148 1st Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
A highlight of my Columbus Day weekend was trying out Shabu & Mein in Kendall Square with Annie and her lovely parents! This modern, well-decorated restaurant is near the Cambridgeside Galleria, and it features ramen dishes and hot pot selections.
We started off with Xiao Long Bao (Taiwanese soup dumplings), which were freshly made, and filled with a tasty combination of pork, scallions, and some other flavors. Sadly, there wasn’t too much soup inside the dumplings, which was evident in the flatness of the dumpling, as Annie’s mom pointed out.
Annie ordered the Hot Pot Surf and Turf Combo in a kimchi broth, which came with a seafood platter and a choice of two meats (beef and lamb, in Annie’s case). “I really enjoyed the Surf and Turf Combo because it was a good variety of seafood and meat, both of which were fresh,” she explained. “The kimchi broth was just spicy enough to add some kick, but not so much that I was dying.”
The rest of us tried the restaurant’s ramen. I ordered one of the specials, Crazy Pork Ramen, which came with char-shu pork (a Chinese BBQ pork), pork belly, tontoro, a soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and seaweed. I thoroughly enjoyed this bowl of ramen, which came with noodles that are thinner than the ramen noodles I’m normally used to. I’m a picky noodle eater, but I adored the texture of these ramen noodles, which weren’t too soggy or stiff. As for the rest of the dish, all of the different kinds of pork were well-prepared and flavorful. The soft boiled egg was an egg-celent touch, and the broth had a rich aroma.
Annie’s dad ordered the Spicy Tonkotsu Rammen, which came with char-shu pork, mushrooms, menma, scallions, nori, and a soft boiled egg.
Annie’s mom ordered Gluten-free Soup Noodles, which were vermicelli noodles with scallops, shrimp, squid, cilantro, and fresh basil leaves.
The portions here are filling, and the food is certainly delicious, but it does come with a price tag. Ramen bowls start at $14 (my bowl of Crazy Pork Ramen was $18), and Hot Pot Combos range from $16-$24. Nevertheless, I’d say that it’s worth a try, especially when you’re craving ramen or hot pot close to campus. 8/10