Years ago, Kobe Japanese Cuisine & Sushi was known for being featured on Food Network’s Man vs. Food, when host Adam took the now-extinct Hellfire Sushi Challenge. But now, after an owner and chef change, Kobe is famous for its bowls of ramen.
Ramen is Kobe’s specialty, offering several different kinds of the Japanese slurpy soup. But unlike a lot of traditional ramen shops that offer nothing but noodles, Kobe also has a full menu of sushi and Japanese classics. Oh, and a full menu of beer, wine and sake.
Kobe recently expanded to accommodate its popularity, doubling both the size of the dining area — including semi-private booths for large parties — and its kitchen. According to chef and owner Mike Fukumitsu, the expansion comes with an expanded menu, too. In the next couple of months they plan to add shabu shabu to the menu. (Shabu shabu is a traditional cook-your-own beef and vegetable dish.)
Even though Kobe serves other Japanese dishes, I admit that ramen is the only thing I order, sometimes with a side of gyoza (available steamed or fried, $4.95), the mussel shooters ($5.95) or small sashimi plate ($26.95). The gyoza is great and the shooters are tasty if they haven’t run out of them (which happens often) but the sashimi isn’t exactly spectacular.
Ramen is available in two sizes (regular $8.95-10.25 or large $10.95-12.25) and each kind comes with a boiled egg, pickled bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, spring onion, nori and naruto maki. There are six different kinds of ramen: Kimchi, mabo (shoyu ramen with ground pork), miso, shio (salt flavor), shoyu (soy sauce) and tonkotsu (traditional pork flavor).
Additional sides are available like extra pork ($1.95), black garlic oil (50¢), extra egg (50¢) or kimchi ($1.50).
The tonkotsu is my favorite kind of ramen and Kobe’s — ordered with extra charshu pork — is pretty good. It’s creamy, although a bit greasy, but the pork is cooked to perfection. Another favorite is the miso ramen, a more subtle flavor but just as delicious.
Kobe is located in a strip mall and its interior reflects the bare-bones style of typical ramen shops around world. The service is hit or miss (and unfortunately usually a miss) but the ramen is consistently satisfying. Plus it’s the only ramen shop that’s open late, open on Sundays and serves sake.
Go to Kobe for :: a bowl of Japanese ramen. Notes :: Kobe is open from Monday – Thursday from 11 am-2 pm/5 pm-9:30; Fridays 11 am-2 pm / 5-10 pm, Saturday 12-10 pm and Sunday 4-9 pm Reservations are accepted (by calling 801-277-2928) and are recommended.