By Tommy Tobin
Ramen noodles sometimes get a bad reputation to America’s student population. The word “ramen” conjures up images of foam cups, hot water, and packets of salt-laden seasoning. Yet, ramen noodles can be a flavorful way to get grub around the Cambridge area.
The ramen noodle shops near Porter Square are stuff of local legend. In a 2013 article, Boston Magazine wrote about Yume Wo Katare’s Jiro ramen, with its “huge bowl” and savory pork broth. Sapporo Ramen was also highlighted for its Spicy Miso ramen, “a great starting point for those trying real ramen for the first time.” While the ramen in Porter is known to be good, there are consistent complaints that many of the locations do not accept credit cards and there are long waits for the cramped tables. That’s left several students pining for a ramen place that’s relatively close to campus and accepts a card-based lifestyle.
Davis Square’s Snappy Ramen fits the bill. The noodles are tender, mushrooms burst with flavour, and toppings are plentiful. The menu offers a variety of ramen options, ranging from the basic Assari ramen to the gravy-like Kotteri noodles. The Dashi Assari is a solid start to one’s ramen repertoire, as it is not too salty, has a mild flavor, and is a good foundation on which to add further toppings. For more flavor, try the Spicy Miso Ramen, presented with pork and a bit of heat. The true standout of the dining experience was the pork bun. The bun comes out almost like a taco, with a soft bun and tender port wrapped up and served for about $4 a pop. The bun was tasty, but small and overpriced for the quantity.
The décor of the place is hit and miss. The space itself is deceptively small, with just a few spots at the noodle bar and a communal table. The wall-art is hip and fresh, but the window was full of steam. This steamy window was not terribly attractive, nor was the “No Sushi” sign on the door. Snappy Ramen used to be Snappy Sushi, and the sign suggests that at least a few people are still confused about the switch.
Overall, Snappy Ramen is a good place if you’re craving ramen in Davis Square. If you can make it, have cash, and have time to wait for a table, try the ramen places in Porter Square, particularly Yume Wo Katare.
420 Highland Ave, Somerville
Lunch: Friday-Sunday starting at 11:30am; Dinner Wednesday-Monday 5-10pm