I know, I have been writing a lot about noodle based products, but I can’t help it. It’s the winter season and my favorite type of food against the bitter wind chill is usually “soupy” dishes.
Udon, it is not ramen or any other plain soup noodle dish. Udon is a special type of thick wheat-flour noodle that is a specialty in Japanese cuisine. It is usually served with hot noodle soup, which is mildly flavored with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. The soup varies a bit from region to region in Japan. The noodle is often topped with chopped green onions. Often the dish will come with tempura, vegetables, or meats.
Ann Arbor is not short of its fair share of Japanese restaurants. Just within the central campus vicinity, there are 5 Japanese restaurants: Totoro, Sushi.com, Ayaka, Sushiya, and Sadako. Each restaurant has its own signature dishes that I like to go for. Two places that I prefer to sample udon at were Totoro and Sadako.
I am going to try and let the pictures speak for themselves. You guys can formulate your own opinions about what you think of the atmosphere and where it fits you better.
Each place has the standard selection of udon dishes: regular, chicken, beef, seafood, and tempura udon. There is a few more selections offered at Totoro which includes: Nabeyaki (tempura udon with an egg and extra veggies added), Tofu and Sensai udon.
On a side note, not related to Udon, a friend of mine does prefer the overall dish selection at Sakado because of more options for vegetarians.
Here’s a few dishes that I got.
A break down of what I think of each place?
Pro: More traditional dish style, egg is well cooked with a runny yolk, noodles are cooked just right without losing the bite of the noodles.
Cons: Could use more vegetables, the soup is a bit too salty
Pro: Lots of vegetables, refreshing and light brooth, option of adding pepper flake seasoning, noodles cooked through and not soggy.
Cons: Some vegetables weren’t as cooked through and a bit tasteless
WHO REIGNS SUPREME?
I am still a fan of Totoro, it might even be one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in Ann Arbor; however when it comes to Udon, I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the dish offered at Sadako. The plentiful vegetables and the light and refreshing brooth puts this dish over the top. From this experience it has really taught me that to discover great food, you really have to just give everything a try. You might discover something surprising!