Do you have $12 and a little patience to spare? Yes? Good. Then Yume Wo Katare is willing to make you a trade for a bowl of noodles transcendent ramen experience that will leave your belly full and your dreams affirmed. Find a friend, fill a couple to-go cups with your beverage of choice, and hop in line. You’re going to be camped out for a while.
You could walk by this unremarkable storefront a hundred times and pay no notice if it weren’t for the line. There’s a line when it’s hot, a line when it’s snowy, a line when the students are gone, and a longer line when they’re in town. Always a line. What exactly are they holding out for? A glorious bowl of Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s “jiro”-style ramen: heaps of fat and chewy noodles in a rich, gravy-like broth topped with slabs of melty pork belly, bean sprouts, and bok choy. One slurp and you’ll understand why groupies savor the anticipation on the sidewalk night after night.
Opened in 2012, Yume Wo Katare was the sixth shop and the first in the US outpost opened by Nishioka. Since then, the Japanese native has been serving up food comas to intrepid Boston eaters one very large bowl at a time. If “instant” and “ramen” are inextricably linked in your lexicon, divorce them now—achieving Yume Wo Katare’s signature flavor depths involves slowly simmering pork bones for more than 24 hours (yielding a wickedly fatty broth) and making fresh noodles by hand.
First, you’ll be greeted with questions “More pork?” “Raw garlic?” Also: “Do you have a dream to share?” Yume wo katare translates as “speak your dreams.” Declaring those dreams publicly to the dining room post-ramen is an invitation extended to all diners, and the ritual that makes Yume Wo Katare one part dinner and one part therapy session. On our last visit we heard aspirations of home ownership, finding love, and passing the bar exam. Whatever your dream, the courage to share is rewarded with cheers and applause. If you manage to finish your ramen (good luck with that), you’ll get shouts of “You got a perfect!” We don’t advocate force-feeding your way to the finish line, though. Perfection is in the ramen—not in seeing the bottom of your bowl.
In an era where most restaurants feel obliged to accommodate the diet/allergy/hypersensitivity of the moment, we respect that YWK doesn’t do substitutions, take-out, leftovers, or those crusty condiment carousels.
Officially YWK is open from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday plus lunch service from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. However, their schedule is notoriously patchy. Double-check the calendar on Facebook before you go.
YWK is cash only. Forgot to the hit the ATM? Thought so. Lucky you: There’s a CVS across the square for all your cashback needs.
Before settling on Boston, Nishioka scouted locations in Hawaii and New York, ultimately passing them over for us. Yup, you read that right: We have one and NYC doesn’t. Most recently, Nishioka finally opened an outpost in Tokyo.
Tastes of Yume Wo Katare
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