Crane Ramen in JAX Brings A Taste of Japan To Florida
Recently opened in Jacksonville, Crane Ramen has made quite the hit around town. Specializing in craft ramen utilizing local, fresh ingredients when possible, this restaurant has everything I’ve been looking for. Ever since traveling to Tokyo, I’ve had ramen withdrawals (yes, it’s a real thing), and I’m a bit picky now that I know what the authentic signature dish tastes like. I had heard about Crane Ramen and it’s authenticity, but I was skeptical so I had to try it out. Let’s just say, I was ready to order a second bowl before I had even finished the first.
First, we decided on a couple of appetizers. With my love of kimchi, I had to try out their House Made Kimchi of course. And, then chose to try out the Roasted Pork Belly Steamed Buns. I’ve had sour and sweeter tasting kimchi, but prefer it sour and extra spicy. Crane’s kimchi wasn’t sweet (thank goodness) at all, so I was happily content with it but I also wouldn’t have minded a tad more sour.
But the steamed buns….were out of this world amazing (and I’ve had the ones from Momofuku too…not as good as Crane’s). Typically, pork belly is half fat. But, the pork belly here was the most flavorful and tender and was more meat than fat. We were dying to order more, but decided against indulging too much (there was ice cream in our future LOL). Anyways, order the steamed buns. Just do it, you won’t regret it.
As for the main course and reason why I wanted to eat at Crane, I went with my personal favorite style of ramen….shoyu. Ramen styles differ based on the type of broth used. The four classics are Shoyu (dark, soy sauce based), shio (light, sea salt), miso, and tonkotsu (rich, creamier pork-bone broth).
The shoyu ramen comes with pork chashu, bok choy, boiled egg, menma (bamboo shoots), nori, saba oil, and scallions. I added some hot chili oil as well cause what’s life without a bit of spice?! This ramen was absolutely delicious. It beat most of the ramen I had while I was in Japan, so I was very satisfied. The soy sauce based chicken broth had an excellent flavor and even better, they don’t short you on the tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork chashu!
My boyfriend ordered the tonkotsu ramen which had pork chashu, pork belly, wood-ear mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, boiled egg, shallot and garlic chips, and scallions. The tonkotsu was great as well, however, I preferred the shoyu simply because the broth has a better and stronger flavor in my opinion. After he stole a bit of mine, he agreed that the shoyu edged out the tonkotsu.
Crane Ramen has many other styles of ramen as well such as shio (comes with snow crab), paitan (ginger chicken meatballs!), veggie miso, and even cold ramen. I can’t wait until my next visit to try the spicy pork shoyu paitan which uses habanero to spice things up.