As a frequent patron of Perkins Rowe, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the opening of JINYA Ramen Bar since the initial announcement in the fall of last year. Every time I’d pass by the restaurant construction, I’d try to peek my head in to catch a glimpse of what was coming. I knew that my first meal – with my hopes high – would be a boom or bust.
The restaurant was as packed as expected, and although it was dimly lit, the natural light shined through the front windows, keeping it well-balanced and perfect for lunch. We began by ordering cocktails – to aid in our high hopes of a great meal – and we couldn’t help but notice the bar: seemingly separate from the dining area, the soft lighting and intricate gold accents would make a great spot for after-work drinks.
There are four specialty cocktails on the drink menu, ranging from $10-12. Because the two of us don’t drink a lot of whiskey and wanted something sweeter, we settled on the Blackberry Mule and Lycheetini. I highly recommend both of these drinks: the blackberry mule is a great option for those who, like myself, love a good sweet and fruity cocktail. The lycheetini is the perfect option for someone who wants a sweet drink, but doesn’t want something too sugary or overpowering. Both are refreshing, and I would definitely order these again (and again).
For our appetizer, or small plate as JINYA calls it, we ordered the pork gyoza (pork potstickers), which came with six pieces perfect for sharing. Though the gyoza was fine on its own, the gyoza sauce added just the right amount of tang.
Although JINYA offers other options for your entrée, we knew exactly what needed to be our first order – ramen. Because it was our first meal, we wanted to order what we considered a basic-staple ramen, so we ordered the JINYA Chicken Ramen and the Wonton Chicken Ramen. This was the moment I had been waiting for. Our waitress told us to scoop the broth from the bottom (to get the right amount of consistent warmth), and we dug in. Let me tell you, I can’t wait to go back.
The bowl arrives appearing piping hot, but don’t let the steam fool you – you can easily dive right in. Both bowls were salted well, and we both added a seasoned egg, which I highly recommend because the seasoning pairs well with the broth. I enjoyed the wonton chicken ramen because not only were the wontons packed with flavor, but I also felt like I got to combine two of my favorite dishes for the price of one. The portion sizes are pretty big, so we both walked away with leftovers.
After being delighted by the other parts of our meal, we knew we had to try dessert to see if the standard remained high. We shared the Panna Cotta, big enough for two or just enough for someone with a big sweet tooth. The panna cotta is topped with caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and graham cracker. The combination is honestly spectacular, and we both can’t wait to return again.
JINYA Ramen Bar is everything I hoped it would be. Even though I knew it was a chain restaurant, it didn’t feel that way. Thankfully it missed the cheap materials and harsh fluorescent lighting, and instead made us feel like we were in a larger city, even though we were tucked away in our Perkins Rowe community. After everything we ate, we left feeling full – yet surprisingly light – and eager to come back for more.
Small Plate – Pork Gyoza:handmade pork potstickers
Drinks – Blackberry Mule and Lycheetini
Wonton Chicken Ramen:chicken broth: wonton, spinach and green onion served with thin noodles
JINYA Chicken Ramen:chicken broth: chicken cashu, spinach, green onion, fried onion and served with thin noodles
Dessert – Panna Cotta:homemade panna cotta with caramel cream sauce, graham cracker and vanilla icream