Based on all of the following criteria discussed above I give Raku Ramen an A+. The atmosphere makes you feel like you are emerged straight into Japan and is one of a kind. The staff are extremely nice and with amazingly delicious and authentic food and affordable prices you cannot beat the experience at Raku Ramen!