By Cat Tong, Staff Writer
Growing weary of cup ramen noodles, as the typical college diet goes, I decided to go out for a change. I ventured into Falls Church to visit the “hot & new” restaurant as declared on Yelp, Ramen Factory 42. I heard this was the place for authentic Japanese ramen, with a twist. Perfectly fitting for the coldest days and even on a normal day, it is a warm, soothing, filling meal that tastes like home
Upon entrance, the ambience is commendable. Providing a tasteful hipster-like yet simple interior decor, the soft lighting and subtle nuances of Japanese culture in every corner of the restaurant, Ramen Factory 42 creates a really inviting atmosphere. Featuring artists like the late Nujabes, a Japanese DJ combining hip-hop with jazz to introduce more modern tones balanced with traditional Japanese music. The back wall is filled with classic Japanese films, and memorabilia from Hayao Miyazaki’s animated works. Ramen Factory 42 showed a lot of thought when it came to the design.
As for the menu, it was short and simple. Like most authentic ramen houses, they have a small list of their main ramen dishes, a few appetizers, and never deviate too far from what they specialize in. Some honorable mentions include the Kagawa Special Shoyu Ramen and the RF42 Miso Ramen. They offer each bowl of ramen with two options for the noodles: house-made wheat noodles and green tea noodles.
*Shoyu Ramen – The chicken bone soup base was tasty, along with the seafood marinate in soy sauce. The beef teriyaki was a weird touch. A lighter soup than the rest, comes with toppings: sweet egg, green onion, radish, and dried seaweed.
*Tonkotsu Ramen – A very unique broth, with a thicker and milkier base. It was savory with a garlicky taste. The lemon was a nice touch, the citrus added a lighter element to such a heavy meal. The egg had an interesting taste, it did say “sweet egg” thus the reason for the flavoring. The green tea noodles made the dish more aesthetically pleasing, with the contrast in color, but didn’t make a significant contribution towards the taste of the dish.
The number 42 in the restaurant’s name was inspired by “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, in which 42 is famously the answer to life, the universe and everything.
Photos by Cat Tong