Meshikou Review: Welcome to the Holy Ramen Empire in Columbus

Meshikou is a ramen shop located in a strip mall on Bethel Road, sitting between a computer repair store and a poker club. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but you know what they say: don’t judge an open kitchen ramen shop by its cover.

Walking inside, I was immediately taken aback by how nice it looked. The decor has a clean and contemporary aesthetic to it. Customers can sit at snazzy wooden tables or the counter for a more authentic Japanese ramen experience. While it’s on the small side, Meshikou looks more like an upscale Short North restaurant than something you’d expect to find in a strip mall.

I started the meal with an iced water and a genmaicha hot tea. Going against the current Columbus trends, I was served a glass of water with ice actually inside of it. I didn’t have to pour my own room temperature water from a salvaged milk bottle into a small iceless glass. While I’m not usually a tea person, the genmaicha was some of the most delicious tea I have ever had and became an instant favorite.

For appetizers, I went with the Enoki Bacon Wrap and the Salt and Pepper Chicken Wing. The bacon wraps were just okay. They didn’t have much flavor and the portion size was sparse for the price. I’m swiping left on the Enoki Bacon Wrap.

The Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, on the other hand, were amazing. These large wings were seasoned and fried perfectly and then tossed with fresh pepper, onion, jalapeno and garlic. They were seriously yummy and I had to stop myself from eating all of them to save room for the actual ramen.

The Fireball Miso Ramen I ordered consists of chicken chintan broth infused with miso paste and a ball of spicy garlic paste, served with wavy noodles. It’s topped with kikurage mushrooms, corn, white scallions, and a marinated soft boiled egg. You can choose to finish it off with pork belly or pork tenderloin. I opted for the pork belly.

My ramen was absolutely incredible. After mixing everything together a bit, I alternated between chopsticks and spoon to greedily devour the contents of my giant bowl. The noodles and pork belly were cooked to perfection. Something bold and heavenly was created as all of the flavors came together. Before I knew it, I had tipped the remaining contents of the bowl into my mouth. It was over far too soon.

Whether you’re a ramen aficionado or a first-timer looking to try something different, Meshikou won’t disappoint. It has some of the best ramen Columbus had to offer. Seriously. Check it out.

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