There's been a ramen-shaped hole in the heart of philly since Aoi closed a few years ago. Fortunately for all, Ben Watanabe, the former owner of Aoi has teamed with Yakitori Boy to bring us back to the tonkatsu promised land.
Ramen Boy opened two weeks ago on North 9th street at Race. If the initial reviews are to be believed, There were some serious quality issues when they opened their doors. The staff have clearly worked out the kinks.
The Miso was very good. savory, but not overly salty. The Chashu was tender and flavorful and so were the pork gyoza.
For this review, Dan Zhou, who worked for Watanbe at Aoi, provided samples of the spicy ramen and The tonkatsu. The spicy ramen is flavored with habaneros and was very good. The tonkatsu is in another class altogether. According to Zhou, the broth is prepared for 16 hours. Despite being made in the "Yokohama style", it is the color of a hokkaido blend. It is rich and, like the miso, not too salty.
The staff was the picture of alacrity. My food came promptly, my water glass was never empty and they promptly brought me the check when I was ready to leave. The interior is authentic, right down to the stools in lieu of proper chairs.
One can only speculate about the bad experiences people reported on Yelp, in particular. This reviewer would be remiss if they weren't mentioned. It should be noted, however, that they are almost all from the first weekend. Every restaurant encounters problems when they open. Ramen Boy is a must for anyone who, like Joe Hubris, considers ramen a necessity of life.
204 N. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107