By Lee Guekguezian
I had been eagerly awaiting the opening of Rah’mn for what seemed like an eternity (but was actually around a month.) The “Chipotle style,” fast-casual, build-your-own ramen joint opened their doors on Thursday March 30, to a line wrapped around the block. Rah’mn’s website advertises affordable and delicious meals, fast service and food ideal for all dietary restrictions. While $7.95 ramen, noodle bowls and salads sound fantastic in theory, Rah’mn somewhat failed to fulfill the promises made prior to opening.
Upon walking in the door, I was greeted by enthusiastic and friendly staff, but had a difficult time hearing due to the loud music and the glass pane separating me from the person taking my order. I ordered a ramen bowl with spicy miso broth and went down the line eagerly choosing ingredients—corn, edamame, tofu, carrots, raw onions, fried onions and soy miso dressing. The noodles soak in water before they are put into the bowl and the broth is added at the end. When I got to the register, I definitely experienced some sticker shock, and was confused over how my $7.95 bowl of ramen had climbed to $11. The three pieces of raw, unseasoned tofu that were in my bowl had cost an additional $2.50, which I found a little disappointing. After reading Yelp reviews, it appears that other customers were upset about the extra costs, such as $1 for soft boiled eggs, and the extra $2.50 for the small portion of tofu.
My silent tantrum over the price of my meal turned into excitement as I sat down and prepared to feast. Taste verdict: eh. The ramen was okay, but definitely not as good as ramen I have had at other restaurants for a similar price. The broth was pretty flavorless, even though I had added the soy miso dressing. The noodles were starchy and would have probably benefitted from extra time soaking in water or broth. My dining companions got noodle bowls, salads and soup, and also found the flavors dull and not worth the price. I found that the ingredients offered (raw vegetables) were not compatible with a bowl of ramen, and quantity was poorly monitored, as they had run out of eggs less than an hour after opening. They also did not have the gluten-free or vegan noodle options that had been offered on their website, but they promise to have them in stock and ready to go soon.
In theory, Rah’mn is a really cool idea, but it does not work well in practice (yet). It seems that the staff are still trying to figure out how to provide high quality food, quickly. Clearly, the well-oiled machine that Chipotle uses is not easily replicated. The day after their grand opening, Rah’mn posted a sign on their door stating that they would have to open at 5 p.m., which was later than expected, but had still not opened their doors at 5:30 p.m., according to a Yelp review. These kinks are to be expected from a new business, but are definitely disappointing to eager consumers.
Final verdict: give Rah’mn a chance, but make sure you are aware of all the added costs before you make your way down that assembly line. If you’re searching for some high quality, traditional ramen at a similar price point, I would consider googling some other options (Tori, Zenbox, RAMEN KAZAMA) but if you’re in the mood for something fast and not as salt-heavy, this may be the place for you! The exposed wood makes for some #hip decor and the atmosphere is definitely superior to the food.
Rah’mn is located at 300 Snelling Ave S Suite A, St Paul, MN 55105