2011 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Relocated from Bethesda to Wheaton over the summer, this cash-only, two-tone storefront specializes in ramen. There are a mere four bowls to consider - three based on pork broth and one featuring seaweed stock - although a customer can accessorize a meal with boiled egg and bamboo shoots, among other additions. This slurper's vote goes to the piping-hot miso-flavored feast wrought from wiry yellow noodles imported from Sapporo, Japan; a crumble of ground pork; bean sprouts; and scallions. From beyond the little window in the back of the spare, 25-seat dining room comes exactly one appetizer: sheer gyoza, made in-house and among the juiciest pork dumplings around. Ren's Ramen isn't a place to linger. There's no booze, and the decor accents don't go much beyond an orchid at the cash register and a first-aid poster on the wall. But those noodles provide sufficient cheap thrills. The character behind the name? Ren Nakamura is the owners' 8-year-old son.