Jinya Ramen Bar — Japanese Chain Ramen in Chandler

Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
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Skillet Doux
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Joined: 9 years ago

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Man, it seems like we're in the middle of another big wave of ramen openings. I've barely had a moment to pour one out for HN;CS, and already the list of places to try is 4-5 places deep. Haven't yet made it to Daruma, and I need to take another run at Kagawa, Origami and Nanaya on a non-takeout basis. But with an easy outdoor patio, Jinya was first I got to and... this is pretty darn good.

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Jinya Tonkotsu Black
pork broth, pork chashu, kikurage, green onion, nori, seasoned egg, garlic chips, garlic oil, fried onion, spicy sauce, thin noodles

I mean, it's chain ramen, but it's Japanese chain ramen, which means it's a little clinical but also awfully darn good, particularly by Phoenix standards. This is, far as I can tell without doing actual research (hey, I'm retired), a North American spinoff of the original Tokyo-based chain, which splits 40ish locations between the U.S. and Canada. IIRC, Jinya made some waves in L.A. when it hit the coast, but that was many moons ago before ramen went all Instagram breakout American mainstream.

Suffice it to say, no, this is not the level of care you expect from top notch West Coast ramen these days, but six years ago I would have completely lost my mind to have this in Phoenix and I'm pretty happy with it right now.

This broth is lush. Nice and creamy, great body but not absurdly heavy. Very clean for tonkotsu — the funk factor is looow. Love the garlicky lift, both from black garlic oil and some fried chips. Slurpy chashu, decent acoutrement and th— what? What's that? Is the egg any good?

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I dunno. You tell me. Is that egg any good? ;-)

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Jinya Chicken Ramen
chicken broth, chicken chashu, kikurage, green onion, fried onion, thin noodles

Speaking of eggs, it isn't just pork. They do a tori paitan as well, and man, I dunno, I might like this one just as much. Normally you give me a slice of chicken breast on my soup and I'm grabbing a pack of matches and looking for the nearest gas line. But damned if this wasn't lovely and tender and juicy, and this is a great broth. Again, really lush and rich without getting heavy. I find myself wanting to add some more veg to this bowl, and might try it next time. But there's really not much to improve upon, here.

Regrettably, I somehow managed to forget to get a shot of the spicy tonkotsu, but it's a strong entry as well. All of the chicken bowls are thin, as well as the signature pork, but once you step into the pork variants they switch to a thicker noodle that's a little kinky. It's a little soft for my tastes. I don't know if that's a Jinya thing or a North American thing or a Chandler thing. And it's not bad, they've got some nice bite, I just personally want a little more fight out of them. Anyway, another very good bowl with adjustable spice level (the hottest is significant but not anything that's going to slow down a food geek), staying completely away from sour or sweet and sticking with a bit of pure pepper fire to spike the pork. I added an egg. Then both of my kids abandoned theirs and I ended up with three eggs. Now I need a nap.

Extensive list of starters, too.

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Jinya Bun
steamed bun, slow-braised pork chashu, cucumber, baby mixed greens, Jinya bun sauce, mayonnaise

I know it's pretty, but I wouldn't hurry back for this one. It's fine, but it's a well-worn dish at this point and there's nothing special about this iteration. Except that they don't completely make a mess of it which, to be honest, I suppose is a little special.

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Takoyaki
battered octopus, egg tartare, mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, green onion, bonito flake

This I'd get again, no doubt. Pretty solid takoyaki, and I love that they serve it over a little bit of egg salad.

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Crispy Chicken
chicken thigh, garlic pepper, baby greens, ponzu sauce

It's karaage. Big chunks, fairly juicy. Worthwhile if you're pining, if not a reason to go.

I want to get a little deeper into the list, but I'm going to have a hard time getting away from those two signature bowls. I'll be curious to hear if anybody else manages.

Jinya Ramen Bar
www.jinyaramenbar.com
130 S. Arizona Avenue
Chandler, AZ 85225
480-758-5198
Dominic Armato
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chrislee
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ

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Dayum... I'm lucky they didn't have this place before I left. Looks like a big step up from a couple years ago!