|Tomato tonkatsu ramen|
Ramen -- like barbecue -- can lead to food blog warfare among experts about styles and execution. So I'll leave that to other people and report just my observations.
First, the soup tastes delicious. Lil' Chow and I lunched twice in four days. We split three varieties because my toddler spilled much of a miso ramen until he realized that the stylish bowl tipped more-easily than the plastic ones at home. Each variety was delicious. All different. My opening favorite is tonkatsu -- a pork broth served with the ramen, bok choy, slices of pork, and a just-boiled egg.
|Uma Uma's pork bun|
Uma Uma just soft opened on December 23. They're getting organized, and they're starting at a run because the tables are already packed at the busy hours. Yelp folks are already uncharitable about wait times and hiccups. Don't be that way. Go check out Uma Uma for something new and delicious that you can reach in 15 minutes.
For the uninitiated, ramen is noodle soup. Again, the experts will crucify me for simplification. Ramen lives in many, many forms. Folks suggest ramen as a way to explore Tokyo. They write about the best in the world. But go check that last link. The "best in the world" meant Japan, California and Manhattan. On our local menus, ramen appears at places like Matcha Time and White Oak Tavern. This is the first specialty shop, trying to make a go with ramen, grilled chicken, buns and a few other dishes.
Give Uma Uma a while to come into its own. They've been open a week. Chefs will adjust their recipes. Waiters will pick up the ordering system and the kitchen flow. I respect the comments on my White Oak Tavern post that suggest that the ramen there can differ day-to-day. So go slurp up Uma Uma's good start and see how it goes from here.
Now, Uma Uma has some nice desserts. The owner charmed Lil Chow with a green-tea mochi filled with ice cream. But know that you can walk around the corner of Uma Uma's parking lot to a terrific bakery and coffee shop -- Tous Le Jours, a French bakery by way of Seoul with pastries, cakes, macarons, coffee and more. It's a great place to hang out after dinner. Please ignore the toddler who turns to a table of talkative young adults and shouts "Quiet! Be quiet!" I have idea who that kid could be.
Use winter to explore an entire season of noodles and soups. Like ramen, you can get them together in the hand-cut noodle soups at Hang Ari in Catonsville. Or go noodles and fried chicken at Tian Chinese Cuisine in Ellicott City or Da Rae Won in Beltsville. Or go exotic noodles with the fish noodle entree at Grace Garden in Odenton. My one bummer is a vegetarian friend with Japanese wife. There are no vegetarian ramen at Uma Uma. What do people recommend as the best vegetarian soup around here?
9380 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
NEAR: Uma Uma is on the north side of Rte 40 to the west of Rte 29. It's between Boston Chicken and Lighthouse Tofu -- another great option for warm soup if you want soondooboo tofu stew. There are a few parking spaces in front of Uma Uma, but your better bet is the lot along the side of the shopping center. You turn off Rte 40 just before Boston Chicken, then park in the spaces in front of you or to your right. It's good -- you're midway between dinner at Lighthouse or Uma Uma and dessert at Tous Le Jours.