The Eats: Samurai Noodle, 412 Broadway E., 323-7991. Traditional Japanese ramen.
The Deets: Of all soup houses, the ramen restaurant still has a curious mystique here the Pacific Northwest. There are pho places a plenty up in our region--handfuls of veg-friendly ones, too--but ramen joints are still few and far between, good ones (I've read) fewer still, and vegetarian friendly ones pretty much off the the map.
The Beets: Enter Samurai Noodle, Seattle Weekly's 2009 "Best Pork in Soup Form" winner. And what's good news for pork lovers usually means bupkis for vegetarians, which is what you'll find at this ramen shack.
Traveling in Japan, it was either a bowl of fish-sauce laden broth (abroad, this is vegetarian to most folks) or nothing, so I know what fishy ramen broth tastes like. It tastes like the "vegetarian" tonyu at Samurai Noodle served in a "soy" broth. After digging in, my server admitted there was fish sauce in the dish--a dish clearly marked as vegetarian on the menu.
The only other options among the porky offerings were soups in either a rice or tomato broth. No thanks! I'd rather make my own (vegan) ramen--a simple combo of vegetable broth, miso, sesame oil, and soy sauce (or Braggs or Tamari)--save money doing it, and relish a more traditional (albeit vegetarian, but whatever) ramen experience at home.
The Tweet: Vegetarians, save your money at Samurai Noodle. Boom Noodle offers a few trustworthy alternatives, or just make yours at home.