Before the cronuts craze started here in Manila, there was a rise in the popularity of ramen. It seemed like all of sudden, everyone wanted to eat ramen (and open their own restaurants specializing in ramen) when only a few seemed to care before. Unfortunately, not all of these places serve good food. I think it’s still better to go to Japanese restaurants which have been around for a long time and have been well-known for their food even before the craziness started.
One of the places which I’ve had nice ramen before was Shinjuku Ramen House along Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City. This branch underwent renovation and was closed for several months. They recently re-opened their doors to the public with newly painted interiors.
I was staying at my brother’s place in Makati for several days so my parents had to drop me off somewhere in the area. We decided to have dinner at Shinjuku before I was left with my brother and sister-in-law.
For appetizers, we had several servings of Shinjuku’s Gyoza (Php270.00). This was really delicious; probably one of the best gyozas we’ve eaten in a long time. It was generously filled and was nicely prepared. This was served with a dipping sauce on the side.
My brother ordered a serving of this Sashimi Mix (Php420.00). It consisted of several slices of salmon and tuna sashimi, kani (crab sticks), tamago (sweetened egg), shrimp and grilled eel. I only got to try the tuna and eel, and both were very good.
Of course, we couldn’t go into a Japanese restaurant and not order Mom’s favorite California Maki (Php205.00).
For her main dish, Mom had the Katsudon (Php410.00). She said it was very filling and she had trouble finishing the entire thing.
I specifically requested for the Sapporo Corn Ramen (Php305.00), which has been one of my favorites as of late. I liked how the butter and corn go so well with the rest of the ingredients.
My brother ordered the Karakuchi Negi Ramen (Php330.00). He said this one was a bit spicy, but he enjoyed it since it was something he was looking for that night.
My sister-in-law got the Beef Tsukemen (Php335.00) for herself. You take a bit of the noodles and dip it into the bowl of broth provided before eating. I think I remembered her saying that it was okay. The beef chunks were tender. We were already eating our own meals when we noticed that Dad’s ramen hasn’t arrived yet. We were wondering what happened to Dad’s food and asked one of the wait staff about it. Apparently, the one who took our orders was unable to forward the particular entry into their kitchen. :-/
My Dad had a bowl of the Sutamina Ramen (Php290.00), which, according to my brother, was traditionally eaten by the working people in Japan. When this was placed on the table, I could immediately smell the garlic! It smelled really nice. Dad said the soup was really garlicky and a little spicy. What he didn’t like was that there was too much vegetables in his soup. He said he preferred my Sapporo Corn Ramen over the Sutamina Ramen.
I wasn’t really planning on having dessert, but since my brother and sister-in-law were having some, I decided to join in. My brother ordered a serving of Coffee Jelly (Php100.00) for himself. It looked a little weird with all the colorful sprinkles on top, but my brother liked it.
My sister-in-law and I ordered a serving of Kohri Uji Kintoki each, but what arrived was the plain Kohri Azuki (Php140.00). When asked why this was the case, we were informed that they didn’t have green tea available at that time that’s why we were served the plain ones instead. This really pissed my Dad off. He told the servers that we should have been informed of the situation beforehand and not just be served something else because our original orders were unavailable. I don’t recall any of the servers apologizing for the mistake; if they did apologize, I honestly didn’t hear it.
This, coupled with the cause for delay of Dad’s food, had a big impact on our opinion of Shinjuku’s service levels. They used to be pretty okay, but it seems that this might no longer be the case. Maybe they have an entirely new team who are still learning the ropes? Regardless, I sincerely hope their service team would learn to be more careful and be more courteous. If they don’t, I’m afraid Shinjuku Ramen House might start to slide down my list of recommended ramen places to visit.
**This branch is located at 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati.