Photo of Boxer Ramen courtesy Avila/EPDX
The Oregonian's Michael Russell has been to Japan, so comparison are rife in his review of Micah Camden's Boxer Ramen, which earns a "B" grade for providing a "small step forward" for Portland's ramen scene. Russell breezes through the short, four-item ramen menu: The tonkotsu-style broth, a close approximation of that at Japan's Ippudo, is deemed the best in Portland, with noodles and pork combining to create "a salty Japanese carbonara." A spicy miso bowl tastes mostly like Sriracha (though Russell notes "that's not a bad thing"); in both cases, the Sun Noodles "had trouble holding up" to the assertive broths. Okonomiyaki tater tots are deemed a "cross-cultural stroke of genius."
Not everything works. A "meek shoyu" broth is called out as such, and Russell writes her prefers his "noodles with a bit more bounce." Ultimately: "While it's a stretch to call the arrival of Boxer Ramen and its true tonkotsu the dawn of Portland's Ramen 2.0 era, it does feel like a small step forward." [OregonLive]
Bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to restaurant menus. WWeek's Martin Cizmar visits SE Foster's Nayar Taqueria to find a menu overrun with extraneous dishes: "I'm concerned they have too much on their plate — the menu has expanded, leaving the good stuff harder to find and the staff stretched thin." Among the successes are chile verde and chorizo tacos (the latter a "simple and satisfying preparation"), a "massive" Cubana torta, good-and-cheap drinks, and "excellent" chips and guacamole.
But the waterlogged menu (which offers 16 different taco fillings, five tortas, and a laundry list of assorted items) shows several weak spots, like a "slightly rubbery" poblano pepper and a "disorganized" California-style burrito. The argument: a pared-down menu would allow Nayar's strong suits to shine.
· All Previous Weeks in Review [Eater PDX]