I rarely take lunch breaks during the work week, but it just so happened that I scheduled a summer Friday off. Since T wasn’t working til the evening, we decided to grab lunch at the Porter Square Exchange shops a whim. Mind you, we typically dine at Tampopo on the weekends, a small eatery in Exchange that serves the best chicken karaage in town. Instead, we stepped out of the comfort zone today and sat ourselves down at Yume ga Arukara, a sister eatery to the infamous Yume wo Katare, which serves heaping bowls of ramen. (More on this at another time.)
We were greeted by Sarah at the register, who pleasantly explained the menu to us. (Sarah splits her time between both restaurants and serves as their marketing manager.) The centerpiece is the udon topped with beef (hence, niku udon), served either hot or cold, with options to add an onsen egg, extra noodles, and/or extra beef (for an extra charge, of course). The portions are “normal” sized, in comparison to Yume wo Katare, where supersized is the standard.
I opted for the cold udon with extra beef, in an attempt to chill out on the 95 degree, humid New England summer day. T ordered the hot udon with extra beef; one can never eat too much protein!
As I paid for our meal (cash only), he picked up our chopsticks and napkins, and poured a cup of water. I dispensed hot tea for myself. Gotta find the temperature balance!
Sarah then asked us to read the statement on the wall, which highlights the concept of Yume ga Arukara. Why do we do what we do? What would we tell the future generations of our purpose? What is our focus today while we eat?
We were then offered a seat at the bar, which we happily took. The eatery has seating for 16 or so, between the high top counter and a long table. We were able to watch Tomo and Sarah prepare and build our lunches, and shared our love of udon through the natural conversation that ensued.
A short while after we placed our order, Sarah and Tomo brought over our dishes. Sarah lovingly explained how to enjoy the cold udon – first with a photo snap, second with a squeeze of lemon. I followed her instructions to a tee. T‘s bowl came with a soup spoon, which I used to indulge in his broth a few times to compare our noodles. As we slurped away, we observed Tomo flattening out udon dough in preparation for the dinner rush.
We devoured our udon easily; this wasn’t particularly difficult when all of the flavors mesh together effortlessly. T asked how the broth for his noodles was prepared; Tomo explained that it is a 24-hour process that starts with the preparation of the dashi stock, inclusive of bonito flakes and mushrooms to create and strengthen the umami taste. All udon is prepared in house, made to order. It’s easy to see why this place is so busy on the regular.
We ended our meal with a follow of Yume ga Arukara’s Instagram handle (@yumegaarukara), and a promise to bring some friends by the next time we came. And believe me, there will be a next time!
UPDATE (14AUG18): Yume ga Arukara was just named one of the top ten restaurants in America. Congratulations!!
Yume ga Arukara
1815 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140