The palpable loveliness at the core of Minneapolis’s grandfather of all ramen shops is traceable to its proprietors’ gigantic hearts seeping into their work. Otherwise, surely such patience, rigor, and focus would have worn thin over the years, leaving Zen Box’s multi-day cauldrons of heritage pork bone broth short of its reliable perfection? Or perhaps the menu’s MaPo Tofu Mazemen ramen would be lacking for its dearth of broth? But no. This, too, shines brightly, as if propelled by some inner might straight into the marrow of all who visit Zen Box’s tiny stronghold. We only hope this precious, methodical work—especially those Saturday specials—continues to prevail against all flashy newbie pretenders.
Readers’ Choice: Ramen Kazama