February's Can't-Miss Dish

By Ellen Bhang · 02/04/2019

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it. 

On the plate: Chef’s Ultra Ramen

Where to find it: At Little Big Diner in Newton Centre, chef-owner David Punch has assembled a crew that really cranks out the ramen. “We’re averaging 1,200 bowls a week,” says executive chef Josh Colvin, quantifying just how many servings fly out of the galley-sized kitchen. “Once it gets on your mind, you can’t think of anything else,” he explains. “It’s hot, it’s the chewy noodles, it’s everything. It’s just good!”

Notes on the nosh: This version of Japanese noodles-in-soup is aimed at the guest with an appetite. Think of it as the ramen equivalent of a meat-lover’s pizza, where generous portions of animal protein—pork belly chashu, chili ground pork, grilled chicken thigh, and a soy-marinated egg—all fight for real estate atop a satisfying foundation of carbohydrates. The alkaline noodles here are springy and slurpable, bathed in rich, long-simmered broth. White kimchi, bean sprouts, and a generous scattering of scallions lend freshness and lift to this lavish bowl.

Sip alongside: When you read the ingredients in Cold Tea—tequila, mezcal, yuzu, sake, and green tea—you might expect the drink to pack a boozy wallop. But this draft cocktail is entirely refreshing, full of citrusy, smoky flavors and light on its feet. Served in a mug over plenty of ice, it’s exactly what you want between bites of stick-to-your-ribs ramen.

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