There’s a lot of talk about the new Ramen bar in Maumelle, so I had to give it a try. Let’s break it down!
Goku Ramen is located in the small space that used to be home to Pizza House, and before then was Pasta House for years in the shopping center at 1900 Club Manor Dr.
The interior looks much different than it did, with a fun, modern feel and tv’s playing shows about ramen. How great is that?!
Since the space is small, and there are many tables and bars for seating, it can feel a little cramped if it is a busy night.
When you arrive, you find a seat, look through the menu for what you want, then go up to the ordering bar to order and pay for your food. It is brought to you when it’s ready, but you have to get your own drinks and refills. *They do charge a 3% fee for using a card, so bring cash if that isn’t something you want to pay for.*
The only complaint I have about the environment is what is on each table. While you have salt, pepper, and chili powder, there’s no soy or sriracha. If you ask, you can get soy sauce, but they do not have sriracha. Next time, I may bring my own. Finally, the napkins are problematic. Each table has a large roll of paper towels, but the kind that are impossible to tear off and disintegrate after your first wipe. Please trade these for some with “tear-a-square”. We were knocking things over trying to tear these paper towels. At least it was entertaining!
You can find their full menu on their website. While it is small, with mostly different ramen and rice bowls, there are so many fun appetizers that are unique and priced fairly.
Description: Fried octopus pastries with Japanese mayo, takoyaki sauce, green onion, and fish flakes
My friend and I shared a couple of appetizers and this takoyaki was new to me. Honestly, octopus is not my favorite, but Cristianna said it’s one of her favorite dishes. When I tried it, I loved it! There’s only a tiny piece of octopus in the middle of these pastries. the rest of the pastry is a wonderful and unique texture, like a savory mochi. The sauces and fish flakes bring so much flavor! Though, a little heat from sriracha would have perfected these. This was the best thing I had the whole meal.
VEGETABLE CROQUETTE, $5.11
Description: Deep fried mashed potatoes and vegetables with sauce and yummy mayo.
I chose this appetizer because it sounds amazing. However, it was a little lack-luster. There weren’t many vegetables at all in the croquettes, so it was similar to a really tasty hash brown, but with smooth mashed potatoes instead. With not much sauce, I had to add soy sauce to mine for a little more flavor.
TONKOTSU RAMEN WITH BRAISED PORK
Description: Pork soup base with green onion, soft boiled egg, napa cabbage, corn, and protein of your choice (shrimp, braised pork, chicken breast, fried chicken karaage, or vegetables and tofu)
This is a pretty decent ramen! I love tonkotsu ramen because it has the most flavor than the other options, in my opinion. This broth was good! The braised pork was tender and delicious! The noodles were the perfect texture, and there were SO many noodles. After picking through and eating all the bites I wanted with the pork, egg, and veggies, I had over an entire to-go cup full of leftover noodles. These were great the next day heated up with some other pork I had on hand.
FRIED CHICKAN KARAAGE, $2.51
Cristianna is a menu wiz and figured out it would only cost $2.50 to get a side of fried chicken since they only charge you this much for two proteins. This is a great deal! Do it!
The chicken was flavorful and crunchy and really good dipped in the ramen broth.
Overall, I think this is a wonderful addition to Maumelle- a place you can get ramen for comfort food or try something new with their appetizers. Go give Goku Ramen a try, if you haven’t already!