Eating really good food is both a blessing and a curse: A blessing because, yum! Really good food! A curse because anything less is simply less-than-satisfying. Kiwami Ramen, pitched by some as a rebranding of Shabu Hot Pot & Noodle Bar at the same location, reads to me as a whole new restaurant with a focus on ramen (but with Chinese on the side). With Ramen Tatsu Ya—considered by many to be the best ramen in town and perhaps the best in the country–opening a new place around the corner on Burnet, I questioned the wisdom of these folks opening a ramen joint. Furthermore, having had near-Biblical experiences at Ramen Tatsu Ya, I feared that the curse of having had really, really good ramen would result in a poor experience. But I’m surprised and pleased to report that Kiwami Ramen competes. A bowl of ramen with pork belly ($16) at fast-casual Kiwami is not quite as good as the insurmountable mount of Tatsu Ya, but it’s really dang good without the added bonus of waiting out in the cold/heat/rain/sleet for an hour before you eat.
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor
Update (October 20, 2018): Took the bride there last night for a rainy-cold night meal, and she loved it. We shared the Spicy Edamame ($6; rather fantastic) and, after a detailed discussion with staff, she bravely tried the Tomato Ramen ($16; vegetable broth, tomato paste, clams, scallion, cheese powder, and kale noodle), which apparently is a thing, and loved it.
I forgot to mention in the original review that the tunage is quite good with a focus on deadmau5!