Popular Japanese ramen chains have been slowly breaking into the American market and recently Hakata Ikkousha has joined in with with the soft-opening of their award-winning hakata ramen. They offer 5 types of tonkotsu ramen…a standard tonkotsu, shio (salt) tonkotsu, black tonkotsu (with fried garlic), miso tonkotsu, and the fearsome-sounding “god fire” with 4 levels of spiciness.
Similar to Shinsengumi, Ikkousha starts you off with an order form that lets you customize your ramen by broth flavor, noodle hardness and choice of toppings.
The friendly waiter insisted that the standard tonkotsu is the best bet…so be it. But I added the premium toppings (seaweed, flavored egg, 3 additional pieces of chashu, and menma), plus an order of the gyoza and fried rice. Next time…”Level 4″…next time…
The standard ramen comes with kikurage mushrooms, green onions, and a slice of chashu. Adding premium toppings really fills up the bowl. The ramen comes with skinny perfectly-chewy hard noodles typical of hakata style ramen that pairs really well with the soup. The soup was surprisingly good and different. Tonkotsu seems to be the favorite soup base of most new ramen shops, but Ikkousha’s soup stands out as being more pork bone than creamy. I really enjoyed the edgier flavor. The flavored hanjuku egg is perfectly done and worth adding to your ramen.
You’ll notice a mysterious sauce on the table called “ramen sauce”. What the heck? The waitress wasn’t really able to explain what it was besides telling us to add some to the soup for extra flavor. Be careful, it seems to have a *super* concentrated salty flavor, but a single drop in a spoonful of soup really did enhance the flavor. Use sparingly!
More winners: the fried rice was delicious, as was the gyoza. The “one bite” gyoza comes with a red blob of a slightly sour and spicy plum sauce. And try the spicy pickled mustard greens (there’s a container of it on every table) with the fried rice. Tasty!
Open daily: 11:30am to 10:00pm