This week has seen some of the coldest days yet. With highs of 16 degrees, and unfathomable (sort of…hey, I am Canadian!) lows, no matter how many layers you put on, you will feel that bite.
Introducing Yume Wo Katare, a Japanese-style noodle house which opened in October and has ever since, according to word on the street, had a constant line out the door. Of course, when I took my friends out here, I did warn them that this might be the case and we agreed that we would drive by and assess the severity of the situation before committing fully.
I suppose the one fantastic thing about weather this cold, is that people do not tend to wait in outdoor lines for fear of frostbite or other more serious predicaments. Even more apparent is that people tend to not leave the warmth of their homes, period. So, when we drove past and saw that there was no line, we quickly hoped out and entered.
Right off the bat it became clear that at this particular ramen place, there was no messing around. You enter, order from one of two options: two slices of pork, or five slices of pork, pay for your meal and get ushered to a seat once one become available. When your ramen is ready, the chef will call out if you would like extra toppings like garlic, pork fat or vegetables (which come free of charge) and you have to respond quickly and succinctly.
Oh, and did I mention? All of this must be done in Japanese, because only one server out of the entire staff speaks any english.
When my turn came up, I was ready, and to the chef’s words, I replied, ‘ Hi! Yazai!’ aka, ‘Yes, extra vegetables!’
About ten minutes after my friends and I had placed and paid for our orders, we were awarded the huge, steaming bowls of ramen we were so looking forward to. Heaped with handmade ramen noodles, loads of extra vegetables and two slices of tender and tasty pork, it was well worth the drive by, fives times over.
Not only was my bowl of ramen the best and most authentic I have tasted here in Boston, but it provided me with the warmth I had been looking for all day. In fact, when we left, I actually welcomed the blast of cold air – at least for the first 10 seconds.
Yume Wo Katare is a special place, it provides a glimpse of a traditional niche in Japanese cuisine from the very moment you walk in and order, to the minute you put down your chopsticks in defeat. This is in fact a very important moment, and don’t expect to sit around and chat once you are finished. These guys operate a tight ship and once you are done, up you get in order to free up a seat for the next ramen-hungry individual waiting to dig into their bowl.
Yume Wo Katare is a refreshing experience, where everyone is treated according to the same rules – and don’t try to side step them by ordering take out…that is not an option here:) So, unless you brave the cold and get lucky, prepare to wait in line and brush up on your Japanese vocabulary – but I can tell you right away, it will all be worth it.