Before a certain ramen place opened up in Brickell, my experiences with ramen were limited to the cheap kind that comes in packets. You probably know the kind. That stuff has kept many college kids from starving to death. Hell, it even got me through a rough patch post-college. For a few months, my diet consisted almost entirely of ramen noodles and oranges (this is Florida and you can get a bulk bag of oranges for a decent price). My family lived about an hour away at the time, and they never had trouble convincing me to come to their house to help them with computer issues or my niece’s homework if there was the promise of a free meal and the chance to do my laundry for free. I remember being at my absolute thinnest back then. Poverty is truly the best weight loss plan, ha! I certainly don’t regret it. It gives me a very profound appreciation for everything that I get to eat as a mostly financially-stable adult. It also means that overpaying for mediocre food is a big no-no. When you’ve experienced a life where every penny counts, you just can’t justify throwing money away like that.
But, I digress. We were talking about ramen, and about how Brickell opened up my mind and my taste buds to the wonderful world of ACTUAL ramen. Rich, complex broth. Fresh noodles and vegetables. A comforting aroma that wafts into your nostrils and brings a smile to your face. Ah, real ramen is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, through the magic of inflation and supply and demand, the bowls that started at $18 are now $30. While they are still worth the price when I’m in the right mood and can afford the splurge, I was definitely keeping my eyes and palate open for alternatives. Plus, Brickell isn’t exactly around the corner, and I loathe driving. When I found out about Ichimi Ramen in Coral Gables (closer to where I live than Brickell), I thought my ramen prayers had been answered.
There aren’t really any signs on the street, so it’s hard to see if you are simply driving by. I happened to find it by accident while I was walking to the parking garage from an appointment.
The other plus side of visiting during the day was finding out that they have a lunch special. You get a bowl of ramen, 3 gyoza, a salad, and homemade Japanese pickles for $14. Not a bad deal at all, especially not for Coral Gables.
The gyoza looked delicious and had beautiful plating. Unfortunately, I found them to be a bit bland and unremarkable when compared to gyoza that you can get elsewhere. Still, they were not bad. I ate them all, although I didn’t touch the pickles, so I can’t say if those were any good.
The moment of truth came when it was time for me to try the actual ramen. I forgot to ask them to hold the egg (don’t like eggs), but it was easy for me to scoop it out and set it to one side. It’s still a shame, since I know that someone else would have greatly appreciated it. For the price, I would say that the ramen was good. However, the broth lacked the richness and depth of flavor that I have enjoyed from other ramens. For some reason, it felt a little too watery. The pork belly in the ramen was great, so no complaints there. I just wish the broth would have had that richness that feels like it’s enveloping your mouth. Then again, for half the price of the other ramen, there had to be a trade-off.
Ichimi Ramen is a nice little spot to have a good and filling lunch at a decent price. I would go back if I wanted to satisfy my ramen fix on a tight budget.