Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Hopping off the plane at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, I leisurely walked to my gate during a layover when I did a double-take as I passed Shoyu in Concourse G. The cooks were showcased behind glass under racks of hanging strands of fresh noodles. Even though I was headed to Japan via Los Angeles and Honolulu, I was intrigued and plopped down at the counter.

Shoyu Counter Seating
Counter seating

At each seat, at the counter or table, there is an iPad, electrical and USB outlet, and credit card swipe. iPads have access online, updates to your flight, and the menu. Selections included sashimi, sushi, ramen, and other dishes. I selected Tokyo style ramen with pork ($12.50) and asparagus tempura roll with mango sauce ($12).

I was startled when the food arrived in under 5 minutes. Broth was a bit lacking (in presence) when the ramen arrived. After I finished taking my pictures and packing my camera, the broth was nearly soaked up by the noodles.

Shoyu Tokyo Style Pork Ramen
Tokyo style ramen with smoked pork

The few spoonfuls of shoyu broth was a touch salty, but keep in mind that I'm sensitive to salt, had another layover, and about 8 hours until I arrived in Honolulu (swollen legs). Even though the noodles soaked up most of the broth, the texture was perfect - good bite and chew. Toppings were generous and delicious.

Clockwise from the top: beautifully boiled egg with a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi; nori (roasted seaweed); spinach; wakame (seaweed); menma (Japanese marinated bamboo shoots); and shredded smoked pork with scallions. The smoked pork was moist and similar to kalua pig from Hawaii.

Shoyu Asparagus Tempura Roll
Asparagus tempura roll

The asparagus tempura roll was technically made all right. The rice wasn't smashed or overcooked, and the ingredients were crisp. My gripe resides with the mango sauce. It would have been better to drizzle it on the platter so one can choose the level of inclusion. I would have opted for zero to a touch. It wasn't horrible, just too sweet for my palate.

If Shoyu was a standalone restaurant in Cleveland, I'd return. It's not perfect, but Cleveland is a ramen desert. There are a few restaurants that make a fair bowl of udon; however, there are no restaurants we've tried that can make a passable bowl of ramen. We have yet to try Dante in Tremont because they begin Japanese noodle service at 10:30 p.m., no earlier. Maybe one day...

- Cassaendra

Concourse G
Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport

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