1025 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR 97214
When I was in middle school, I watched a lot of Japanese anime and probably kept the instant ramen market above water single-handedly. While a lot has changed since then, I still sometimes get this insatiable craving for ramen, but I try my best to stay away from the instant, wax-covered noodles and msg filled broth! I was out of luck until I moved to Portland, because now I have access to hundreds of ramen shops and restaurants! One of the most popular is Boxer Ramen. They’ve been top of the list for years, going so far as to be named one of the 33 Best Ramen Shops in America alongside contenders from New York and LA. Impressive! I had to see for myself what some of the best ramen in the US tastes like.
First off, I apologize for the pictures. I accidentally left my camera at home before going to work, and wasn’t about to drive back to Washington to grab it! I don’t mind, because that means I can go to Boxer Ramen’s new location on Alberta to do a second review soon! I also definitely need to try more things on the menu, which is very small and to the point! A small menu is a sign that the restaurant really pays attention to detail, and what you’re about to eat is very special. The interior of the shop is adorable, with cute murals on the wall that I didn’t get a picture of because there were people sitting in front of them. Next time. It was casual and stylish without becoming cutesy.
I tried the Okonomiyaki Tots because who has ever heard of such a thing? Okonamiyaki is a Japanese savory egg pancake, usually topped with seafood. It’s awesome, and I need to find the real thing in Portland at some point. This dish is basically tater tots covered in Okonomiyaki toppings and sauces. I was skeptical of the bonito flakes, which come from the dried skin of the Bonito fish, but I’m always up for a challenge. I loved it. The savory and sweet sauces balanced the salty fish flavor from the Bonito. The tots were crispy to the max! The flavors worked surprisingly well together in a composed dish I never would have thought to make. Well done, Boxer Ramen. Well done.
Soon my huge, steaming bowl of ramen was delivered to me, and I was in heaven. What a beautiful dish! I don’t know where to start first- the broth was a rich and savory traditional pork broth, made by the restaurant. It was almost creamy, and had such a deep umami flavor that was unlike any other broth I’ve tasted. Holy cow! The pork belly was smoky and fatty and wonderful, and played well with the scallions, which served as a nice herbal counterpoint to such a powerfully rich soup. The soft poached egg was my favorite part. I was originally disappointed cutting into my egg because I prefer mine to have a very runny yolk; Boxer Ramen cooks the yolk to medium. When I tried it with the soup, I was immediately proven wrong in my assumption! What an amazingly cooked egg. The yolk was silky smooth, and you must try it with the broth. The flavors together were out of this world, and the texture of the egg was like nothing I’ve ever had. Absolutely insane ramen!
I’m told I need to try the Spicy Red Miso next time, and the Fried Potstickers. I’ll take a friend next time as well, because the portions are huge and the Stark location doesn’t have to-go containers! This is my only gripe, mainly because I was just so sad to leave any morsel behind! Also, I want to try more things. Color me obsessed. Boxer Ramen has a good, cheap selection of Sake and Beer, as well as home-made gluten free Mochi! Prices on the food were awesome as well, especially considering how huge the portions are! I cannot wait to go back! Thank you Boxer Ramen, you’ve earned a new regular!