By Victoria Petersen
Sitting all alone on the corner of Fireweed Lane and C St. is Ramen House by Saijo. A fairly inconspicuous building, one wouldn’t normally notice it if it weren’t for the packed parking lot during the lunch rush. The stand-alone building has been many things in the last few years. Most recently a Mexican restaurant and prior to that a pho restaurant.
Any Anchorage ramen experience I’ve had has been ruined by a 2014 trip to Japan where I sampled ramen dishes from multiple places across the country. It’s not that Anchorage ramen is bad, it’s just that Japanese ramen is so good. However, Ramen House by Saijo came pretty close to the Japanese ramen of my memory.
When we walked in we noticed the dining room was much more spacious than we had anticipated. When we sat down my dining partner ordered the shio ramen ($13) and I ordered miso ramen ($14). My dining partner, Jon, had never had ramen this way before-only the packaged kind. He had a true ramen awakening. He finished every last drop of broth in his bowl and talked about what he was going to get next time he came. The miso ramen was full of flavor, vegetables and lots of noodles- just how I like it. In comparison, the miso ramen had more vegetables and more variety of vegetables than the shio or shoyu ramen.
The next time I visited I ordered teriyaki chicken ($16), chicken karrage ($8) and pork curry katsu ($15.50). The terriyaki chicken comes out on a sizzling fajita-like cast iron platter. The dish is served with a small cup of white rice. Overall the dish was very flavorful, saucy and filling. The chicken karrage came out extremely hot, so by the time we could eat it our main dishes were already being served. Once they were cooled enough to eat, the bite sized fried garlic chicken bits were perfect before and in-between our meal. Note that the garlic flavor is very strong.
A coworker of mine and I went on one occasion. I ordered the miso ramen and she, being adventurous, ordered the cheese ramen ($13). Made with mozzarella, the cheese combines well with the noodles and kind of becomes a part of the dish rather than just a garnish. She said she liked it and the flavors worked well together. If you are fan of cheese and ramen, I’d recommend giving it a try.
The menu is limited to a few Japanese style appetizers, ramen, teriyaki and katsu. But what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality.
Contact: (907) 272-2016
Location: 149 E. Fireweed Lane, Anchorage, AK
Hours: Noon-3 p.m., 5-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday