1724 Broadway Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95818. (1916) 492-2250
It was a sunny weekend morning when I ventured out to meet up with a few friends at Hokkaido Noodle House. Being a bit sleep deprived, I was looking forward to a nice piping hot bowl of ramen to kickstart my day. Ramen for me is one of those dishes that soothes the soul, like pho or chicken noodle soup. However, Hokkaido Noodle House’s ramen did nothing to soothe my soul, the only thing it did do was turn my stomach…violently.
Hokkaido Noodle is located on Broadway in the building that housed the now extinct Mana and prior to that New Edokko. The interior décor is pretty stark, relying strongly on the bamboo fountain and “natural” wood furnishings to lend the regulatory Asian vibe. The staff is polite but a bit unpolished. Both waitresses we had attempted to make some small talk each time they came to the table but it came across as a bit awkward, like they were trying too hard. Also, maybe it was because I was so tired but I found it grating that we had two servers and both of them kept asking us the same questions. Being asked twice if I was ready to order, twice if I liked everything and twice if I want dessert wore on my patience. Instead of having two servers addressing me in a tag team fashion with redundant questions, I would have rather just had one solid server from start to finish.
Our lunch service began with a teeny portion of complimentary sunomono. When I say teeny, I do mean teeny. The paltry serving consisted of probably 5 slivers of cucumber to be shared amongst the four of us. It was such a meager portion, that they probably would have been better off to just omit it. For my order, I opted to go with the House Ramen (Regular size $7.55, Large $8.95). The broth was described as “house special soup” with no indication as to whether it was shio, shoyu or miso. I’m still not sure what the house soup base was but it had a milky consistency similar to miso broth but was completely devoid of any taste. The ramen was garnished with greens, roasted corn, bean sprouts, ½ a boiled egg, some overly fatty char-siu and a mini squid (the chicken was MIA). I like squid but the piece floating in my bowl was a complete turn off. It looked rubbery and a bit like an amputated penis…completely unappetizing. I immediately pulled it out of my bowl and set it aside. Also, the ramen was accompanied by a large wooden ladle for sipping soup…the ladle was aesthetically pleasing but awkward to use. The only two redeeming features I found with my ramen were that the noodles were not overcooked and the broth was hot; but overall, I found my lunch to be a huge disappointment. I ate about half of my ramen and gave up. Some shichimi might have helped alleviate the blandness of the ramen but the only two condiments on the table were minced garlic and some sort of spicy chili oil paste. Although the restaurant’s focus is ramen, the menu also offers various yakitori, donburi and simple appetizers. There’s no beer or wine available for now and dessert is limited to mochi ice cream balls ($1.25).
So in the end, I didn’t get the kickstart I had originally hoped for but upon returning home and downing half a bottle of Pepto, I can truly say that Hokkaido Noodle House made a lasting impression on me.