had to go to Harvard Sq. in the morning on Friday, and tried to go to Santouka Ramen for lunch. One look at the place being jammed made me calculate I’d never eat and make it back to my parking meter in time and that led to Plan B: Yume Ga Arukara, the udon noodle place in Porter Square exchange.
I don’t know that much about the origins of the place–I know it’s related to the nearby ramen joint, Yume Wo Katare, to which I have not been. What little I’ve read said that they had imported their noodle maker from Japan and serve just niku udon, a beef noodle dish.
They serve cold udon at lunch (though I heard the host tell someone they were hoping to open at dinner next week for hot soup), so basically what you get is a bowl of noodles, some scallions, a pile of hot beef, some grated radish, a lemon slice and a dashi broth. You’re instructed not to mix the beef with the noodles, but to eat them separately. And it’s really good–the broth has depth, the scallions and lemon and radish work together as elements, the noodles are firm and chewy and the side of beef adds a salty savoriness.
The set up is classic Japan stall–two rows of seats, shouted greetings and farewells, concentration on a single item done well. The basic bowl is 12$. You can get extra beef or noodles, but there’s not much variation beyond that. And that’s a good thing.