Shoki Ramen House is another restaurant that I might never have tried if I weren't writing this blog. My only previous experience with ramen was those little packages of dried noodles with seasoning packets that you can get at the grocery store for about 25 cents. Since I never liked that type of ramen, I couldn't imagine why I'd want to go to a restaurant where ramen was the only thing on the menu.
Besides, the Shoki Ramen House on 24th Street in the Curtis Park neighborhood always has a line of people outside waiting to get in, which looks very intimidating. I had no idea how long I'd have to wait, or what to expect if I ever did get inside. But I kept hearing that there was a vegan broth option, so I finally decided to check it out so I could write a blog article about it.
Imagine my excitement when I drove past the 24th Street location at lunchtime yesterday and there was no line outside! I must have timed this just right, I thought smugly to myself. And then I noticed the big red "CLOSED" sign in the window. Oh. Undaunted, I drove to the new Shoki Ramen House location at 12th and R, and pulled into the last open space in the parking lot.
The place was packed, but people seemed to move in and out fairly quickly, so I only had to wait a couple of minutes for a table. I quickly located the vegan options on the second page of the menu: vegan ramen or spicy vegan ramen. I ordered the vegan ramen at the medium hot spice level. The broth is served over regular or whole wheat noodles (I ordered the regular, but I'm looking forward to trying the whole wheat noodles on my next visit), and topped with spinach, bamboo shoots, green onions, and a piece of seaweed. Other items can be added at an extra cost, so I added tofu and corn. I would have added shiitake mushrooms, but because of the way they're prepared, they are not vegan. Most of the ramen comes in small, medium, or large sizes, but the vegan ramen is available only in the regular size, which turned out to be considerably more than I could eat in one sitting.
The broth was hearty and subtly flavored, and the chewy noodles were plentiful. I had expected the broth to be very salty, but it wasn't. And I really liked the texture and taste of the added corn. A sign on the wall of the restaurant explains that each type of broth takes between 6 and 8 hours to make, so it's clear that ramen is a labor of love for the chef. I'm sorry I took so long to give Shoki Ramen House a try!
Shoki Ramen House has two locations. The downtown location is at 1201 R Street, and the phone number is 916-441-0011. This location is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. It's open for lunch on Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m., and for dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. On Sunday, the restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Curtis Park location is at 2675 24th Street, and the phone number is 916-454-2411. It's open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and for dinner Monday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It's open for lunch Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m. and for dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It is closed on Sunday and at lunchtime on Monday.
The website address for Shoki Ramen House is http://www.shokiramenhouse.com/, but it only lists their hours of operation. It does not include an online menu.