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Raku

Raku

Raku
the Chinese symbol for Happy

So you all know by now how addicted I am to ramen, right? I ate 58 bowls last year and I’m up to 15 bowls this year (with my sister) so far. It’s only February, by the way, so I’m sure I’ll break my record last year. (Well, I’m not the Ramen Girl for nothing :D. ) I think I’m gonna have to share the title with my sister who is equally obsessed with it these days.

Raku

Raku

I’ve been literally waiting for this Korean (Japanese) ramen joint to open. Every week since early January, I’d peek at how much progress they’ve had in building the place once occupied by Shabu King in the Super H plaza in Duluth (outside on the left of the plaza, not inside the grocery). Brought to us by the same folks who own Honey Pig, they opened to the public yesterday with a very limited menu (thanks to the intel from my friend G4). I was their very first paying customer. (It’s ramen, hello?) And I also came back today.

Raku

Raku

Raku

Raku

First, I have to admit, the place is beautiful. Japanese contemporary zen is how I describe it. There’s this long communal bar in the middle with a crevice filled with unlit chunks of charcoal. The bar stools are cemented to the concrete floor so if you’re short like me, it’s not gonna be comfy as you’ll be too far from the table. I really like the enclosures for the hanging pendant lights which are lined with colorful Chinese fabrics. Everything just looks so cool.

Raku

Limited menu. They were offering only four items for now. Tonkotsu ramen, tonkatsu plate, kabob tonkatsu plate, and gyoza. I was never a fan of Korean-owned Umaido because the broth is so bland and tasted exactly like the ones in the packets you buy for 25 cents. I also don’t like their wheat flat noodles, albeit housemade. So I came here with no expectations whatsoever thinking it’s going to be just another Korean-owned ramen place. Surprisingly, the broth is very good. Really good. Not Jinbei or Haru good but very good. It is very flavorful and has a good consistency. Bold and creamy. The roast pork they use is tender and delicious. Oh and the noodles? They use egg ramen noodles like the Japanese version!!!

Raku

Raku

Raku

The Tonkatsu plate is good as well. You get a huge serving of pork fillet lightly coated in panko batter then fried to a beautiful golden brown. The pork is juicy, tender, and tasty. A side of cabbage salad, a bowl of steaming rice, and a cup of miso soup complete the meal. But wait, you also get a bowl of black and white sesame seeds. You crush them with the wooden pestle and then they come and top it with tonkatsu sauce. Sweetish-savory, nutty. Add a dollop of the Japanese mustard and you’ve got one great dipping sauce.

Raku

The Kabob Tonkatsu is almost identical except they put pieces of pork meat into skewers and separate them with pieces of sweet onions in between. Fun!

Raku

The gyoza are also very good. The wrapper is thin and chewy and the meat filling is perfectly balanced (in taste and quantity) with the herbs. It doesn’t reek with chives and scallions which I like. A great appetizer, don’t miss it.

So far so good. Can’t wait until they expand their menu to include other ramen flavors (shoyu and miso), okonomiyaki, izakaya items and sake. Was told it gets more moody at night when they turn down the lights. Do it!

More pictures (click on the mosaic to go to my Flickr page):

Raku

Raku Donkatsu + Ramen
2550 Pleasant Hill Rd.
Suite 112
Duluth, GA 30096
770-476-1212

Raku Tonkatsu + Ramen on Urbanspoon

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 In the news: Eugene, Quinones rank as top 101 restaurants in America. Raku ramen opens. | Food and More with John Kessler // Feb 23, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    [...] Morris of ChowDownAtlanta has reported that Raku, a Korean-operated ramen restaurant, has opened in the space that was formerly Shabu King.  The restaurant has been opened by the [...]

  • 2 Julia // Feb 24, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Just got back from dinner there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed as you were but to each its own, right? Plus management was very poor; they billed us regular menu prices, which were not listed, and not the “soft opening” prices as listed on their menu. Despite pointing out the problem to the waitress, the issue wasn’t properly resolved. Typically I’m unphased by bad service but this rubbed me the wrong way. Oh well, I’ll just stick to Haru.

  • 3 Anon Anon // Feb 24, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Tonkatsu is usually pork, not chicken.

  • 4 Chloe // Feb 25, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Julia: you must have been served by the young girl named Udin. It was her 2nd day on the job and her 2nd day ever being a server.

    As I’ve said again and again, Haru and YJ are still undisputed kings.

  • 5 Andrew S // Feb 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Went last night and the food was great and service was excellent considering they’re not even really open yet. They even tried to apologize for slow service and knock some off the check (even though we didn’t wait that long at all). The menu was a little larger as well.

    While I disagree with Chloe about Umaido, because I could take a bath in their rich broth (especially the spicy version), I will be coming back here because it’s a hell of a lot closer to me.

  • 6 Chloe // Feb 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Andrew: went to Umaido when it opened. Been there 13 times. Don’t like it 13 times. Went two weeks ago. Still don’t like it. But that’s just me. I prefer Japanese ramen better — curly egg noodles, real ramen broth. Raku makes as close a version to the Japanese kind.

    We should do both Haru and then Raku next time :)

  • 7 Andrew S // Feb 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I do prefer the noodles better, there’s just something about the broth at Umaido that hits me the right way. I may potentially have defective taste buds. :)

    I have to confess; I have never had the ramen at Haru. I keep telling myself that I need to, but I just always seem to be in the mood for something else when I’m there. Next time I’m there it’s ramen or bust!

  • 8 tony // Mar 1, 2011 at 12:04 am

    well, i just found your site through the scout mob link. can i just say that i love this site? your blog has reviews for types of food that ive been looking for but atlanta yelp has been so unhelpful. thank you for this site. i will be checking this place out and that awesome jjajangmyun place you recommended. thanks for giving me more reasons to spend money!!!

  • 9 Andrew S // Mar 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    So I /did/ finally have the ramen at Haku. I thought it was waaaaaaaay too salty, honestly. My roommate who spent years living in Japan agreed. MY FAITH IN YOU IS SHAKEN, CHLOE. (Notwithstanding that you’ve never steered me wrong before haha ;P)

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