The Grand Opening
The Maru Ramen Bar has raised the bar for ramen soup and ramen lovers all over Elk Grove. The Grand Opening took place this weekend of September 4 and it was a busy day for the owner, who also owns the Moo Moo Cafe next door. Customers kept pouring in all day long and the bar was packed with serious ramen soup lovers.
Upon entering, I had a feeling that the guests attending this grand opening meant serious ramen business, as I watched them them quietly devour bowls of incredible ramen soups. Eating quietly without speaking is a strong indication to me of an inner satisfaction of a great meal. I strolled around asking guests what they recommended, as they described their favorite soups at this bar. The Maru Ramen Soup seemed to be a hot item at the grand opening.
Folks came to socialize over sake and soup, while others came to have a ramen meal with their families. The guests who I interviewed were all more than happy with the variety of ramen and other dishes offered, but my own expectations were exceeded by the dishes I was about to experience for myself.
Let’s Talk Ramen
Ramen is a quick-cooking, spaghetti-like, wheat noodle served in a broth. It originated in China, and gradually became a staple food in Japan in 1859, where fresh pasta was added to soups made with vegetables, fish or meat. The art of eating ramen is more of a private, inner communion between the ramen eater and the ramen itself, rather than an outward, social experience. Ramen soup should be eaten rather quickly and within 10 minutes so that the noodles don’t overcook and become too soft in the bowl.
Ramen etiquette requires the use of chopsticks which ought to be set down by the bowl or across the rim. Chopsticks must never be stuck standing straight up into the noodles, as this is is a symbol of death in Japanese culture, as food offerings are left in this respectful manner on graves. Slurping of the noodles is encouraged as this technique cools down the broth. Proper positioning of ramen eating also requires one to stay close in angle and proximity to the bowl, close enough for the transfer of noodles to the mouth, and for the aromatic steam to tantalize the olfactory senses.
The Food at Maru Ramen Bar
With climate change, global warming and health concerns pertaining to raising and consuming meat, our society is learning to transition to veganism by eating more plant-based foods. I ordered the Vegan Ramen Soup which was equally as delicious, if not more gratifying as any other ramen soup I have had in the past. This is a healthy, hearty soup filled with ramen noodles, spinach, eggplant, bamboo, corn, onions in an aromatic soup base. The eggplant was absolutely delicious and savory, the spinach filled with flavor, the broth was soothing to my soul and the noodles delightfully delicious.
The Shrimp Tempura with Dipping Sauce was sinfully delightful as well. It was moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside and the large, succulent shrimp were cooked to perfection. This can be served as an appetizer for 2 or 3 people as it is very filling. However, we had to order a second serving as this shrimp tempura tended to be addicting to our taste buds.
The Shrimp Garlic Noodle dish was one of the best I have ever had. This is a generous portion of food on a very large plate that can be split for 2. However, at only $11 per plate, one can enjoy as much shrimp and ramen noodle plates as one chooses to. The garlic noodles were insanely delicious, garlicky, savory, flavorsome, soft yet sticky, and cooked to a precision of perfection. Six succulent, juicy, lightly seasoned shrimp are accompanied ever so wickedly, demanding eye-opening attention for shrimp lovers at first sight. Lastly, a perfectly fried egg sits enticingly on top of the noodles, seasoned with ground pepper and fresh green onions. The fried egg was cooked ever so cleverly that the base was brown and crunchy, the white was moist and fluffy, with the yoke deliciously wet. I cannot recommend the Shrimp Garlic Noodle enough, as it was a brilliant combination of so many enticing flavors and textures of my favorite foods. Furthermore, I observed many other guests salivating over my dish, ordering it for themselves, and devouring quietly without skipping a beat.
From the outside looking in, after dark, a soft, warm golden glow radiates from the Maru Ramen Bar giving off a feeling of warmth and comfort. And comfort it is, inside this neatly clean, and impressively upscale seeming bar. A tree inspired art form surrounded by a large square bar grandly welcomes guests upon entering. Family tables sit on the sides lines, along with tables for two to six. A second bar sits in one corner facing the bartenders, a center bar sits in the middle aisle of the restaurant and a doorway connects to the Moo Moo Cafe for guests who want an after-dinner tea.
The ambiance at the Maru Ramen is quiet, respectful, cozy yet spacious and speaks volumes of perfect feng shui in art and design. The servers are enthusiastic, friendly and attentive. The customers seem relaxed, comfortable and content. This is a perfect place to eat by yourself or with a date, to socialize with other guests or have a terrific meal with family and friends.
The Maru Ramen Bar is a must-try for the serious ramen and the new ramen eaters. I highly recommend this place as I was more than satisfied with the food, the ambiance, and the service. The prices are extremely reasonable and the experience is completely worth the while. I have posted a portion of the menu above to give you an example of how decent the prices are. I will for certain return as a regular customer since there are so many other great dishes to yet try.
Upon ordering, we were sadly disappointed to learn that the bar ran out of chicken wings. We had initially ordered the salt & pepper wings and the sweet chili wings, which were $7 per order with 6 big wing pieces in each. We were happy to know that the guests loved the wings so much that Maru Ramen ran out of them and we look forward to a return trip in the near future.
The Maru Ramen Bar is located in Old Town Elk Grove, it has a great vibe of health, happiness, and prosperity as it caters to all people, noodle lovers, meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. Enjoy!
Maru Ramen Bar
8698 Elk Grove Blvd., #2C
Elk Grove, CA 95624
Monday – Friday
11:00am – 3:00pm
5:00pm – 9:00pm
(Please note that Maru Ramen is closed every day from 3:00pm – 5:00pm)