Weeks from now, when snow falls to the earth and graces the valley with a frigid blanket of delight, I will make my way to Hiro Ramen to warm both my body and soul.
With a quick jaunt downtown, I once again open the door to the cozy restaurant with its assortment of potted plants and Japanese Ukiyo-e paintings printed on sheets of canvas, taking a seat to peruse the varied and polished menu choices.
No meal offered in the valley has quite grabbed my attention like Hiro’s bowls of ramen. As college students, the appeal of a quick meal is omnipresent as homework assignments, midterms, social events, and sleep constantly vie for our time. To escape from the consistent grind, try some of these amazing meals with shockingly low prices for serving sizes that seem to be inspired by old-school Italian fare.
Instead of waiting for the star to shine, let’s dive chopsticks first into why Hiro is so special. Having worked in five different restaurants in as many years, I am always amazed by a meal that flashes to the forefront of my mind a week after eating it. The Tonkotsu Ramen (pictured above) is a delectable bowl of ramen noodles, bean sprouts, broccoli, Chashu pork, marinated eggs, corn, narutomaki, black garlic oil, sesame seeds, scallion, ginger, and of course, the creamy broth that is rich with a salty flavor reminiscent of a thick slab of bacon. A truly great starting point for anyone new to authentic ramen, and don’t fret, the restaurant has just as delightful rice noodles for diners wary of gluten as well as other ramen that can meet the needs of vegetarian diners.
If the call of ramen is not alluring enough, Hiro offers other choices such as their teriyaki bowl, curry, or Korean Bibimbap, a Korean style bowl akin to the more common teriyaki bowl.
Personally, I found the teriyaki bowl surprisingly unique. The teriyaki sauce used has a much more citrus flavor to it which helped keep the accompanying broccoli tasty. While the tender beef will leave most diners satisfied, there are other proteins offered, even tofu for the meat averse.
While the serving sizes are truly stuffing, there are quite a few side dishes and desserts to add even more delight to your meal. The standouts for each being the takoyaki and mochi ice cream. The takoyaki is like a savory donut hole with tender octopus inside, the outside has a duo of sauces drizzled on top to keep this appetizer just as memorable as the main course. Last, the mochi comes in a variety of flavors, I only had the good fortune to try two, those being the red bean and black sesame ice cream flavors. These are unique tastes you won’t find in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s so I implore any diner to get outside their comfort zone and try something they won’t get anywhere else.
In conclusion, there’s no better place in the valley, let alone Ashland, for a cheap meal that still leaves you full of such truly delicious food being served by staff that greets everyone with excitement, because it would be nearly impossible to be sad and serve a meal this great.