Those familiar with Boke's first incarnation as a pop-up restaurant will recognize the array of options that are artfully presented on the restaurant's wall on wooden slats, presenting choices of ramen, from vegan to pescetarian to carnivore, plus a selection of add-ons and extras. As someone who has annoying special dietary needs as well as an apparently inexhaustible craving for all varieties of Asian noodle soups, having options is pretty damn important—and yes, I know, "real ramen" will always have pork. But these are modern times. Lately places with veggie ramens have been cropping up—Mirakutei and Wafu both offer good ones—but nowhere else can I revel in the luxury of having two (two!) broth options (I went with the seafood, which miraculously doesn't contain pork or other meaty bits—that never happens).
This soup itself is delicious, on par with my other usual spots (although a couple of my meat eating friends declared that their loyalty to Biwa remains unseated) if not particularly outshining them, and I heard good things from those who sampled the selection of appetizers on hand. Ned called the pork buns "really tasty, sort of like an open-faced dumpling sandwich, but doughier," and of the "twinkies" he opined that they "were great, although I think they were more like ladyfinger cakes and didn't actually resemble Twinkies. That is a good thing."
My only complaint? The hours. Except for reservation-only Thursday nights specializing in Korean fried chicken, Boke is lunch-only, making it somewhat inaccessible to anyone who doesn't work in the immediate vicinity. Hopefully that is only temporary. -MARJORIE SKINNER
1028 SE Water,
Hours: Daily 11 am-9 pm