San Antonio: Tenko Ramen

Rainy days, colder weather, and the need for noodles – they go hand in hand right? When the temps {finally} drop in sunny San An (not so often), I need no other excuse to head down to Tenko Ramen – Chef Quealy Watson’s first fast casual concept – to nosh on my go-to cuddled-up-by-the-fire food: ramen.

A small Japanese joint with immense flavor, Tenko Ramen delivers a remarkable 9 item menu from its corner spot in the Pearl District’s newest Food Hall. Snacks like house-made cabbage kimchi, sunomono cucumber salad, and fried chicken fajita nuggets (karaage), are offered as small starters or sides to more substantial mains.

The edamame, classic and simple in it’s purest form, is a d d i c t i n g when paired with Tenko’s miso popcorn butter *hello* and lucas togarashi (a mix of eclectic and zesty spices). Trust me – they go together well, sweet and creamy, with a bit of heat and texture. Let’s not discount the packaging either – so edgy, and bright, drawing appeal to the eatery’s adorable logo.

I decided to also order the chicken katsu sandwich – a more sizable ‘side’ – as I’d been itching to try Tenko’s take on the Asian staple. Served with dill pickle, lettuce, and roasted kimchi mayo, the sammie was O K. Though battered near perfection, the chicken fell short of expectation, as it chewed on the rubbery side and lacked the fiery flavor I’d seen in other items.

That being said, don’t become discouraged – I’m a picky eater, and Tenko’s mains are where I really dive in. Ramen choices range from double mushroom to tokyo shoyu – a lighter bowl, stocked with scallions, bamboo shoots, nori, roasted snapper tare, pork chashu, and a soft boiled marinated egg (pictured below). My personal fave, and recommended dish, is the spicy miso tantan-men – a heartier bowl with Sichuan pepper and ground chili pork.

With add ons like pickled shiitake, sesame garlic paste, and/or ‘mouth-numbing battery acid chili’ (yes, that’s a real thing), your ramen can be customized to satisfy near any preference {pointing at those who, like me, can’t handle a bit of spice without shedding a few tears}. Sitting adjacent to the Pearl park, Tenko Ramen is a great one stop shop for those seeking quick and quality, hearty and flavorful bits to eat around the Pearl community.

Tenko Ramen (Bottling Dept. Food Hall, 312 Pearl Parkway, Suite 6112, San Antonio, TX 78215 // 210.267.2996)

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