Start driving to Iowa City, take the Dubuque Street exit, come to the stop light before the Mayflower and hang a ralph, drive up and yes, it’s all houses/homes/condos/etc. keep going until you hit the Peninsula Neighborhood. Don’t worry, if you think you are totally missing a restaurant because it’s all houses, you would be correct, but just get to Martin Street and you’ll run into a legit restaurant…you’ve made it..1010 Martin Street in Iowa City….get your taste buds ready for Ramen Belly!
Nestled back in a beautiful Iowa City neighborhood is where you can get an extremely satisfying and fulfilling Asian meal. Ramen Belly has a small seating capacity with some outdoor tables which makes it charming and hospitable as do the wait staff and owners. You are given menus, but you place your order after scanning a QR code and the staff are eager to help if need be. The menu itself is mouth-water….potstickers, short ribs, poke bowls, and what I came there to eat…RAMEN!!! When I hit a new place and the menu has many options that appease they eye, it’s time to order a shit load of food! Before the food…the beer…….Ichiban on tap…get one, Japan’s pale ale, or get a Sapporo while you’re feeding your face. For the Iowa Craft scene, Easy Eddy was on the lines!
DISH 1 – Braised Pork and Mushroom Pot Stickers:
Potstickers are always an easy thing to order because they are usually extremely tasty if done correctly, and Ramen Belly does them extremely well. A bit of crunch on the outside, steamed perfectly, and the mushroom/roasted pork combo paired wonderfully. Definitely worth another order.
DISH 2 – Tuna Tartare
Fresh tuna tossed in a sriracha aioli with house pickled cucumbers, wonton strips, and thin strips of nori. Refreshing with a little punch of heat from the aioli, paired perfectly with a cold Ichiban.
DISH 3 – Poke Bowl
Yes, this dish and the one above look similar. Underneath this one however is some delicious white rice and a sesame flavored seaweed salad to go along with the mouth watering tuna. Refreshing, filling, and extremely tasty. The seaweed salad is the game changer in this dish. Those house cucumbers in there make for a perfect bite!
DISH 4 – RAMEN!!!
I went with the house blend ramen broth on this one and after talking to the owner you can appreciate it all those flavors that you get from it. The broth is cooked down for 36 hours before blending with others broths for at least an additional 18 hours. Packed full of flavor for all the lovely parts of chicken, pork, veggies, beef and then strained over al dente noodles, a big slab of the best tasting korean grilled short rib I’ll ever eat, soft boiled egg, and bean sprouts.
I want to go back tomorrow. Every dish was delicious, flavorful, and well-executed. My one regret…I should have ordered a bunch of short ribs! I will not make that mistake again! Forget chicken noodle soup, Ramen is the way to go! Check out Ramen Belly on Facebook by clicking HERE and get over there and get some awesome food!