Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu

Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu is a Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, Washington. They serve everything from ramen to sushi. This place is also home to the 3-liter ramen challenge! I wasn't doing the challenge, but would a professional eater take it down?

Finding street parking could have been quite the adventure here, yet I got lucky and found a spot. Only afterward did I see you could park at the nearby Marriott parking garage. Oops.

The inside just screams "awesome Japanese vibe" to me. Awesome sushi bar, lots of seats, fresh food, etc. I basically wanted the spiciest sushi this place could give me.

Irene, my server, was very helpful to narrow my choices down. I got the Kobe Volcano roll ($10.95). Jalapenos go inside a spicy California roll, topped with baked spicy salmon and a special sauce. It's a baked roll, so it may be a bit on the warm side when eating it.

Kobe Volcano Roll
(Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu)

I savored each fresh, high-quality ingredient, from the rice to the special sauce. Perfect rice. The baked spicy salmon wanted to melt in my mouth. Damn, maybe I should just stay at the Marriott next time I'm in Bellevue. Kobe is literally a couple doors away from the hotel. Assuming I ever get a fat wallet, I could just sit here and eat sushi all day long.

Before that, I enjoyed a small bowl of miso soup and a salad. Very refreshing and delicious!

While I noshed on my food, professional eater Randy Santel took down Kobe's ramen challenge, a 3-liter bowl of noodles, various traditional ramen veggies, and broth (he went with the tonkatsu broth). Finish it in 30 minutes and you'll get the $20 meal free, your picture on the wall (and their business Facebook page), and a $100 gift certificate.

No problem for Randy; he finished it in less than 17 minutes, shattering the previous record. That's including the broth. Incredible. Randy never had ramen before, yet raved how excellent the food was. He's also a very nice guy, and it would be cool to meet up with him again in the future!

Check out Randy's awesome website, and he's very active on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). He puts all his challenge videos on YouTube!

The wall promoting their Ramen Challenge
Only about three winners prior to Randy's attempt!

Three-Liter Ramen Challenge
(Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu)
Seriously, it's a HUGE bowl
Randy Santel about to take down the ramen!
"Atlas" wins in 16:43!
He won a $100 gift certificate (which he later donated to a local charity)

The best part was seeing the owner in public, greeting and thanking all his customers. That's an added touch that you won't see at every brick-and-mortar restaurant.

This place is quite a find. Maybe I'll have some ramen the next time I come here. But I'll probably spare my stomach and pass on attempting three liters' worth of it.

I've only had one menu item out of the dozens offered. I'm confident this already-stellar rating will increase with future visits. 8.5/10

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