Akira Ramen & Izakaya is a local chain with nine different locations spread out in Maryland and D.C. We visited the one in Columbia near the Columbia Mall, this was the third or fourth time we’d been there.
If you’re familiar with the mall area, they’re located on the western side in the same block as the TENm.flats apartments. Parking is limited outside of the restaurant but you can park across the street in the mall parking pretty easily.
Their menu is great, with photos of all their popular options so you know what you’re getting:
I know the images are small but you can go to the website to check out what they offer.
In the past, we’ve gotten the Hamachi Kamayaki appetizer and it was delicious. Well cooked, slightly crispy grilled yellowtail collar. Worth the wait if you have 20 minutes.
This time, we opted to get the Chashu bun, it comes in a pair.
It was OK – I think I prefer the meat to be crispier or with a bit more flavor. They also have a sweet orangish mayonnaise-based (I think it’s spicy mayo?) dressing that is very much like what you often find in salads at a sushi restaurant. I’m not a fan of that dressing so this one was not a good fit for me. It was done well though.
For ramen, I went with the Akira Volcano Ramen:
What you don’t see are some of the ingredients are submerged in the piping hot soup. Ramen is best known for the variety of toppings and we had sliced wood ear, corn, pork, nori, and 5 or 6 minute egg, green onions, those swirly imitation crab discs, etc.
The most important thing for me was that the soup was very hot, it’s what separates a decent place from a great place. You can always get the ingredients right but if the soup isn’t hot, it’s a disappointment to me.
My wife got the Tonkotsu Miso Ramen:
Again, chock full of stuff but just submerged in the extra soup (no complaints here!). And so hot she had to wait a little bit, but perfect for me!
I’m a big fan of the spot. The staff is always really nice and the food comes out very quickly.