Mystery, Cold Chicken, and Great Noodles at Hiro Ramen
I didn’t really get Hiro Ramen, the less than a year old ramen spot on 11th and Chestnut. It almost seems like they are still in soft opening, though the actual soft opening was back in October. The website is virtually blank and there is no updated menu online. But I knew what I needed to know, they serve ramen. And since my goal is to try all of the ramen in Philly (Ramen Bar may be the only spot I haven’t tried yet), I went to check Hiro off my list.
There are very few appetizers to choose from. Called, tako wasabi ($3.70), a cold plate of octopus nubs was brought out immediately. It wasn’t bad but it was not great. Mostly, seeing the waitress bring the pre-prepared plate out of the fridge (located within the dining room, right next to my table) straight to my plate turned me off.
Similarly, the shisen chicken ($5.50) came out of the fridge and on to my table. I was not expecting cold chicken, let alone fridge chicken, but that’s what we got. This dish, however, I was in to. The chili oil, chili paste sauce and garlic and scallion mixture surrounding the chicken was really good. This would make a great noodle sauce too.
Staying true to the quick plating theme, the ramen was brought out in record time. The men in the open kitchen ladled out the product and it was ready for us. I ordered the tonkotsu ramen ($8.50) with a soft boiled egg for an extra dollar since it didn’t come with it (the egg is worth it, it is perfectly soft boiled and I heard the waitress saying beef stock is involved in making it). The ramen came with pieces of pork, bamboo, and scallions. The pieces of pork are a bit bland. The broth has the makings of a good ramen broth, it had the milky fatty backbone that many ramens in the city lack. However, there was not enough flavor, it needed spice, salt, and some pizzazz. I remedied that myself by adding the shisen chicken sauce to it. The noodles, however, were really impressive. I think they are the best I have had in the city.
I would say the verdict is that Hiro is quirky and not perfect, but the noodles are worth stopping by for a (super) quick bowl.
Here is a peak at the current menu to let you know what you can expect, and yes it is only one page!
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Excellent ramen noodles
- Food comes right away
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Very limited menu
- Ramen broth needs more flavor
Hiro Ramen, 1102 Chestnut, 215 939 5558