Pikaichi (Ramen)

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I just may have discovered a new favorite Japanese noodle shop.

It’s a tiny little gem of a place in Allston (a neighborhood in Boston) that’s tucked right next to Hong Kong Market (formerly Super 88). Pikaichi has been in that space for quite some time now, taking over the beloved old favorite Ken’s Ramen Shop. I stopped going out in that direction a few years back because I stopped shopping at the supermarket when it started to struggle. After the market changed hands and improved, I sort of got used to not going out there.

Until I discovered their noodles.
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Pikaichi’s fresh ramen noodles are wonderfully chewy (“QQ”) and among the best I’ve had in Boston. The restaurant sources its noodles from Sun Noodle Company, the same company that makes noodles for some of New York’s finest ramen shops, like Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ivan Ramen, and many others.

In fact, a little known fact is that most ramen restaurants in New York source their fresh handmade ramen noodles from just three companies. With the exception of a few places (like Ippudo, for example, who make their own), most ramen shops don’t have the capacity to make their own fresh noodles.

Of course, noodles alone does not a ramen restaurant make. However, I think Pikaichi has a nice combination of everything that makes it a casual place that I enjoy visiting over and over.
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The ambiance inside feels decidedly Japanese. I can almost imagine that I am in Tokyo, stopping by a casual neighborhood ramen shop. I am pretty certain the workers are Japanese and speak Japanese to each other. It’s a tiny shop with only a handful of seats so you may have to wait during busy seasons. However, each time we’ve gone, the staff have been extremely friendly in trying their best to get us seated as soon as possible.
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The first time we went during the summer, they had this special yuzu cold ramen dish that I loved.
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Cold noodles were tossed together with fresh leafy greens, corn, and I *think* tuna (or is it pork?) in a spicy, yuzu kosho sauce. The noodles were especially toothsome since they were cold. I took half of it home as leftovers and enjoyed them immensely the next day.
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The menu includes your basic ramen types, such as a shoyu (soy) based broth, a miso based broth, and a spicy broth. During the winter they also have a yuzu shoyu based broth, which is my favorite.

Pikaichi claims they give a larger portion of noodles (6 ounces) unlike standard ramen places that only give 5 ounces. I personally think their portion size is pretty large, although Bryan finds it doesn’t quite fill him up, maybe due to the fact that there’s not a huge amount of meat.

You can always order small supplementary rice dishes for about $2, such as chashu over rice (chashudon) or curry over rice (curry-don), if you are hungry.
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The restaurant also serves other simple fare, such as curry katsu (my sister’s favorite) . . .
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 . . . and tonkatsu (my mom’s favorite).
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I like how their sign encourages diners to start eating the noodles right away, since they care about the texture of the noodle and understand that the longer it sits, the less perfect the noodles become.

All in all, I just really like this place. I have to confess that I haven’t tried the whole menu. In fact, we’ve only tried the noodles, but we like them a lot. I do think it’s one of my favorite simple Japanese noodle places. Sure, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for other handmade noodle shops, such as Yume Wo Katare and Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe. However, I see those places more as “once in awhile” type places, due to their enormous portions or high caloric dishes.

Pikaichi feels cozy, serves excellent noodles, and overall is pretty healthy. It’s the perfect type of place at which to become a regular.

Pikaichi
1 Brighton Avenue
Allston, MA 02134
Pikaichi on Urbanspoon

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Comments

  1. joyosity says

    I still miss Ken’s, but this place isn’t bad. Where do you go if you don’t go to Super 88/Hong Kong anymore? H-Mart?

  2. Christina says

    i agree, that yuzu ramen in the summer was delicious! was so sad when i went back in the fall and they didn’t have it. :(

  3. BeckyHorn says

    I would love to have innovative appliances that are more suitable for people like me who have trouble standing for long periods of time.

  4. Tara says

    I would love to put in appliances that I could control from my phone so I could pre-heat the oven on my way home, for example. :)

  5. FrancineAn says

    it would be great to have a itemize fridge to put in dates of items and see what is past their date of expiration.

  6. Debra Hall says

    i would love to have a modern updated kitchen with great appliances ,mine is from 1970..my future home would have a self cleaning microwave

  7. virgil poore says

    the future of my home is prolly falling to the ground.it is rotten in the floors and the ceiling leaking.i would like to build a home but cant afford to right now.but i hope to seal the roof and paint and fix the floor.i am greatful we have a warm place to lay our head and call home.

  8. Keiko K. says

    I’m a huge Pikaichi fan. :) It’s my regular ramen/curry spot even though it’s across town. I love Yume Wo Katare, but like you, I can only handle it once in a while. :)

    I’ve never seen any fish on the menu at Pikaichi so I’m pretty sure it was pork in your Yuzu cold noodles. They do also offer a hot Yuzu Shio which I have sometimes as an alternative to my usual Tokyo Shoyu. It’s very light.

    They definitely serve more noodles than Sapporo (which must be using the industry standard of 5 oz.). I used to go to Sapporo before I discovered Pikaichi but I left hungry, even with extra noodles.

    Their curry is my favorite. Such great umami. I love being able to get a side of curry rice with a bowl of ramen because sometimes it’s hard to choose. The regular has good flavor (your only choice for a side) but if I’m ordering just curry I’ll get it medium hot. It has a nice burn but isn’t too spicy.

    The owners are Japanese and a good number of their staff are Japanese (or studying Japanese), but they also employ other Asians and a few Caucasians. They require all of their staff to learn how to say “irrashaimase” (welcome) and “arigato gozaimasu” (thank you) and to say both enthusiastically anytime a customer enters or leaves. There was even a sign on the wall about it (not sure if it’s still there). I’m sure that helps with the feeling that you’ve been to Tokyo. I started going there after a friend told me that she felt like she’d taken a trip home after her first time there. :)

  9. says

    The curry is my sister’s favorite and she always gets it. I just loved those summer yuzu noodles and can’t wait for it get back on the menu! I’ll have to try the curry sometime!

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