Aodake adds new, tasty option in DTLG

Liz Gremer, Reporter

Over the summer, Aodake opened its doors at 21 W. Calendar Ave., becoming one of two new ramen restaurants in DTLG. Offering a wide range of Asian fusion dishes, it has the potential to become a new option for students because of its affordable prices and tasty food.

Located alongside Thippi Thai, their bright red sign and logo drew me in. The large windows at the front of the restaurant was inviting and allowed a view of the equally inviting interior.

Between the cozy setting and semi-natural lighting, I felt welcomed by not only the staff, but the environment they presented. My fellow reviewer said, “The atmosphere is really cozy, and I could see myself going there with friends for a night out to a sit-down dinner, especially as the weather gets colder.”

After previously eating a large bowl of ramen at Forbidden Noodles, Isabel and I decided to split an order of gyoza and strawberry mochi. Within five minutes of placing our order, both dishes were delivered to us, which while impressive, made me wonder how they prepare their food with such speed.

The gyoza consisted of six pork and vegetable dumplings, paired with a side of Aodake’s ponzu sauce. The pork-veggie mix paired well together, with the pork acting as the focus of the inside of the dumpling. There was no noticeable spice to the dumplings, aside from the ponzu sauce, which made my dumpling somewhat soggy, leading me to not use it again after the first try. My favorite part of the entire dumpling was the outside layer, which was soft and complimented the pork and veggies. There were some noticeable burn to the edges of the dumplings, but this did not affect the overall taste.

For dessert, we ordered the strawberry mochi, a classic Japanese dish. As well as strawberry, the restaurant also offered green tea, red bean, mango, coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Overall, there were three pieces of mochi, cut into six, smaller pieces. This made it easier to share. While it was chewy, the cold ice cream complimented the stickiness of the outer layer. Also, the restaurants’ choice to pair it with chocolate sauce and whipped cream is something I have never seen an Asian restaurant do, and the additions added extra flavor.

After finishing the meal, I was promptly given the check, and saw that both dishes were under $11 total, before tipping. For the quality of the food, as well as the service, the price was quite reasonable.

Although it’s still very under-the-radar and I didn’t see many other diners, the causal environment that is appealing to both teenager and families, along with the flavorful, appropriately priced dishes leads me to give Aodake four out of five paws.