Editor’s Note: The Creative Folks is excited to announce it’s brand new section of the blog, Food Reviews! Not just any, but Atlanta restaurants in particular. We wanted to take an opportunity in shedding light on the culinary arts of Atlanta, so why not start March off with that?
First thing is first, Jinya holds a handle in the heart of my photographer (referred to as Cait the rest of this article) and I. Jinya holds the good memories, bad memories, and new memories that we want to make. While Cait and I recommend that you should share your experience at Jinya with friends, when you’re alone on a chilly day, the chorus of ‘irasshai’ (welcome) will make you feel as though you belong.
Recommended appetizers are the takoyaki and the gyoza. The takoyaki (pictured left) are chopped octopus battered into a ball shape then topped with shredded squid, eel sauce, and mayonnaise with a side of scrambled eggs. Be careful; the steam at the center is extremely hot. Pan fried gyoza is a treat in and of itself – and I got to tell you Jinya did it right when pan frying.
The gyozas were crisp and chewy at the same time but the filling remained tender.Most popular entrees were the Tonkatsu Spicy, Tonkatsu Black, and Tonkatsu White. Chef specials vary every couple of weeks but they are frequently requested during their run.
JINYA Ramen Bar hold 2 locations in Georgia, one in Roswell and one in Sandy Springs. For the purpose of our review, our team went to the Roswell,due to convenience and seating space. It’s on the Powers Ferry Square, next to Panera Bread. Parking was available on location and the overflow could park in the plaza’s lot. Do note that the surrounding office buildings may factor into parking conflicts during the lunch rush. At the height of the dinner rush, we found fairly close parking at 7pm on a weekday. We had a wait time of 40 minutes but that ended up being 20, so people on average spend about 35 – 70 minutes here.
JINYA Ramen Bar
3714 Roswell Rd #35, Atlanta, GA 30342
JINYA is decorated with modern and industrial influences. It combines elements of modern interior design and traditional influences of izakaya (Japanese pub) and ramen restaurants. The main walkway will lead you to a bar trimmed with sleek metal and tall stools. I would not advise sitting at the bar during winter because they are the closest to the entryway and glass windows. These seating options then follow: booths, tables, and the ramen bar. The ramen bar will seat you right in front of the chefs as they cook which pay homage to the traditional Japanese ramen restaurant environment. If the party is over 6 people, sitting at the tables will allow you a central view of the restaurant. From here, the views of expose bulbs are a great subject for photos or as a backdrop. Smaller parties can be seated at the mirror backed booths, where a large padded bench will be shared among guests who sit closest to the wall.
Music spans a variety of genres, but I guarantee that the conversations of the patron will drown out the volume of the music. Despite that the noise level is tolerable and discussions can be held between people sitting side by side. However, I would recommend taking a group of 2-4 people here at a time as not to overwhelm the staff or to take up too much of the seating; keep in mind that larger groups may be split.
Most patrons are dressed casually and whether it was coincidence or intentional, I was greatly amused that all of the servers were wearing plaid the night we dropped by.
Tonkotsu Ramen – All varieties of tonkotsu ramen is made using pork. Cait ordered the Tonkotsu Spicy and I ordered the Tonkotsu Black. The important thing to note here is that the noodle thickness is different in each tonkotsu dish: Cait’s bowl had thick noodles while mine had thin. Josh ordered the Cha Cha Cha, which is served with extra thick noodles and specifically had a lot of garlic. Our friend David ordered the Sprouting Up ramen (a tonkotsu variety with more sprouts) yet each dish had consistently tender pork. The pork chashu is cooked by slowly heating the rolled pork belly over medium to low heat then when done, it is marinated in a soy based sauce. One would expect it to be extremely fatty but the cuts were perfectly cooked to melt in your mouth while the excess fat provided a thicker body and umami to the broth. Jinya’s pork is one of a kind; other ramen spots cannot replicate the same texture.
Chicken Ramen – The last person in our party tried the Spicy Chicken Ramen. This is a good substitutefor people with dietary restrictions or preferences that exclude pork. The chicken chashu is cooked identically so you’ll still get the tender texture and the broth is all chicken based. Note that without the extra fat in this dish the broth will be less dense. He had been sipping on the hot sake before actually starting the main dish but he says that the alcohol enhanced the meaty flavor of the chicken and the heat of the chili.
All the ramen is served with the toppings over the noodles in piping hot broth. The proper way to enjoy the ramen is to mix the ingredients in the bowl so they fall to the bottom and as you eat move them around. This ensures even heat in addition to allowing the diner to control how crisp or well done something is.
If you like soft boiled eggs, I recommend getting the ramen with the seasoned egg. I really don’t know how they do it: yolks are runny but infused with the briny taste of the soup but the egg is always caramel in color. I like breaking the egg so that the yolk mixes into the soup.
Any ramen can be made in the spicy variety. Noodle substitutions are common (excluding specialty dishes like the Cha Cha Cha). Jinya in Roswell serves a diverse demographic so they do include vegetarian and vegan options.
JINYA is affordable as a lunch option with most bowls set at $10 – $12 dollars each. If you are still are hungry but have a lot of broth in your bowl, a kaedema (noodle refill) will cost an extra $2. Small plates and snacks are typically served at the bar and they range from $3-$8.
Drinks on the other hand vary. They have a decent selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including some Japanese brands.
On average, I’ll be paying around $62 (without tip) for three non- alcoholic people.
Look, I’m not a big beer person nor can I hold my alcohol, but the hostess taking care of us told me that she wasn’t a big beer person either, yet she found something she liked off of the menu. Stiegl -Radler: a mixed beer drink best suited for people who hate beer; it tastes like grapefruit and low ABV.
She also recommended us to try the Jinya Bun, which may not be a top seller, but it is a popular appetizer. The steamed bun was a pillowy cradle that held sweet and smoky slow roasted pork, cucumber, and greens.
- Service – 5/5 Consistently good service no matter what time of the day.
- Food – 5/5 Best ramen we’ve had in Atlanta
- Atmosphere – 4/5 Cramped seating took off a star but at least you know the wait time will be short.
- Price – 2/5 In expensive if you choose not to drink. I’d say the average amount people will be spending here is $21.
Total: 4.5/5 I would bring people here to introduce them to authentic japanese ramen for sure but I would avoid the lunch or dinner rush if possible.
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