Visit Date: March 15, 2018
Pine Street Market
126 SW 2nd Ave #109
Portland, OR 97204
Since we were going to be in Portland, and there are some really great restaurants there we decided to get some Ramen. I am of course speaking of the real kind of ramen, not the stuff you get ten of for a dollar at the grocery store. I am talking about the real honest to goodness Japanese slurping kind of ramen.
So after a bit of research, we headed to Marukin. Marukin is the first US outpost of a Japanese ramen chain. They make their broths and noodles in-house and with a fair degree of care. Besides ramen, they also have dumplings (gyoza), fried rice bowls, and several other sides. Intriguingly (I never did get a chance to sample any) they also have a fairly extensive selection of Japanese whiskeys on hand at varying price points (~$10 to ~$50 a glass).
The Pine Street location is part of a dining hall that also features a burger shop, French restaurant, pizza bar, ice cream shop, coffee bar, and a couple other eateries. Everything is open and seating is shared – pretty much like a food court but with much nicer food available.
After taking a walk through the space (and using the facilities), I headed to Marukin. I was quickly taken care of and ordered a bowl of ramen. I went for the pork broth (not spicy) and some gyoza. You pay, get a number, then head off to find a table. In my case, I went looking for my wife and her friend Caitlin. Soon enough, we were all comfortably situated at a table and ready to eat. Caitlin had found herself a gin and tonic made with rose tonic (pretty awesome) from the French restaurant, and Anna and I shared a non-alcoholic beverage. We waited with anticipation.
An Oops and an umami….
Soon enough, the ramen came out. Well cooked egg, beautiful veggies, delicious mushrooms, fatty but tasty pork, and chicken broth. Oops. Somehow I ended up with the wrong broth – pretty sure I didn’t order the wrong thing, so… I dreadfully wanted the traditional pork ramen, but instead, I got the chicken. Oh well. Dare I say, it was delicious? Anna and Caitlin gave things a try and were likewise impressed. Broth and ramen noodles both were excellent.
Then they brought the gyoza. We had enjoyed some earlier in the day at Frank’s Noodle House, but being the dumpling fiend I am I had gone for round two. I am happy I did – the filling was excellent but the wrapper was divinely silky. I would be hard-pressed to pick which one I liked more, but in terms of technique, the ones from Marukin were superior.
By the time we finished our meal, there was nothing left. Happy and well-fed, we went forth into the night!
A Note from the Author:
While heading out to breakfast a day or two later, Anna and I realized there is another location of Marukin a block from the Jupiter Hotel. Being a bit more sedate than the dining hall, I think the likelihood better service and more accurate delivery there would have made it a better choice. While we kept saying we wanted to go back to try a different version of ramen, we never did make it back.
We still wish we had.