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Umami Ramen

187 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 160, Folsom, 916-358-9897, @umamiramenfolsom

Sometimes all you want is a tasty meal without washing dishes, dressing up, making reservations, or tapping into decision fatigue while perusing a seemingly endless menu. Sometimes you just want simple done right.

Spicy Tonkotsu: Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Enter Umami Ramen. Merging two quintessential Japanese staples—technology and simplicity—Umami blends modern dining and traditional Japanese flavors in a refreshingly casual setting.
The menu is delectably small with a few choices to satisfy all spectrums of diners. Just walk up to the touch screen menu (yes, self-serve style, though a hard copy is also available), grab a number, pick a beverage (including beer and sake), an appetizer, choice of ramen or rice-based entrée, and a single dessert. Insert your card and voila! Within minutes, your freshly made food will be delivered, piping hot. If only they had one of those noodle-serving vending machines…

My partner and I started with hot green tea and the takoyaki appetizer: a deep-fried, ball-shaped Japanese snack made with flour-based batter and filled with octopus. The sweet and savory flavors were delicious, though we felt the takoyaki themselves could have been a touch hotter.  All in all, this Japanese street food classic, though not a personal favorite, is so unique I consider it a must-try.

Takoyaki: Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


For those new to the ramen scene, it’s the king of Japanese soups. There are restaurants in Japan that focus solely on single styles of ramen, and the masters spend years (if not a lifetime) perfecting its art; there was even a documentary made about it (Ramen Heads).

My favorite is typically tonkotsu, which features pork bone broth. On this visit, we tried two versions of it: spicy tonkotsu and black garlic tonkotsu. Often taking hours to make, the broth at Umami was magical: steaming and fragrant with a rich texture. Take that amazingness and add thin noodles topped with roasted pork chashu (a slow-braised and meltingly tender pork belly), black mushrooms, seasoned egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and green onions.

Black Garlic Tonkotsu: Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Allow me to elaborate. The egg was amazing, and I rarely marvel at eggs. Medium-boiled, the whites were fully cooked but the yolk just barely set. It was then seasoned, making it flavorful, creamy, and delicate. The pork belly was fall-apart tender and had the perfect touch of sweetness. The spicy broth was just that, so be forewarned; the black garlic broth was velvety with subtle notes coming through from the black garlic oil that made me come back for more—and more—and will probably be my new go-to here.

Finally, they offer a single scoop of green tea ice cream for dessert, which we decided to pack up and enjoy curled up fireside at home—the perfect ending to a simple, comfort-food filled night.

Green Tea: Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Saturday-Sunday); 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 4:30-8 p.m. (Monday-Friday)
TRY THIS: Takoyaki, Black Garlic Tonkotsu, Veggie Ramen, Chashu Don, Katsu Curry Rice, Chicken Karaage, Green Tea Ice Cream
DRINKS: Beer & sake
TAB: $$
HEADS-UP: Kid-friendly; self-service kiosk; online ordering and delivery available; additional ramen toppings can be added; choose from thick or thin noodles; draft beer  

by Ryan Martinez  |  photos by TAYLOR GILLESPIE

Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group—please don’t steal our copyrighted photos. For more information about our editorial photos, please click here to contact us