Where do I begin. Okay, so I've gone to Santouka twice in two weeks, if that's anything of a preview to this review. They're a chain that originated in Japan, but they have multiple locations stateside now, and I'm so glad that one of them is in right here, in Harvard Square!
On to it : This place is fairly big, in regards to the fact that it's a ramen joint, and in Harvard Square (which is pretty pricey when it comes to rent, trust). If you're coming here on a weeknight, you might get lucky with no wait, but if you're trying to grab a bowl Fri/Sat, be prepared to wait. Luckily, both times I've gone it's only been a party of two, we didn't have to wait that long, but I saw the looks of despair from groups of 4 or more when we were seated before them - suckers ;)
** you can also receive a text when your table is ready, and walk around the square while you wait - super cool **
You're greeted in Japanese the moment you're taken your seat - pretty standard at most authentic places that I've been. At your table you'll find a simple menu, condiments to add to your dish, and a neat little basket/hamper to store your belongings should you not want to leave them on your table - which I thought was incredibly thoughtful.
Our server was attentive and personable, they took our order right away, gave recommendations if we needed them, and provided the dare I say, perfect, amount of check-ins during our meal.
Onto the ramen. We both ordered Shio as our style of ramen for the night. I opted to get the gyoza combo, which comes with, well, gyoza. Four to be exact. My boy got some takoyaki for us to split - great call.
Out of all of the bowls I've had in Boston, this broth is arguably the best out there. Yes, I have been to UNI, late night, yes I have gone to pop-ups, no I'm not lying to you, and no I'm not being paid by anyone to eat countless bowls of one of my favorite foods. It's not overtly fatty, you know those bowls you get that you have to drink water with because it's just too much - you won't feel like that.
The noodles had bite, and although I opted for the small version, I was duly satisfied with the amount that was given.
The egg was cooked perfectly, and there was an appropriate amount of garnish served with the bowl.
My one regret is not getting extra meat, definitely a must-go (did I mention they have a rewards card? how can this place get any better?)
Feel free to learn more about Santouka Hokkaido on their website, and be sure to visit if you have a chance!