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Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Amazingly, we were able to get two weekends in a row with some time for us to go out together without the kiddos (thanks, Aunt Cindy!). I said ‘hey you wanna try some more ramen?’ Kit was up for it and so we checked this place out. But it turned out that although they did have ramen, this was clearly a Korean restaurant in the middle of Bellevue. I thought ordering a Japanese dish at a Korean restaurant just seemed a little off, so I went in for something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time – only had it in instant varieties thus far, so time to try the real thing. Let’s go!

COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

550 106th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 * Website

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

The menu.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

My awesome wife Kit. Before we went here, we went to a car wash and vacuumed out the minivan. Yes, we roll in a minivan – we have two kids. We actually really like it a lot. But after many trips to Canada with the kids and passing back snacks to toddlers in the back seat, something had to be done about the sea of crumbs on the floor. An odd way to start our little romantic outing I’ll admit, but definitely nice to have a clean ride again!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

I saw this one their online menu and thought to myself ‘finally.’ We’ve been out for Korean food many times, but never seen Budae Jjigae on the menu.

So as far as the ambiance of the place. It was pretty loud, despite not many being there. Blasting some rap (explicit versions) kind of made it a definite no-go for the label ‘family restaurant,’ and I think this place is probably pretty insane on a Friday night.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Kit ordered some beef and chicken teriyaki, which was the first to arrive at the table. Really good!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

We were both elated to see the inclusion of cream cheese tteokbokki on the menu. We used to frequent a little restaurant in Lynnwood called Chi Mc ‘n Hot Pot which had Korean bar food – and they had this dish. This one was more of a carbonara styled version whereas the original was with crabmeat.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Another favorite of our was the seafood pancake – always something worth getting. At this point I noticed something. No banchan. Where’s the banchan?! What’s banchan? Well, when you go out for Korean food usually you are presented with an array of little dishes with little things little kimchi, pickled radish, marinated vegetables, etc. Usually about eight or so of them. Not here.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Holy moly (click to enlarge). Wow – this looks fascinating. The ramyun noodle was just right – thick and chewy. Broth was strong but had that smack of bitter aftertaste I generally am not a big fan of. Heat level was on point – very strong and spicy. While the menu mentioned cheese, I really didn’t detect any, which was a little disappointing. But the sheer amount of different inclusions in here was just amazing and wonderful. Kimchi was great, soft tofu, salami, SPAM, – it goes on and on. No macaroni or beans however, which I has expected from the instants I’ve had. Long story short, this was quite good and definitely recommended. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.

Let’s delve into what budae jjigae is.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Okay (click to enlarge) so budae jjigae translates to ‘troop stew.’ After the Korean War, US Troops left behind lots of the foods that they had brought. Some including pork and beans, SPAM, sausage – basically things that would last a long time. Well, the Koreans incorporated them into this dish.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

A side shot of the bowl (click to enlarge). Did I eat it all? Oh God no – this was a lot of food!

Restaurant: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar – Chicken Wonton Ramen – United States

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

So it happened. A date night. These are pretty rare for us and a lot of fun! So we decided to give another ramen joint a try. Tonight, it’s Jinya Ramen Bar in Bellevue, Washington.

Jinya Ramen Bar – Chicken Wonton Ramen – United States

15600 NE 8th St. Suite O-11 Bellevue, Washington 98008 * Website

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

Here’s their menu for this location.

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

My wife Kit. She kicks ass – she’s always up to try something new!

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

The table accompaniments. Surprised that there wasn’t any togarashi to sprinkle.

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

We’ve tried the izakaya (appetizers) at all the ramen restaurants we’ve been to. This is their ‘Jinya Bun” – ‘steamed bun stuffed with slow-braised pork chashu, cucumber, and baby mixed greens served with JINYA’s original bun sauce and kewpie mayonnaise’

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

Here are their ‘Mini Tacos.’ ‘slow-braised pork chashu and kimchee in a crispy wonton taco shell’

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

Decided to try takoyaki this time – ‘battered octopus over egg tartar topped with kewpie mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, fresh cut green onion and smoked bonito flakes’

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

For the main course, Kit opted for a rice bowl – she said it was pretty good.

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

Here’s what I ordered (click to enlarge), their Chicken Wonton Ramen (wantanmen). Their menu had this to say – ‘chicken broth: wonton, spinach, green onion » served with thin noodles.‘ The noodles were indeed thin. They married to the broth just perfectly. The broth was extremely good – very rich and gave me that same feeling as having noodles that had a runny egg yolk on them – pure bliss. The wonton were extremely good as well with nice texture and innards. Chicken flavor throughout. I can’t explain how absolutely fantastic this was and can say easily at this point that this bowl eclipses all other bowls of ramen I’ve sampled in the area, putting them to shame. A no-brainer 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

A side-angle of the bowl (click to enlarge).

Restaurant Ramen: #3060: Jinya Ramen Bar - Chicken Wonton Ramen - United States

This greeted me at the bottom of the bowl and honestly I was sad to see it. It meant that my ramen was indeed gone and my short, tasty life at Jinya Ramen Bar had ended. Perhaps we shall return and try something else next time.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya – Shio Ramen – Bellevue Square

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

Thanks as always to Aunt Cindy for watching our rugrats and giving us an fternoon out ! It’s been awhile – last time we had an outing just us was around review #2761 – another ramen restaurant – in December! Further back we went to Hokkaido Santouka in Bellevue, WA and people there as well as at the mall mentioned this Kizuki place. So this time we thought we’d give it a try.

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya – Shio Ramen – Bellevue Square – United States

575 Bellevue Way NE Space 252, Bellevue, WA. 98004
Phone: 425-454-0885
Email: [email protected]
Monday – Saturday : 9:30am – 9:00pm
Sunday : 9:30am – 7:00pm
Thanksgiving: Closed
Christmas Eve: 11am – 6:00pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Menu

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

We noticed a lot of people outside the place as we walked by to look at some other things at the mall before going to lunch. Well, when we decided to go over there, there were a couple people still waiting inside the doorway that are pictured here – about a half hour later. Our wait time was around 45 minutes. Kind of lame – but then again what do you do. What kind of sucked too was that on the sheet you sign your name on, there’s a box you can check as to whether you want to sit at the bar or iat a table. So they call our name and say that there are two spots at the bar we could sit at – well, my wife checked the box saying we wanted to sit at a table. So we goty to wait a little longer. I mean, I get it – some people might be like ‘screw it we’ll sit at the bar,’ but we wanted a table.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

Here’s where the magic happens (click to enlarge).

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

Here’s another view. The artwork and look of the place was very nice. I will say that I find it kind of funny how every one we’ve been to so far is more like a bar atmosphere – very subdued lighting Eat your soup in the dark, haha! But actually it’s kind of nice.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

To start, we tried the agedashi tofu (click to enlarge). I had this at another place a long time ago and I liked it better. However, this was really nice. Tofu with just the lightest crunch to the outside and a nice dashi  sauce around it – very tasty.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

This caught my eye when I looked at the menu online – prawn cutlet (click to enlarge). Basically these were breaded and fried and had very nice and moist prawn innards with a bit of sauce on the outisde. Definitely worth trying.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

Finally, the chashu pork bun (click to enlarge). I was really excited about this however it seemed a bit of a letdown. The thing didn’t stay together very well for one. I felt like it was one of those things just made for Westerners. I mean it was alright but just expected something a little different even though it looks exactly as it did in the menu image. Mayonnaise tonkatsu sauce and hot mustard on there.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

Kit got the pork chashu don (click to enlarge). with an egg. She liked it except for the seaweed which I took on for her.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

I went for the Shio ramen (click to enlarge). I got an egg and extra fishcake as well. I liked it – the chashu was nice although wish it were just a little thicker. Lot sof vegetable on this one – a lot of cabbage which was kind of a surprise. Menma was good with a nice crunch to it. Noodles wre alright – definitely had better since I started this journey into trying restaurants around here. The broth was quite nice – not overly anything – just right.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

Oil dancing at the top.

Restaurant: #2848: Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya - Shio Ramen - Bellevue Square

The egg was very good – as far as being marinated, it could have used a little more time. In conclusion, I was very happy with our experience. The ramen was just right and exactly what I was in the mood for, and the izakaya was for the most part very good. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

Time lapse of a Kisuki Ramen being built somewhere.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka – Shio Tonkotsu – Bellevue, Washington

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

I’ve been asked many, many times to go try restaurant ramen by my readers. Well, Merry Christmas! As Gurney Halleck once said in the novel Dune, “Behold, as a wild ass in the desert, go I forth to my work.”

To be honest, this is a new frontier for me. In the past, I’ve been to one actual ramen restaurant and that was down in California. I did do a post on it, but that was a long time ago and I’d not really figured it would be a regular thing. This review begins what should be a slightly regular thing; I mean I’m not going every week or anything but often-ish; more often than I had in the past, that’s for sure.

I’ll review restaurants the same way I review everything else – from the standpoint of my palate.No science, no insanity. Ratings will be based solely on the ramoen – no appetizers/etcetera unless they’re extras that are really to upgrade the ramen.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka – Bellevue, Washington

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
103 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Menu

It had been quite a while since my wife and I had the chance to venture out by ourselves without the kiddos in tow. a one year old girl and a very, very rambunctious 2 1/4 year old just didn’t seem a good combo with bowls of hot noodles in broth. So we went to this ramen joint.

The wait to be seated was short – maybe 3 or 4 minutes which was nice. It was a Sunday in the early afternoon, however it was pretty busy there.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

We ordered a couple drinks – a melon float for my wife and a Coke float for me.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

We decided to try the karaage (click to enlarge). It’s been a couple weeks and I swore it was tonkatsu but that’s not on the menu so it must be karaage. Chicken was crisp and meat was tender and tasty.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

My wife ordered the Cha-shu Gohan – rice topped with pork which was very nice. We also got a couple from the ramen toppings menu – Bara Toro Cha-shu and Aji-Tama. The Bara Toro Cha Shu is pork cheeks and braised pork belly. I will say the pork belly was good as were the cheeks, however it did seem like there was linger of over cooked fat with them and that wasn’t to my liking.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

Here’s half of the Aji-Tama in my ramen. This was just excellent – marinated just the right amount and the yolk was just perfect – not too congealed, not too drippy.

Restaurant: #2666: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka - Shio Tonkotsu - Bellevue, Washington

I ended up choosing the shio tonkotsu (click to enlarge). The noodles were great – nice and chewy with a great gauge to them. The broth was thick with a balance of shio and tonkotsu. I think was I wanted to be honest was an onslaught of creamy, rich tonkotsu with no distractions, but the shio really did go well. The cha-shu was excellent – could eat that for a whole day straight. A slice of narutomaki sat atop along with sesame, menma, kikirage… I know people are going to call me names, but I’ve never come in contact with that little berry looking things before – I thought ‘hey, is that a fresh Wolfberry?’ but it doesn’t look like it. It was crunchy and I believe it had a pit. Wasn’t sure if I was supposed to eat that or not – like a bay leaf. But then again, I eat bay leaves. I really liked the ramen. It was quite good, well presented and all. I just have to say it didn’t give me that ‘oh holy crap I have to tell everyone to come here immediately.’ 4.75 out of 5.0 stars.

#390: Menraku Japanese Curry “Soba” Bowl

So we went to the brand new Bellevue Washington Uwajimaya a couple days ago and wow – pretty awesome! Got some nice bowl noodles to try – here’s one!

Packet left is powdered seasoning, right is vegetables and tofu.

I think that looks like it’s going to be really good! The curry smells awesome!

Click image to enlarge. Added two fried eggs. Wow – this is great! Kind of tastes like Golden Curry – the stuff you get in the little boxes? The broth is tasty as can be The noodles were a slightly weaker than I expected but not too bad. But the veggies and tofu were excellent – very nice! Giving this 4.0 out of 5.0 stars!

Curry soba in Tokyo – that stuff looks amazingly tasty!

Uwajimaya – Bellevue

So here’s some interesting ones I picked up at the Bellevue Uwajimaya today. I usually walk to 99 Ranch to get a different package of noodles every day, but these are all ones that they don’t have there. Some unique stuff here! I imagine I’ll get down to the Uwajimaya in Seattle and end up with some more unique stuff there .