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I Overporked Myself

Yoko-San Ramen

6345 Naples Blvd, Naples FL


I had a wonderful date last night with the Ramen Girl of Southwest Florida (formerly the Ramen Girl of Southern California) who took time out of her busy schedule of violin, piano, second grade schoolwork and Sssniperwolf (if you know, you know) to join me in trying out one of the newest entries in the Paradise Coast restaurant landscape, Yoko-San Ramen.


It's the same owners as Fuji Sushi next door and Araya Sushi up on Immokalee in North Naples (the second best sushi in town), so the pedigree was there for it to have the requisite deliciousness that me and the Girl require.


The place itself is pretty spare. A bar with some sake and beer lines the left side, four or five booths line the right with the kitchen in the back. Fine by me as I tend to prefer my Japanese spots to be more spartan without all the fluff and pageantry that sometimes comes with some sushi and Ramen spots.


The menu is pretty spare as well. About 5-6 appetizers and about 6-7 Ramens plus a few small salads and that's it. This is a town where too many Asian restaurants have this sort of pan-Asian thing going on (Sushi and Thai have literally NOTHING in common culturally and culinarily). After being served my giant Sapporo in what looked like a mug fit for Andre The Giant (anybody want a peanut?), I ordered a cucumber salad (the Girl loves cucumber in all its forms) and the chicharron as an appetizer. I'm a massive fan of crispy pork belly but was really surprised to see it referred to in the traditional Mexican way at what I thought was a pretty traditional Japanese Ramen house. I then ordered a simple Tonkatsu ramen for my daughter (pork broth/noodles) and as I am wont to do took the waitresses suggestion that the spicy pork belly ramen was the best.


This is where the meal went slightly (just slightly) off the rails. After watching an otter being nursed back to health on the TV above the bar (we love otters), our appetizers came. The cucumber salad was very fresh and the chicharron was crispy and salty as it should be. I even convinced the Girl to try a bit explaining to her that it came from the same magical animal as ham. Her response? "Crunchy, but no." Kids these days..amirite?


The mains arrived. The Girl gave a big thumbs up to her pork broth, but I had an issue. I should have never ordered pork belly for the appetizer and the main. It's just too much of a good thing. I had done the unthinkable. I had overporked myself. Therefore, while the flavor was delicious and spicy and fresh, I just couldn't quite love it as much as I wanted to. Through no fault of the restaurant, I had sabotaged my meal. As someone who loves pork belly and eats more pork than any Jew or Gentile alive (sorry, Grandma), this was a grave overreach.


That being said, it's a welcome addition to the Naples food landscape. They stay in their lane and drive that lane very well.

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