Hate onions? Put ketchup on your ketchup? We all have unique likes and dislikes, so when you hear about a new restaurant, whether it be from a foodie or someone who lives off of toaster pastries, you don’t know if their tastes align with your own. So, instead of reading a review from one source, take it from four members of our team. Even though we are woefully underqualified to review a restaurant, at least one of us will likely share some of your distinct tastes.
For this issue, the PressureLife crew visited Xinji Noodle Bar, a new purveyor of ramen, steam buns, and other Pan-Asian staples, located at 4211 Lorain Ave.
Liked: This was my first time to a noodle joint and I really enjoyed it. The crispy veggie dumplings were on point, and to be honest all our appetizers were good. The spicy miso ramen with a soy egg was a home run. I would definitely recommend Xinji to anyone.
Disliked: Regarding the food there isn’t anything I would change. I wasn’t a fan of the two sake’s we tried, but they were also the two cheapest ones on the menu.
Liked: There wasn’t much that I didn’t like at Xinji. The pork baos are a beautiful pile of tender, delicious, porky goodness on an edible cloud/steam bun. The fried chicken had a lovely crunch before you hit that sweet meat. The kimchi balls are the tasty love child of arancini and fermented cabbage. Oh yeah, the ramen is wonderful as well, especially if you decide to add a soy egg. Always add a soy egg.
Disliked: Not much, to be honest. I’m personally not a big fan of sake, but if you like it, you’ll be pleased. You also have to be careful not to accidentally splash ramen on yourself like I did. I really need to up my slurp game.
Liked: I’ll start by saying, this is not my kind of food. However, I really did enjoy about 75% of the menu items we tried. The pork bao and kimchi and rice balls were by far the highlight for me, as was the sauce on the Korean fried chicken—I could find a lot of foods to put that on. Xinji’s location is great and the presentation of the food was beautiful, especially the noodle bowls.
Disliked: I didn’t love my Shoyu bowl, but it wasn’t the bowl’s fault. While the noodles, broth and chicken were delicious, there were a lot of unrecognizable ingredients in it: a soy egg, naruto (boiled fish paste?), and wood ear mushrooms. I’m sure these are a delicious delicacy to some, but for me, I couldn’t get past the names and appearance of the ingredients.
Liked: I was born to eat soup. Not that I was born eating soup but pretty damn close. It wouldn’t matter if it was 90 degrees outside and I was in a full sweat before I took my first sip or – 10 and I needed to use the soup to get my frozen car window down for a morning smoke, I cannot get enough SOUP. Now, take this never-ending love for soup and add fresh cut pork, perfectly cooked noodles, and a soy egg? That’s exactly what Xinji did and it worked! The broth itself (Spicy Miso Ramen) was rich and spicy, and the creaminess of the yolk cut it masterfully. Basically, I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this dish, and can confidently say that you cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. Soup lovers, can I get a heeyaaa?!
Disliked: Although I loved pretty much everything that ran across my tongue, I still am not 100% on how to say “Xinji”.