Brownifer Bites: Simply Ramen - Albany, OR (Review)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Simply Ramen - Albany, OR (Review)

Never heard of this restaurant?  We hadn't either! Simply Ramen seems to have opened their doors quietly and sneaked onto the restaurant scene in our town!

Of course the minute we heard about it, we had to try it!

Just South of the Queen & Geary intersection at 1800 Geary Street SE, there it is!  It's quaint and unassuming, but don't let its size fool you:  this little noodle restaurant packs a punch!

They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 to 3:00 for lunch, then again from 4:30 to 8:30 for dinner.

We arrived during the dinner rush and were surprised that it was so busy.  It's been open less than a month and we had only just heard of it.  We couldn't find a website or a Facebook page, just a few Yelp! reviews.

We were seated promptly, brought our menus and drinks.  While the menu is a single laminated card, the plethora of choices you'll find there will amaze you.  Don't assume you'll be making a decision about what to order quickly.  Yes, Ramen seems to be their specialty, but other Asian favorites are available as well.  Things you probably consider to be favorites, such as Chow Mein, Potstickers, Pad Thai, Fried Rice, Chicken Teriyaki.  But mix in some things Albanyites don't see in our town often, like Seaweed Salad, Korean Short Ribs, KimChi Fried Rice, Singaporean Noodles....Miso Soup!  There hasn't been a decent Miso Soup in Albany for .... has there ever?

Miso Soup
Which brings me to the food we ordered.  Yes, we started with Miso Soup!  Miso Soup is something I've always loved and outside of Portland and Eugene....I haven't experienced a great one.  Until now. Ladies and Gentleman!  Albany has finally brought us Miso Soup! Luscious seaweed pieces, abundant tofu, savory broth....Alright, I'll shut up about it but if I can go on and on about my appetizer choice ... imagine the Entrees....

Brownie ordered the House Signature Pad Thai with chicken.  The color was beautiful and for the rest of the meal I wished I could enjoy peanuts with pasta.  The noodles were light and silky and the peanuts were crushed, which gives this dish a nice
Pad Thai w/Chicken
balance in texture.

I chose to try the Singaporean Noodles with beef.  These are stir-fried, curry-flavored rice noodles with just enough heat to tickle your senses. They did get a bit sticky as they sat and cooled, but I hardly cared as flavor is always my priority and that was on point.

Singaporean Noodles w/Beef
We had to try the Ramen as well since the restaurant's name suggests this is their specialty.  And that assumption would be correct!  I tried the Signature Ramen with Chashu Pork (as in:  Pork Belly.  as in:  BACON!)  The noodles were perfect ramen, the pork was flavorful, my egg was
delicious and the broth....oh dear sweet baby whoever-your-chosen-savior-is!  There could not have been more umami flooding my mouth; rich, succulent, buttery... my taste buds were dancing like fools.  If you can't decide on what to order, this would be my suggestion.
Signature Ramen w/Chashu Pork

Brownie's ramen choice was the Blend Chili Spicy Ramen with Chashu Pork and Shrimp Tempura.  Do I have to choose which one I liked better? Because in a spicy mood, this is utter perfection.  Not spicy enough to burn your mouth or make you sweat, but the perfect amount to keep you excited while the underlying richness of the broth soothes your palate.  I would have left the pork out and just got the shrimp with this, it was a perfect pairing.  But ... choose your proteins as you wish!
Blend Chili Spicy Ramen w/Shrimp
Tempura & Chashu Pork

The service in the restaurant is efficient, the staff is very friendly and helpful with the menu, clearing your we watched other patrons leave, the staff was right behind them, cleaning the tables and ready to seat the next customer.

The portions here are large, so be ready to take home leftovers!  But in our opinion, there is no such portion as 'too much.'  Come hungry!  They boxed up our leftover food for us and even let us take home our extra broth and soup; we were thankful, because that stuff is liquid gold!

The space has obviously been remodeled and is clean and fresh, including the bathrooms.  What!?  We have to check those for you too!  The kitchen is open, so you can see them cooking the food and there is nothing to hide. The atmosphere is that of a bustling noodle joint designed to efficiently serve delectable food to as many people in a day as possible.  I appreciate the focus on the food and the casual atmosphere.  I leaned over to my neighbor's tables more than once to ogle their food and ask what it was they were trying.

Overall, we think this restaurant is a breath of fresh air for Albany!  It's been so long since we got any new flavor in this town and we're so happy it's authentic and good quality Asian-inspired!  We need to branch out and bring more food culture!  We love the path this is leading us down, bring us more!

Okay, now the rating.  The part we dislike the most.  We think this restaurant is exactly what it's trying to be and nothing more or less.  Clean, efficient, customer-oriented, excellent food, terrible has everything a good restaurant should have!  We give Simply Ramen 5 stars on the Brownifer Scale.  You saw that right.  Five.  Nothing wins us over like umami.

If you haven't tried our new favorite Albany dinner stop, then you will soon because everyone will be raving about this little place in no time.  Go enjoy some noodles done right and be sure to tell us how much you loved it.  Because you will!

Welcome to Albany, Simply Ramen!

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