Noodle-obsessed diners will travel near and far to sniff out claims of the region’s best bowls. One such place on the receiving end of numerous laudatory remarks is Issho Ni
(34302 Euclid Ave., 440-306-8020) in Willoughby. The restaurant took the place of Shogun Japanese Steak House, which closed a few years back.
While the hibachi tables still get fired up in an adjacent room, the main attraction for noodle soup fans is the roster of deeply flavorful ramen bowls. After trying two separate bowls, I can say without reservation that this cherry little spot on the far-east side of town is serving up some of the best ramen in Northeast Ohio.
Choices include a classic pork tonkotsu ($13.51) prepared with various levels of spiciness, kuro ramen ($14.55) made black from the addition of squid ink and fermented garlic, Hokkaido-style yellow ramen ($12.47), soy-based shoyu ramen ($11.43) and the broth-less mazeman ramen ($14.55).
The tonkotsu arrives characteristically milky, with a rich, savory broth made from long-simmering pork bones. A base of springy noodles is garnished with two thick wheels of chashu, tender braised pork belly that is ringed with fat and seared before going into the bowl. Garnishes include a runny soft-cooked egg, fermented bamboo shoots, mushrooms and scallions. A “level 2” spiciness brings some real heat to the party. While lighter and clearer in color, the soy-based shoyu ramen broth is no less satisfying. The bowl includes the same add-ons as the tonkotsu.
Issho Ni also prepares excellent sushi in the form of sashimi, nigiri and rolls. The yellowtail starter ($13.51) is an electric pinwheel of delight, with buttery pieces of raw hamachi topped with jalapeno slices and bright ponzu sauce. A massive Bang Bang roll ($14.55) is a double-decker creation with crispy shrimp tempura in the middle and shrimp and crab salad up top.
Issho Ni does not serve alcohol, but it does serve amazing ramen and sushi in an appealing space with warm-hearted service.
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox