Like their name says, at the new Koko Ramen Poke Bowl in the Target Shopping Center, one can order a bowl of ramen or a build-it-anyway-you-want-it poke bowl. There is also a bento box option, bubble tea, desserts and a wide array of appetizers.
When my daughter Katie and I checked them out last week, we were both leaning toward the ramen. Katie loves ramen. It's especially good, she said, on cold winter days.
While it was not a cold winter day — it was feeling more like 115 degrees outside — we each decided on a bowl of it.
I was a little hesitant about dining in because of coronavirus concerns, but it looked easy enough to isolate from other diners in one of the many booths, so we did. Good choice. Atmosphere-wise, we would have missed out on a lot if we had gotten our orders to go.
For one thing, Koko's ramen is served up in a big, artsy-looking bowl with a wonderful, huge, ladle-like spoon that looks like a mini version of the spoon rest in my kitchen. We would have missed out on the fancy bowl and spoon if we had gotten our food to go.
Koko's offers 10 ramen options. Not all of them are chicken. Some are pork. I asked our food server, Dylan, what the most popular one was. He said the $10 spicy chicken ramen was a big seller. It contains chicken char siu, spinach, fish cake, fried onion, seasoned egg, bamboo shoots, green onion and chili sauce in a chicken broth.
I was concerned about just how spicy the spicy chicken ramen would be. Dylan said he could bring the chili sauce in a separate bowl so I could add as much or as little as I wanted, and that sold me on it.
Katie chose the yummy chicken ramen for $9.50. After Dylan had taken our orders, we realized by looking back at the menu that spicy chicken ramen and yummy chicken ramen were the exact same dish — the only difference being the spicy chicken comes with chili sauce.
As it turns out, we ended up sharing that separate bowl of chili sauce, so in a sense we both had the spicy chicken ramen.
Our bowls arrived with an egg, some roundish chicken medallions, green onions and other things I probably wouldn't have been able to positively identify if I hadn't read the ingredients on the menu.
"That's the thing with ramen," said Katie. "You don't know what a lot of it is, really, but it ends up being OK."
We found spaghetti-like noodles beneath the arrangement of food on the top layer of the ramen bowl. The rich, flavored ramen broth was awesome. I could have eaten just that and been a happy camper.
Koko's ramen, which Katie described as being "like a fancy chicken soup," was a delicious, spicy and slightly exotic treat for lunch — no matter how hot it was outside.
Koko Ramen Poke Bowl is located at 1748 W. Prien Lake Road.