Dining With Denise Neil

A sneak peek look at Wichita’s first ramen restaurant

Jack Fukuda’s much-anticipated new Yokohama Ramen Joint opens on Sunday at 613 W. Douglas in Delano.

But on Tuesday, Fukuda gave his staff a test run and invited his friends, family and business associates to sample the soup early. I took the opportunity to grab a sneak peek for my readers. Watch the quick video I made and try not to have a fit of mouthwatering hunger. You might recognize Andrew Gough, the owner of Reverie Coffee Roasters, in the video. You can read his take on the restaurant’s soft opening below.

The ramen, for those of you still confused, is nothing like the dry-and-crumbly stuff with a flavor packet you ate in your dorm room. It’s a rich soup made with broth that’s been simmering for hours and hours, and it’s swimming with ingredients like pork, corn, bamboo shoots, hard boiled eggs and black mushrooms. Ramen places are all the rage in big cities, and this one is Wichita’s first. You can peruse the menu here.

Warning: The space is tiny and I predict high demand, especially during the restaurant’s first few weeks, so bring your patience with you.

Yokohama Ramen Joint will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Fukuda will put on a little opening ceremony, complete with ribbon cutting.

Here’s what Gough had to say about his soup:

“My buddy Jack is opening his noodle shop, Yokohama Ramen Joint, just west of the roundabout in Historic Delano on Sunday. We were extremely honored to sit at the table and enjoy his amazing creations at his preview party. Here's my preview for you:

We had the pre-set menu featuring gyoza (fried pot stickers), both vegetarian and pork filled, and three ramen selections – two more popular standards and one vegetarian spicy bowl. We ordered one gluten free (Yes!). The broths were very developed, taking 10 hours to prepare. The pork bowl was buttery soup, layered with beautifully displayed toppings, such as sliced roasted pork, green onions and soft boiled egg. Let me tell you about the eggs...soft boiled and soaked in a gluten-free soy sauce concoction for two days. This made the meal. They were creamy and simply divine.

My spicy bowl consisted of miso, corn and green onions and a rich and spicy sauce, which resembles the spicy store bought ramen only slightly, but with much more authentic taste and aroma. The noodles were tender and soaked up the flavor. You have to do a lot of slurping. But it's good. I liken the experience to eating the beef stew at My Tho. It spatters all over your shirt (or beard) if you don't pay attention.”