J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rumplings Ramen Restaurant - Shut Up and Slurp

Last weekend at Rumplings Slur Shop is a confirmation that Louisville is long overdue for a ramen restaurant.  Eager food enthusiasts lined all the way out the door despite the cold weather for a chance at the 20 or so coveted seats in the tiny restaurant.  Expect to do the same the next few weekends.
View from outside
Open kitchen
Large crowds on opening weekend
The current menu offers 8 ramen dishes, 4 types of dumplings (steamed or fried) and beverages.  We ordered the Kentucky ($14), Banh Mi (~$10), Chicken Fourplay ($12), and the Piggy ($11).  None of us had Ramen before so had no preconceived expectations, we only came with empty stomachs and open minds.

Ramen Menu. Source: Rumplings Facebook

Full Menu. Source: Rumplings Facebook
Our food came out in a pretty tall deep bowl, small at the bottom and wide at the top, making it deceptive large but you don't really get too much.  The broth for my Chicken Fourplay was fatty, slightly sweet, and lukewarm.  The noodles was nice and soft, made fresh in house.  My two chicken legs took in the flavor of the broth and were soggy.  After the few bites, I labored through, eager to be done.

Banh Mi Ramen
Chicken Fourplay
We all tried each other's broth and found that they all tasted similar except for the toppings.  Only one out of my 5 dinner mates truly enjoyed his bowl (Piggy Ramen).  My husband, American born and raised with very easy to please taste buds, said that his Banh Mi Ramen lacked flavors and preferred the packaged Ramen from the grocery store. We came home slightly hungry and dissatisfied.

The positives? The people are nice,  it opens until 5 a.m., and it's in a great location. To be fair, we didn't try everything on the menu, so those other items might be better.  I heard the Miso Honey was decent.

The final verdict?  At the moment, it's a little bit hard for me to "shut up and slurp", as their motto suggests.  I didn't like the food not because I had high expectations of what the Ramen should taste like.  The combination of the noodles, broth and toppings just didn't taste good to me.  Of the 6 Asians (myself included),  only 1 of us liked the food.  The initial online reviews from Americans have been overwhelming positive, except for Eli Keel's review from Insider Louisville, he's right on the money.  It was pricey for what you get as well.  It would not recommend this restaurant now, it might improve later and I'm open to coming back.

Come give it a try if you're curious.  If you do come, keep it mind that it's not great for large groups or little kids. All the seats are on tall barstools, squished close together.   More than likely, you'll be separated from your party if you want a seat.

The experience had me researching into other Ramen places around town.  A half Japanese friend (a foodie and former food writer for Louisville.com) recommended the tonkotsu ramen from Hiko-a-mon.  You should read her article to understand more about Ramen in general.  I'm eager to try this place as I was eager to try Rumplings last week.

Rumplings Slurp Shop
2009 Highland Ave (on the side of Wick’s Pizza building, towards the back)
I recommend parking on Cherokee Ave and walk up Highland Ave
Wednesday – Saturday, 5 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Bowls are between $5.50 and $17

updated 2/7/2016