Best of the Best: Betsutenjin
The most traditional Japanese of the bounty of ramen restaurants that have opened here in the past couple of years, this L-shaped shop keeps a serious and sustained focus on the soup. Decor is minimal, most of the seats are at a low chef’s counter, and the line, which snakes out the door many evenings, adds pressure on diners to eat as one would in a Tokyo ramen-ya: Slurp up and say “Sayonara.”
But that’s all the time you need, since there’s not much to pick from on the menu, which holds little more than the basic Hakata-style ramen ($11.75) of “super pork bone” broth, loaded with noodles, sliced pork, green onions and seaweed. That broth, however, is so smooth and silken, so rich and savory, that despite signs around the room reiterating that no milk product (or MSG) goes into it, it seems impossible to believe something so creamy lacks dairy.
Capitol Hill, 954 E Union St., No. 102; Facebook, “Betsutenjin Ramen USA”
Capitol Hill, 1222-A E Pine St.; 206.566.5479; ramendanbo.com
Capitol Hill, 1416 Harvard Ave.; 206.568.7669; ooinkwa.com
South Lake Union, 1256 Republican St.; 206.420.4500; teinei-seattle.com
TIP: Looking for something lighter? Teinei, whose chef previously served as the resident chef at the Japanese consulate in Seattle, makes its ramen using chicken broth for a subtler soup.