Ramen: a college student’s staple food. It’s inexpensive, satisfying, and most importantly, easy to make.
The ramen burger: an expensive, overhyped trend that will hopefully disappear as quickly as it became viral.
Ramen enthusiast Keizo Shimamoto created the hamburger-ramen hybrid in New York in August. The burger immediately gained attention, with people lining up for up to three hours to have a taste.
Toro Burger introduced Southern California to its first ramen burger with its grand opening last month.
The gourmet burger joint, located in Santa Ana on the corner of Tustin Avenue and 4th Street, has since had to rename its hyped-up specialty a noodle burger for legal reasons.
The noodle burger, surprisingly filling for its size, consists of an Angus beef patty, a slab of barbeque pork belly, shaved green onions, baby mixed greens and “Toro sauce” sandwiched between two ramen buns.
The hamburger patty was dry and underseasoned, but was balanced with the fatty barbeque pork belly and the sauce. The pork belly added a unique texture to each bite and the spicy thousand island-tasting sauce added a needed acidity to the dish.
The buns, the burger’s signature ingredient, were also underseasoned. They tasted like uncooked ramen, unworthy of a $9 burger. They were softer than anticipated, but still left me missing the sponginess expected of hamburger buns.
Instead of mouthwateringly absorbing all the runaway flavors and juices from the burger, the ramen buns deteriorated with any sign of moisture, making it difficult and messy to eat.
The seasoned waffle fries that came with my $12 meal (choice of a hamburger, fries, sweet pickle and fountain drink or Thai tea) were my favorite part.
Each one was perfectly crispy yet soft on the inside, with a delicious garlic and pepper seasoning, partially making up for the blandness of the rest of the dish.
The noodle burger was an experience, but one I will not choose to have again.
I’ll be coming back to Toro Burger, but this time to try one of its more classic burgers on a fluffy sweet roll.