The stubborn iron ramen of Boston
Ganko Ittetsu roughly translates to “stubbornness” and “iron” in Japanese. Perhaps this is a reference to the head chef that has painstakingly created a menu of delectable ramen that is reminiscent of the Hokkaido region in Japan. This was most likely chosen since the restaurant is located near Boston, MA which has a very similar climate as Hokkaido.
The first thing that should be noted upon visiting is the special care and attention the restaurant has taken to be as authentic as possible. Ganko Ittetsu is located inside of a shopping center but is set up to mimic how one might see a ramen restaurant in the streets of Japan. It’s small and quaint and we chose to sit outside.
What is additionally kind of cool is the appreciation of ramen culture in the Boston community. Posted on their window is a “ramen crawl” for enthusiasts that want to try all the different and unique tastes in the Boston area. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to try some of these other ones this time around.
Back to the ramen itself. We went as a group so we got a chance to see a bunch of the different ramen and other food that’s available. I recommend checking out our instagram @goldyboyramen to view the photos. We tried their signature dish, the Gankara Miso.
The Gankara Miso had a wonderful aesthetic which is part of the reason it ranked highest in this category. All of the ingredients within the signature miso dish were purposefully placed within the bowl. The ramen egg was almost perfectly cooked in appearance and spicy sauce mixed well to highlight the fat content of the broth. The dishes all had a similar presentation and highlighted the overall authenticity of the restaurant itself.
The broth was a surprise to the taste buds. As a miso broth, one would almost expect a rich in fat and salty taste to be most prominent. It was surprising to find that the broth was actually much lighter and less salty than expected for a miso broth. However, although it lacked richness, it exceeded expectations in its spice profile. True to its description, it utilizes 7 different spices that creates a complexity of spices that does not overwhelm.
The noodles were immediately noticeable as made in-house at Ganko Ittetsu. There was a certain freshness and chewiness that clearly showcased the pride in their noodles. Researching the noodles a bit, we discovered they were from Nishiyama Noodles in Japan and made with high quality wheat and water. This further reinforces the quality of the noodles.
If there is one thing I wish that was done better, it was the chashu that was served with the ramen. For our dish, the chashu was served cold for some reason. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose with the idea that it would be submerged in the hot broth or it was just a mistake, but it definitely missed the mark. The chashu itself wasn’t particularly flavorful. but did have a certain tenderness to it. I have to believe that it must have been a mistake in execution rather than being served cold on purpose.
Overall the execution of the ramen was good. Some of the best parts of Ganko Ittetsu are the ambience and feel of the ramen. It really creates the feeling that you are in Japan which adds to the flavor subconsciously. The ingredients and quality of the dish overall are high ranking but there are certain misses like the chashu or the lacking of richness in the broth which stops this from being a truly excellent ramen. It’s also noteworthy if you check out out instagram that the accompaniments of dumplings and karaage are excellent in their own right. If you’re looking for a great bowl of ramen that makes you feel like you’re in Hokkaido, then Ganko Ittetsu is worth a trip.