John Chaides / Courier The tonkotsuis is one of the different types of broth that can be ordered at Akira Ramen in Pasadena on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
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It was the perfect day for ramen when I took a visit to Akira Ramen, which happens to be located right across the street from PCC on Colorado Boulevard. The weather was gloomy, a bit chilly and I had the appetite to devour a big bowl of delicious ramen. However, in all honesty it was not all that.

Akira Ramen just recently opened up for business and replaced what was once the closest Mexican restaurant in the PCC vicinity, Mialma, or what was formerly known as Javier’s. The Mexican restaurant had a four star rating on Yelp and a reputation for being a good Mexican food spot in the area for a reasonable price.

Akira Ramen has been opened for a little over a month, and I’ve been eyeing it since the “ramen coming soon” sign was up. I finally got the chance to check it out and to be brutally honest it does not deserve to be right in front of the campus. If I had to give it a letter grade it would be a C-.

I would have given this restaurant a D, however the service and the California roll I ordered alongside my bowl of ramen bumped it up a bit. Even on Yelp it has a measly 3 and a half star rating. I honestly had pretty low expectations before stepping foot into the establishment, mainly because it replaced my favorite place to get a carne asada burrito in the area.

The good thing about this place is that they offer three lunch specials at a reasonable price, which is what I ended up ordering. I ordered the tonkotsu ramen with extra Chashu (marinated pork belly), alongside a four-piece California roll that saved the day. From my experience, tonkotsu has the most flavor because it derives from pork, and I like the creamy consistency it has.

However, this ramen was not flavorful and did not satisfy my ramen cravings. The chashu was rubbery and had a weird flavor to it. I’m used to being able to actually bite down into pork belly and chew it, but this pork belly was extremely chewy and almost impossible to bite. The noodles tasted similar to the one you can buy in a pack for about twenty cents. It was just a bad experience.

The California roll was surprisingly the star of the show, because that ramen was nothing to rave about. It was four  rather large pieces of sushi that one-upped my bowl of ramen. I mean let’s be real, how can you mess up a Cali roll. I thought the same thing about ramen, but clearly, you can. The broth is probably the key component of ramen, so if you mess the broth up, the entire thing is tainted. So the fact that the noodles were also bad was not a good sign. I couldn’t even finish it and I usually finish ramen.

As a whole, they should advertise their sushi over their ramen. I’m glad they at least had friendly staff or else the entire experience would have been ruined. Save yourself the trip if you are craving ramen because you will be eating a giant bowl of mediocrity.

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