Looking at the posts from other Atlanta-area food bloggers, I can’t pretend to have found this one on my own however, earlier this week to Suwannee to experience the ramen at Umaido, as it was a rainy respite from the oncoming summer. Let me preface this with stating that I am a relative neophyte to ramen, my only other in experiences in metro Atlanta being with Yakitori Jinbei, and a small sampling of ramen during a sake tasting at Taka. All three have been unmistakably unique.
We arrived to the location which, not surprising for the restaurants I have been trying lately, is located in the same shopping center as a Super H Mart, a good omen if I have encountered one before. From the front and initially entering, Umaido appears empty, however as you are taken past the open kitchen the restaurant opens up into a few tables and one long communal bench in the middle of the room.
The waitstaff was wonderful and attentive, it must have been apparent that we were new to Umaido; our waitress did an excellent job however of going over the short menu and offering explanations when necessary. The menu is not that much to traverse; only offering a few variations on raman and a few a la carte options. In the two times I have visited I have gotten the spicy tonkatsu ramen both times, Alex has sampled both the seafood ramen and the miso-based broth. I am not a fan of the miso/shoyu ramen as much as the pork-based tonkatsu, however Umaido offers a ‘rich-broth’ option on all it’s items so you can achieve the richness of the normal tonkatsu with any of the selections.
The bowls when delivered are undeniably appealing. I was worried that using just my iPhone to get the photograph of the dish when it was brought to the table would not do justice to the myriad colors coming from the bowl. Looking at what is posted above. The slices of pork are extremely tender, I was unable to resist tasting one as soon as it landed on the table and it was extremely lean yet flavorful, the other two slices I promptly buried beneath the fresh noodles to absorb the flavor of the broth. The soup is garnished with seaweed, green and white onions, garlic, and a soft-boiled egg — which I have always had an affinity for since having them served for breakfast when I was in grade school. Despite ordering the broth spicier than I thought, it did not out-balance the other flavors in the bowl. The noodles made fresh in house were not all notted up, and retained their own flavors as well. Balance is extremely important to me in any dish, and Umaido definitely does not disappoint in being able to combine all these things together, and not compromising any of the individual aspects of the dish. I am pleasantly surprised; often times extremely wonderful food does not photograph well and loses all it’s appetizing appeal once captured on film, I am glad to say I feel the picture above does this one justice though.
My apologies to Yakitori Jinbei, which I still love tremendously for their wonderful in house grilled yakitori, however Umaido, at least for me, wins the Atlanta ramen contest hands down. I have been back once already since originally beginning to write this article and will definitely be making this a regular stop after work; unfortunately it’s just a bit too far to make it a reasonable lunch destination from work.