You rolled with us down the Donut Trail, elbowed your way through the Mac & Cheese Trail, and picked the bones clean on the Fried Chicken Trail. Now, 614NOW takes you on a new culinary excursion dedicated to the city’s best offerings of that trademark dish from the Land of the Rising Sun. Welcome to the 614NOW Ramen Trail!
With the leaves changing colors and a nip in the (still 80+ degree) air, the comforts of a hearty bowl of piping hot noodles never seemed so enticing. So long, Hot Girl Summer, hello Hot Bowl Autumn—which is my bizarre segue into the latest leg of the 614 Ramen trail: a bowl of spicy goodness from Meshikou.
Located on a poppin’ strip mall on Bethel Rd, Meshikou is a favorite with local ramen heads thanks to an upscale yet casual vibe and bountiful menu offerings. While Meshikou’s plethora of tantalizing appetizers are themselves worthy of a full writeup, the mission of the day during my recent visit was a heaping helping of scratch-made ramen.
Bellying up to the bar-style seating, I had a prime view of the action as cooks sautéed, boiled, and blowtorched their way through various preparations. Perusing the menu, which boasts 14 unique ramen dishes of both brothless and brothed varieties, I decided on a bowl of the Spicy Miso Paitan.
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A chicken broth infused with shio tare, this ramen broth is further augmented with a healthy splash of hot sauce. Noodles are of the wavy variety, as Meshikou rocks both wavy and straight, depending on the dish. For toppings, strips of kikurage mushroom, corn kernels, marinated softboiled egg, and finely-shredded scallions are joined by mouthwatering slices of buttery-soft porkbelly.
At first slurp, this ramen was everything you’d expect from an elevated approach to the classic dish. The broth was hearty and flavorful, the noodles tender and pleasing. The corn and mushrooms provided variety in both texture and flavor, but the shredded scallions were the unsuspecting star of the dish. Reacting with the spicy hot broth, each bite of scallion was like an explosion of flavor and spice.
For sheer variety and quality to match, Meshikou Ramen is near the top of the pack for Columbus ramen joints.