What: The tonkotsu black garlic ramen
Where: Torakichi Ramen, 5001 E. Ramon Road, No. 2-A, Palm Springs; also at 79775 Highway 111, La Quinta
How much: $13.99
Contact: 760-699-8607; www.pstorakichiramen.com
Why: The surprising nuances.
The recent opening of Torakichi Ramen, in a space at Gene Autry Way and Ramon Road that previously housed a WaBa Grill, may represent a bit of Palm Springs culinary history: It is, to my knowledge, the first ramen-focused restaurant to call Palm Springs home.
Given that the restaurant was doing a surprisingly brisk business during our recent visit, at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday, it’s clear there’s a pent-up demand for good ramen on the Coachella Valley’s west side. This is the second Torakichi Ramen—the first opened in La Quinta last summer—and after tasting the tonkotsu black garlic ramen, I understand why the business is quickly expanding.
The ramen was, in a word, delicious … but not in the way I normally prefer my ramen. To my palate, the stronger, richer and more savory the broth is, the better—and while Torakichi’s tonkotsu broth was adequately strong, rich and savory, it didn’t knock my figurative socks off. Instead, this ramen delighted my taste buds with nuance.
The roasted black garlic oil added just the right amount of flavor; it didn’t overwhelm. The fact that the broth and garlic oil didn’t dominate allowed the pork chashu to shine. (On my next visit, I’ll gladly pay the extra $3.50 to get two extra pieces.) The soft-boiled egg, the nori and the veggies all subtly but noticeably played their parts.
Even though I didn’t get the flavor-bomb-in-a-bowl type of ramen that I normally prefer, I found myself wanting more after I was finished, and then craving more later—true signs of an endorsement-worthy dish.
Not only did I leave Torakichi Ramen delighted that Palm Springs finally has a worthy ramen-focused restaurant; I learned a thing or two about the joys of ramen nuance. Who knew?