Say Amen to Ramen: Japanese restaurant wows with flavor

Alvarado Ramen, the newest addition to downtown Monterey, combines a laid-back atmosphere, authentic Japanese cooking and fast service to create what is quickly becoming one of the more popular dining spots on Alvarado Street.

For readers who are unaware, this style ramen is dramatically different from the type that college students use to stay alive in between beverages; it is a flavorful Japanese dish which is created in various unique styles depending on the technique used.

Alvarado Ramen’s menu begins with its signature bowls, but includes the option of customers selecting their own ingredients for a more personal approach. Diners can select from a variety of broths, noodles and toppings to form their own ramen bowl.

The restaurant also offers an assortment of appetizers, salads and sides such as edamame, traditional rice and their house salad. Additionally, the spot serves Maven’s macaron ice cream in various flavors.

Customers begin their experience at Alvarado Ramen by ordering their meal and receiving a number in order for their server to find them. Within minutes, the food is served, which is undeniably a remarkable feat for such a new, popular restaurant.

ramen-the-meal-i-enjoyed-consisting-of-a-typical-ramen-bowl-and-white-rice

Individual meals are typically around $10, and likely more including the popular sides. However, the food compensates for its cost in both size and quality.

Creating my own ramen bowl, I started with a tonkotsu broth and added in traditional ramen noodles with chicken, green onions, seaweed and a hard-boiled egg as toppings. I very much enjoyed my meal and found the combination of fresh ingredients to be not only authentic, but appetizing. Although the entire culinary experience was delightful, I found the highlight of my meal was undoubtedly the strawberry-Nutella macaron I enjoyed.

The flavorful uniqueness of the ramen does not come easily; the broth is stewed for eleven hours prior to being served, and the local ingredients are prepared diligently by the hard-working cooks.

My dad ordered the chicken curry, which I willingly sampled. It was a piquant combination of white rice, chicken breast and vegetables all covered in curry sauce, which we found to be delightful and flavorful.

The atmosphere of the restaurant dramatically enhanced the meal, with popular rock songs playing in the background, and the restaurant having modern, wood-paneled decor. Overall, it had a relaxed vibe and attractive aroma that deemed the restaurant an interesting spot to passersby.

-Annalise Krueger