Sapporo Noodle Bar cooks up a mean bowl of ramen

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Some of my fondest childhood memories include three iconic images: experimentation, Grandma’s house, and ramen noodles.

My family takes ramen very seriously; it was always a race to see who could whip up the best recipe.

My grandma and I would dress up the plain, packaged ramen with everything from poached eggs to last night’s leftovers in hopes of creating something beautiful out of something so simple.

Ever since those summers of being in a kitchen-turned-laboratory, I’ve been searching for a bowl of ramen even half as exquisite as Grandma’s masterpiece.

Through the grapevine, I heard about Sapporo: a recently-opened noodle bar on the corner of 28th and Kraft.

I knew I had to go.

The aroma of Asian cuisine hit me as soon as I stepped into the building. I looked around: all of the furniture was wooden and smooth, and the place had a modernized feel to it. Some hipster version of elevator music played in the background as I went to place my order at the counter.

I was instantly greeted with a smile and a menu. Skimming it from top to bottom, my eyes instantly landed on the Fried Gyoza: pork dumplings with ponzu sauce.

I perused the list of ramen dishes and found more variety than I could have ever imagined.

Finally, I decided on the Hakata Modern Ramen Bowl, despite its descriptions, which featured many Japanese food terms I didn’t understand. The element of surprise in this ramen was just as promising to me as the unpredictability of Grandma’s concoctions.

After I placed my order, I searched for a seat. A cozy nook caught my eye: a wooden booth nestled in the corner of the restaurant. As I set my food down on the table, a feeling of serenity washed over me.

I was ready to try the ramen.

As I wiped stray broth off of my cheeks, I sighed contently and knew I could safely say this much: Grandma would be proud.”

The bowl was filled to the brim with both broth and potential. The Japanese terms I didn’t know turned out to be pork slices, soft-boiled eggs, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, nori, and scallions; they were arranged atop the noodles like a magical sculpture garden. I loved each of these foods separately, and I knew I would enjoy them even more together.

My hypothesis was correct.

A combination of flavors flooded my taste buds; every ingredient worked hand-in-hand with each other to form one wall of savoriness. Each noodle had just the right amount of softness, which complemented the tender pork slices splendidly.

Every bite I took brought me closer to my childhood memories.

I could see Grandma cracking an egg into the pot of ramen. I could smell the scrumptious scallion as it sizzled against the oil in the pan. I could even almost hear the exchange of laughter, giggles erupting faster than the bubbles of the broth as it boiled.

Another bite brought me back to reality and the feast in front of me.

Next to the bowl of ramen was the gyoza. Each dumpling was fried to a crispy perfection on one side and tender on the other; the duality of texture created fireworks in my mouth with each bite. On each dip into ponzu sauce, the pork filling would act like a sponge, soaking up juiciness and culture.

The portion sizes were very, very generous. Even so, I couldn’t help but chow down quickly; the meal was simply delicious. Sapporo had put together many decadent ingredients and turned a menagerie into a masterpiece.

As I wiped stray broth off of my cheeks, I sighed contently and knew I could safely say this much: Grandma would be proud.