Listen carefully and you may hear some slurping sounds in Orlando’s Thornton Park neighborhood.
Jinya Ramen Bar is celebrating its grand opening Aug. 8 at 8 Summerlin Ave.. The restaurant has transformed the former spot of Verde Cantina into a sleek, industrial space.
As the name suggests, ramen is the focal point of the menu — but small plates add some extra flavor to the lineup.
The Jinya Bun ($4 for one) fills a spongy bao bun with tender pork chashu (a buttery braised pork belly), thinly sliced cucumber and greens drizzled with kewpie mayonnaise (a condiment that uses vinegar and egg yolks). This was probably my favorite bite at a recent media preview. It appears to be a small bite, but it’s loaded with rich flavors and textures.
Jinya forgoes tortillas with its mini tacos for crispy wontons. The bite-sized tacos ($5.95) can be filled with spicy tuna; pork chashu and kimchi; or salmon poke. The spicy tuna version disappointed with the lack of heat, but I enjoyed the wonton shell.
A daily happy hour from 3-5 p.m. include a few of those small plates: $3 Jinya Buns, $4 caramelized cauliflower, $3 five pieces of crispy chicken; $3 salmon poke, and pork chashu and kimchi mini tacos. Drink-wise, happy hour includes $4 Sapporo and select draft beer, and $5 cold sake.
Onto the ramen. Jinya ladles up five signature bowls of each pork and chicken broths — in addition to two meat-free dishes, including a vegan option.
I found the spice missing in my spicy tuna mini taco in my bowl of spicy chicken ramen. Braised chicken, spinach, spicy bean sprouts, and green onion fleshed out the bowl of chicken broth.
The Jinya Tonkotsu Black ($12.95) is a richer option with a stick-to-your-lips pork broth topped with braised pork, kikurage mushrooms, diced green onion, nori, a gooey well-seasoned egg, garlic chips and fried onion. I want to try this broth again — it was not quite as rich and flavorful as I expected from a tonkotsu ramen.
A Jinya meal can be finished with by mochi ice cream; ice pops named BlockPops; or panna cotta. Although it was surpricing to find on Jinya’s menu, the panna cotta was delicious: cool, sweet and creamy with caramel cream sauce, graham cracker and vanilla ice cream over top.
Want to learn more about Jinya? Visit Jinya-RamenBar.com. The restaurant is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.