Raving for ramen

New restaurant offers the midwest a taste of Japanese cuisine


photo by Quinn Burton

Walnut Shrimp delivers excellent presentation, yet falls short in the flavor department.

Quinn Burton, Editor-in-Chief

Embracing Japanese culture, while providing innovative ramen and pan-Asian cuisine is Village Pointe’s newly adapted restaurant, Ika San Ramen, offering the midwest a hip and alternate twist to traditional Japanese meals.

Ika San Ramen took over the residence of a previous Fuzzy’s Taco, which sadly closed due to a surge of job shortages. And after being a fan of Fuzzy’s, myself, my standards were set high for what’s to come. 

Upon entering it was impossible to miss the blasting music on the sound system and graffiti-style murals splayed all over the walls. The restaurant exceeded my exceptions with its interior design skills and connection to Japanese culture. Between the hanging cherry blossom lights, traditional cutlery, and even a tv playing anime I felt immersed in the rich culture and tradition. The restaurant event showcased several Darumas (traditional Japanese dolls)  around the space symbolizing good luck and fortune, which added a delightful touch to the overall ambiance of the restaurant. 

However with great atmosphere and quality, the food is bound to be pricey, and this restaurant certainly followed the stereotype. After carefully scanning throughout the thoughtfully articulated menu I found that the average price for an entree was $17 and the appetizers were set just under that at $10. Though the appetizers seemed tempting I found they were far too overpriced for me to buy into. And in the end, I’m glad I chose to opt-out of the appetizers as the two entrees alone came out to a whopping $45, with the walnut shrimp being $16 and the beef ramen set at a whopping $20. Knowing the prices my standards were set high for the two meals.

I first tried the beef ramen which delivered a powerful punch to the mouth with its savored spices and impactful seasonings mixed together to create an excellent broth. The dish featured many garnishes including spring lettuce, avocados, and even a hard-boiled egg which surprised me, as they greatly complimented each other, creating a wonderfully tasteful experience for my taste buds. Not only that, but the silky smooth noodles added a nice contrast to the coarse texture of the beef and the rigidness of the lettuce. Though the price was set high for this dish, I would say that it was certainly worth it and would for sure order it again

The beef ramen dish tastes even better than it looks, as its innovative ingredients bring the dish to perfection. (photo by Quinn Burton)

However despite the greatness that came along with the beef ramen, little could help the boring and utterly bland Walnut Shrimp. Though this dish came thoughtfully garnished with crispy rice noodles and perfectly roasted whole walnuts, it lacked flavor. I was pleased as biting into the pieces of shrimp was filled with dense and rich flavors, however, the batter had more of a pancake-like taste diminishing the wonderful flavor the shrimp had already provided. And sadly, the crispy rice noodles had no effect on the overall meal as they provided no flavor.  

Despite the cons that came along with the walnut shrimp, I’d have to say I would try this restaurant again because of the success that came with the beef ramen. Though the food may have been disappointing and ultimately gets defeated by its predecessor Fuzzy’s Taco, the atmosphere is what sets it above the bar. Their attention to detail in relation to interior design and cultural appreciation is truly what made Ika San ramen a memorable experience.