The noodle soup cravings start hitting around this time of the year.
It’s freezing outside and you’re pining after something warm. Or, anything to fight away the winter doldrums. And, if you live in the Triangle area, you know that your options can be limited when it comes to noodle soups. Sure, there are a constellation of pho restaurants (namely Pho Far East) that can be counted upon for a decent bowl, but for those that yearn for something a tad heartier, the mind tends to creep towards one thing—ramen.
That’s when the range of options really begins to trickle down to almost nada. Do you travel to Dashi in downtown Durham for it? For those gastronomes that have done so near and far, the results have been, well, rather mixed. Torii over by Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh? Forget it, the quality is not worth the time to fight the mall traffic.
Thank goodness for downtown Raleigh’s Sono, which has switched this year over to serving ramen daily instead of only on Sundays. Sono is hardly a dedicated ramen parlor (its primary focus is on sushi), but the ramen, both its tonkotsu and shoyu, is worth a shot.
The soy and dashi broth in its shoyu ramen is both rich in flavorful, yet restrained in saltiness. When you order, you’ll find that the ramen comes garnished with an amber, oozing soft-boiled egg, a smattering of bamboo shoots and slabs of charsiu pork are that generous in portion size. One major detraction —and it’s a critical one—is the noodles that are used in the ramen at Sono. The noodles did not exhibit the toothiness typical of top-grade ramen noodles. If you like a chewy, glutinous noodle in your ramen, you’ll be quite disappointed in what you find in the shoyu bowl. Where’s Sun Noodle when you need them?
The tonkotsu bowl at Sono is what you expect out of the unctuous pork variety of ramen—pork intensive and with a milky, creamy broth. Like the shoyu ramen, the tonkotsu bowl comes outfitted with bamboo shoots, a soft-boiled egg, and scallions. The flavor is further intensified with the addition of black garlic and chili oil. At $2 more than the shoyu bowl ($12), when it comes to choosing between the two varieties, for a ramen aficionado, the tonkotsu ramen ($14) is the way to go.
Raleigh and Durham are hardly flush with the ramen-yas found in bigger cities like Los Angeles or New York City, but Sono ramen can at least temper the noodle cravings.
SONO RALEIGH | 319 Fayetteville Street, Ste. 101 Raleigh NC 27601 | 919.521.5328