Jen and I recently made a trip to Palo Alto to try out Ramen Nagi. We have heard great reviews of this ramen joint, and decided to bring my brother along for this visit.
Wait Time and Ordering
Jen and I had no idea how popular Ramen Nagi was. Ramen Nagi opens for lunch at 11:00 AM and we arrived roughly ten minutes after. The popularity of the place was insane, with a line of roughly thirty-plus parties deep even after the first round was seated, it took us about an hour and ten minutes to get seated.
On the plus side, paper menus were handed out to those near the front line. To order, just mark of choices on the paper menu and fully customize your bowl of noodles. Ordering was simply a breeze.
Ramen Nagi specializes in Tonkatsu Broth and has 5 main options on its menu. 4 of the options are tonkatsu based with a twist and one option was a vegetarian broth. On this day, Jen, my brother, and I all opted for Ramen Nagi’s Red King. The Red King can be customized to varying levels of heat on a 1-10 scale. Jen opted for a 1, my brother opted for a 2, and I went with a 5.
The Red King comes with either sliced pork loin(Chashu) or pork belly(Kakuni). I went with the kakuni option and opted for a side of chashu. The bowl of savory noodles only comes with meat and kikurage mushrooms. I added a soft boiled egg along with a side order of chashu and a kaedama(noodle refill).
The spicy tonkatsu broth was rich and creamy, but still had a broth like consistency. I’ve had ramen where the broth was so creamy that it was porridge like. I personally prefer a more fluid broth. The broth was spicy, yet you could taste the rich pork flavor with every bit. There was a ball of meat mixed with miso and drizzled with a chili sauce that accompanies the red king. This ball of flavored further adds complexity to the meal. I love firm thick ramen noodles and Ramen Nagi had perfectly chewy noodles. Each and every bite was filled extremely delicious.
The chasu and kakuni were both wonderful. While the kakuni was lathered in sauces, the chasu was lighter in flavor. The soft boiled egg was also lighter in flavored with a perfectly runny yoke ( If you leave your egg in the broth too long it begins to cook). All the toppings and ingredients are brilliantly designed to compliment and exemplifies the flavors of the broth. While some ramen joints chose to showcase each element, Ramen Nagi uses its ingredients to make sure its broth is the star of the meal.
The bowl of noodles was just utterly fantastic. Ramen Nagi was a wonderful experience and I would prefer it over Ichiran. If any of you have the chance make sure to check this spot out.
Pro Tip: Arrive as early as you can so that you can be seated in the first or second rounds. The line only gets longer thoughout the lunch hour on weekends.