Ramen, Karaoke and Korean Tacos at Yokohama
StandEatDrink Hospitality Group’s most recent venture, the aggressively hip Yokohama—subtitled: A Ramen Joint—sprawls comfortably in the spot where Yield Bar once was.
1932 E. Kenilworth Place
Price range: $-$$
Handicapped access: No
CC, FB, OD, SB
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
We should start with the ramen. There are two kinds available at lunch, and a vegetarian option is added for the expanded dinner menu. The Tonkotsu ($12), served with a savory-sweet red miso honey broth, comes with pork, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, seaweed, and a soft-boiled egg. I added a bit of chili sauce into my broth after a while to give it some piquancy, but overall I was impressed with the flavor and consistency of the broth, which matched up quite nicely with the ingredients, especially the earthiness of the mushrooms.
I was a bigger fan of the Shio ($11), which features chicken, a roasted plum tomato, seaweed and egg in a yellow miso ginger broth. The ginger in the broth is understated but present if you look for it, and I’m a sucker for the way a combination of sweet and spicy can make a broth slurpable. While I wished each bowl would have had a bit more seaweed, generally speaking the portions are more than adequate, with a hefty amount of noodles to ensure each bowl is filled. Especially in the cooler months, I can absolutely envision taking solace in a warm bowl of Shio.
In addition to the ramen options, Yokohama offers a handful of varieties of Korean tacos for $3 apiece. The Mushroom, consisting of hoisin-glazed shiitake mushrooms, sweet corn, shredded carrots and daikon radish, is one of the better vegan tacos in the city—texturally, it’s a nice mix of soft mushroom and crunchy toppings, and it’s got a nice fresh flavor to it, which goes well with the sweetness from the hoisin glaze. The Pork taco, topped with a sweet and spicy slaw, a roasted jalapeño sauce and a smattering of sesame seeds, has similar textural components to the mushroom, and is a very serviceable appetizer.
Diners who tend to skew toward new American flavors will be pleasantly surprised at the Thai Chili Burger ($9), which tops a beef patty with the apparently ubiquitous shiitake mushrooms, a roasted red tomato and a house-made beer cheddar using Kirin Ichiban. There’s also a spicy ketchup served on the side, which our server warned us was too spicy for some guests. (I would say it’s medium at most.) The burger itself was solid, held together by the pretty dang good (albeit sloppy) beer cheese, which had a surprising sweetness to it. It’s smart to have a solid burger option, especially one pulled off as well as the Thai Chili Burger.
Yokohama feels like the kind of place sitcom characters go at the end of the episode to wrap things up—it’s very clean and modern, with a hey-let’s-have-some-fun-here-but-eat-good-too vibe. It’s a fine addition to the East Side—especially the karaoke option, which is offered every night (every night!) at 10 p.m.