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Orlando Chain Brings Big-Time Ramen to SJTC

Time to pick up sticks

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Kinky strands of ramen clutched in chopsticks are all the rage on Instagram. With the arrival of Domu, the Orlando-based ramen mecca, Jax just got a lot more IG-worthy.

Domu is a rare happy hour haven in St. Johns Town Center–with its fun and fabulous cocktails, its bar and snack situation are a guaranteed success. Whiskey-lovers will delight in the Smoked Old-Fashioned ($12); fans of tall glasses should check out the (imho, slightly too) sweet Lychee martini with lychee-popping boba ($8).

First we perused the starters. The Krabby Patty ($8), a soft-shell crab sammy, is so fun you’ll want to wave your claws in the air. Yuzo spicy mayo, microgreens and radish adds a clean bite to the crispy fried critter. I like being able to see 100 percent of the ingredients; this whole mini-crab tucked in a hot-dog bun complies. For a quick bite, I recommend the Chashu Don ($11)–rice, tender chatsu ends (marinated pork belly), and beech mushrooms. There’s hype and there’s drop-your-fork good. The extra crispy Domu wings in kimchi butter are hype (six for $9). I don’t mean to go full Korean grandma here, but when you tell me I’m getting kimchi, *ahem,* I better be able to taste kimchi. At least the gluten-free bones were nice and crunchy.

When it comes time for the main show, Domu starts your meal in tidy style. Your waiter places a little bamboo holder with tiny white cylinders before you–don’t eat them. Watch the cylinders dance and grow when hit with a stream of steamy water. Unfold and clean your hands–it’s kinda like being on a transatlantic flight without leaving town.

On the ramen front, we signed up for the Black Tonkatsu ($13) and the curry ($13). The bowl of black tonkatsu is traditional, with a milky pork-bone broth accompanied by large pieces of chatsu (pork). I was most excited about the black garlic in this dish. Sadly, I was sorely let down. Black garlic is not a subtle flavor; the fermented head (black in color) gives your taste buds lots to mull over. This ramen hadn’t even a hint of black garlic, nor regular garlic, for that matter.

The pièce de résistance was the Curry Ramen. It includes fried chicken and can be ordered mild, medium or hot. This New World combo was a delight. Ordered medium, the dish had a spicy, rich broth. The chicken was more pan-fried than deep-fried, which was a bit of a surprise after the wings. That broth, though, righted all wrongs. We literally wanted to drink it.

End the meal with some strange (Cookie Monster) or fun (Vietnamese Coffee) ice cream cones.

My final note: Domu Jax is a great place to meet friends after work or take a first date. You deserve someone who can wield chopsticks!

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If you have a recommendation, shoot me an email at biteclub@folioweekly.com.

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