Roche Bros. in Linden Square has just opened up an in-store Ramen Noodle bar over in the prepared foods area, where the pizza display case was. Dine in at the 6-stool eat-in area or take your ramen bowl to go. I knew I had to give it a try when Wellesley resident and foodie Carol Almeda Morrow posted on social media, “”My daughter, son, and I just tried out the new Ramen Bar…Let’s just say that it received a three thumbs up from this crew of frequent fliers to Allston’s Korean-town.”
My dining companion and I had a seat at the bar and placed our orders. The chef then made our meal as we chatted up a storm and glanced over every now and then to see how things were going. The bowls were placed in front of us piping hot on a tray to catch the inevitable broth spillage, and soup spoons and chopsticks were placed to the side.
I tried out the original Tonkotsu, made with pork broth, thin noodles, chasu pork, bean sprouts, scallions, black mushrooms, marinated boiled egg, mayu, red ginger, seaweed, and sesame seeds. The marinated egg had a nice briny taste of soy sauce. The generously sized pork slices were tender and flavorful from the broth and the red ginger, which infused the soup.
My companion was less satisfied with the veggie bowl, finding it bland and vowing to go for the spicy veggie next time.
Here’s a noodle bar hack/heads up: Ironically, you can’t order a drink at the bar. Before you sit down, get your drink from one of the coolers in the front of the store. You can then bring it back and purchase it on your noodle bar tab, BUT don’t do that. Buying it there triggers the 5% Massachusetts meal tax on the drink and who wants that?
To avoid the meal tax, take the extra step of buying the drink at the front express register. Just hang onto your receipt so you can show the noodle bar folks that you’ve already paid up for the drink. Hey, I just paid my Wellesley property taxes last week — I’ll do anything to save a little money in this town.
I tried to leave a tip, but was gently refused. After years of seeing the “No tipping, it is our pleasure to serve you ” sign on my way out of the store, I should have known that this would extend to noodle bar servers as well. Dine in or take out from the noodle bar, 10:30am – 7pm.
In addition to the noodle bar, there’s a poke bar I haven’t tried out yet. Adjacent to the noodles, it’s the salad bar concept, Hawaiian style, with Yuzu Salmon, Spicy Ahi Tuna, Tofu, Crab Stick and toppings such as seaweed salad, edamame salad, soy ginger beets, and pea shoots. $13.99/lb.