22 Mar Slurp it up: Ramen Lab Eatery debuts in Boca Raton
Ramen Lab Eatery opened its doors in Boca Raton just a few days ago and already it’s a hit. So much so that the fast-casual restaurant is running out of noodles before closing time, says the manager.
Of course, these are not your random, off-the-shelf, packaged noodles. These springy ramen noodles are handmade on premises every day – sometimes more than once a day. They are submerged in various types of broth, including chicken, pork, vegetable and spicy lemongrass tom yum broth.
The meat broth is simmered for eight hours, says Ramen Lab manager Emma Farrington.
“We don’t use preservatives, nothing frozen or powdered stuff,” she says. The new restaurant is located directly south of Mizner Park.
The ramen tonkatsu ($13) offers a pork broth base, thin noodles, roast pork belly, a custardy boiled egg and veggies. The miso ramen ($12 to $15) boasts chicken bone broth, curly noodles, an egg, veggies and a choice of pork belly, seasoned ground chicken or Korean short ribs.
There’s also a “5 Spices” duck ramen ($16), a hot or cold soba noodle bowl ($15) filled with handmade green tea buckwheat noodles, bonito broth and tempura shrimp, a soy sauce-based shoyu ramen ($12 to $15), vegan ramen ($12) and Tom Yum seafood ramen ($18).
The menu ventures beyond noodles and broth, into ‘Asian tapas’ and poke bowls.
But the menu doesn’t stop at noodles and broth. It also lists “Asian tapas” – pan-seared gyoza, various steamed bao buns, wings and other small dishes. There’s also a selection of rice bowls and Hawaiian-style poke bowls. For the pairing, beer, wine and sake are offered as well as soft drinks.
The new spot is part of the restaurant group that owns the Lemongrass Asian Bistro mini-chain and The Sea Asian Bistro in suburban Delray Beach. The popular 11-year-old Lemongrass pan-Asian concept now operates in four cities – Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Fort Lauderdale – with plans for a new location to open this year at the Mall at Wellington Green.
As for Ramen Lab, the concept is “food laboratory,” a place to be both creative and authentic. The fast-casual spot offers indoor and outdoor seating.
However, if you’re craving a bowl of scratch-made ramen, you may want to visit early. The place closes for the night after the noodles are gone, says the manager.
“We’ve been running out of food just about every night,” she says. “Last night we made more and we still ran out.”
By: Liz Balmaseda