Oni Ramen House (Long branch, New Jersey)

I think this place just opened up. I don’t see much online.

@joonjoon any intel on this spot?

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I was excited until I saw that it’s gonna be at pier village…not gonna get my hopes up. :smiley: I haven’t heard anything about it though, nice find!

Yeah, groaned at that too.

While completely understandable, I wouldn’t judge too soon because of the location. The chef, Frank Caponi, seems like the real deal. He used to work at Eno Terra and has been doing ramen pop ups. If his tonkatsu ramen is half as good as it looks on his Instagram feed, then I will happily go.

THIS IS IMPORTANT INTEL!! Thanks, @bgut1!

Eno Terra, thoroughly disappointing experience. How or why do you feature a picture of a beautiful porterhouse steak (for two) in the rotation of pics for your web site, yet not actually have a steak on your menu?
(this was about 2 years ago, now I see they at least have a sirloin but still no t-bone / porterhouse)

Are you serious? What a mess. I would be kind of pissed if that happened to me.

Hopefully this place is half decent. Obviously there will be the beach tax but I can overlook that if there is some decent chow.

Does anyone know what hours, if any, you don’t have to pay the parking meters?

Opening Thursday at 4pm, and based on their Instagram posts, this has serious potential!

@CurlzNJ does this place have a bar and/or liqour license? I’m not into social media and a quick search on my phone didn’t yield much. I can get there soon as I work nearby :slight_smile:

This is when I do appreciate social media… I just asked and they responded. They’re BYO.

Gracias! I hope to get there next week. I will let them iron some things out before I head over.

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Since May 1 metered parking within Pier Village is enforced until midnight. The outskirts (West End, 7 Presidents) have meters active til 5PM. Hourly rates vary from location.

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They have RAMEN Tots. Read that again.

@joonjoon we may need to schedule a weekday run and take one for the team!!

I’m game! Out of town but will let you know when I’m back!

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I took one for the team and tried Oni Ramen House this past weekend. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Decor - A little on the small side though it was clean and nicely decorated. My little nitpick is that the wall adjacent to our booth appeared a bit marked up and was unexpected for a restaurant open for less than a week.
  2. Service - Although it can be expected, the person who helped us didn’t have a good understanding of the menu when I questioned about a few of the items. This should hopefully improve over time.
  3. Food - The food was generally good. We started with a few appetizers; the ramen tater tots and the pork buns. As you can see from the photos, the tots consisted of fried ramen cubes covered with a miso aioli and bonito flakes. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, the tots were very tasty though I question having them if you are already ordering the ramen soup. As for the pork buns, they consisted of sliced chashu with cabbage, garlic aioli all sandwiched between a very nice steamed bun. The pork was a highlight of the entire meal (both the buns and the ramen soup). It was both succulent and perfectly cooked with a very nice sear. My one constructive criticism, is that the dish could of used a little acid (a pickle of some kind) to counter the fattiness of the pork and the aioli. Reviewing the picture, the cabbage may have been pickled though the pickling/acid didn’t seem to come through. Last but not least was the ramen. Being a fan of tonkatsu, we all ordered it. The tonkatsu ramen was advertised as consisting of a niman ranch pork broth, soy sauce, chashu, a six minute egg with nori, scallions and sesame seeds. Pickled ginger (?) and mushrooms were a surprise and interesting addition. Focusing on the good things about the dish, the pork was again excellent as was the perfectly cooked egg with a silky yolk (see the picture below), while the noodles had just the right firmness. Two things however detracted from the dish. First and most importantly, the broth wasn’t to my liking. While it had a nice viscosity and fatty mouthfeel, the flavor wasn’t there and needed some salt. There was no shouyu on the table and I felt uneasy in asking for some for concern of insulting the kitchen. I also want to recognize that I am far from an authority in eating ramen and I have only enjoyed it on occasion. As such, the flavor may be to your liking as opposed to mine. Second, with the cost of the ramen ($15), I was a little turned off having to pay for chili oil ($1), as in all other times I have visited ramen restaurants, chili oil was gratis. All in all, I still feel the restaurant is a fine addition in a somewhat barren quality restaurant location. I intend to go back and try the other ramens to see if they are more to my liking. Good luck.
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Uploading… Uploading… Was here this evening, 6:30 sitting. No wait on a dreary evening at the shore.Waitress was very attentive and energetic. Appetizers were ramen tots, an interesting novelty dish more of a texture thing otherwise no memorable flavor . Vegetarian bun which my vegetarian daughter enjoyed. Chicken fingers (ok … I don’t remember what the menu name was) felt oil was probably not hot enough, crust lacked crispness.
Now the bad part. They ran out of pork. No char sui
No pork belly…UHG
Also broth was fine but it was far from steaming.
I have Ramen I expect to sweat a little from the steam.

I see the components and the thought put into this place. Everyone in my party finished their dishes and no real complaints about flavor. I think they had an off night … You can’t run out of pork.
If I’m in the nabe I’ d definitely give it another try.
But won’t make a dedicated trip here.

Thanks for taking one for the team @bgut1 and @Oldandtired! Too bad about the broth. The picture looks to me like it’s not a proper tonkotsu, it just doesn’t look like it has the proper opacity of a long bone stock. That’s a shame. Double and triple shame for running out of pork. How the hell does a ramen shop run out of pork and serve the dish anyway… that’s like a pizza shop serving pizza without cheese.

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@joonjoon - You make an excellent point about the stock. It reminded me that I had a picture of a really well made bowl of tonkatsu ramen that I recently had in Hawaii. Looking at the picture, you’ll notice that the broth was almost milky in color and differs quite a bit from the one served at Oni.

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Nice review buddy! I am not a ramen connoisseur but that is one great review. I will try to chime in from a newbie point of view soon. Nice pics too!

@joonjoon any other good Monmouth County spots?

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I came across a Japanese Fusion place in Toms River area that serves ramen after my son’s soccer game - Koi Asian fusion. It was okay but not great.

On another note, recent ate lunch at Ajihei in Princeton. Ordered their ramen and it was surprisingly good. I really liked the broth. It is not overpowering and has a really nice homemade feel to it.

First pic from Koi -Toms River
Second pic Ajihei - Princeton

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold