Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kobe Japanese Restaurant's new chef and owner, Mike Fukumitsu (right) offers new dishes, including scratch-made ramens.
Restaurant review: New Kobe chef makes flavor-packed ramen

Dining out » New chef/owner Mike Fukumitsu is creating a significantly better name for Kobe.

By Heather L. King

Special to The Tribune

First Published Jan 07 2014 11:09 am • Last Updated Jan 07 2014 09:31 pm

Kobe Japanese Restaurant has been around for some time in a nondescript shopping mall on Wasatch Boulevard.

But new chef and owner Mike Fukumitsu is creating a significantly better name for Kobe with his fresh enthusiasm and phenomenal ramen.

At a glance


Kobe Japanese Restaurant

Food » HHH

Mood » HH

Service » HH

Noise » bb

The new and improved Kobe Japanese Restaurant on Wasatch Boulevard serves an impressive menu of scratch-made ramens along with an ever-changing list of fresh fish creations.

Location » 3947 Wasatch Blvd., Salt Lake City; 801-277-2928

Online » www.facebook.com/KobeJapaneseRestaurant

Hours » Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Children’s menu » Yes

Prices » $$

Liquor » Beer and wine, includes sake

Corkage » $8

Reservations » Yes

Takeout » Yes

Wheelchair access » Yes

Outdoor dining » No

On-site parking » Yes

Credit cards » All major

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Fukumitsu sharpened his skills as a sushi chef at Kyoto at a time when many Utahns were just learning what sashimi meant. Years later he spent a year in Atsugi, Japan, where he learned the art of scratch-made ramen. Since his return to Utah, he’s transformed Kobe into an unparalleled ramen destination.

Banish the thought of the Top Ramen that sustained you in college for just pennies. Real Japanese ramen starts with toothsome noodles and a time-intensive, flavor-packed meat broth. To that, add dried seaweed (nori), green onions, bean sprouts, narutomaki, hard-boiled eggs and, most important, charshu (roasted pork) or other protein.

You’ll find five kinds of ramen in regular and large sizes at Kobe: shoyu (regular $8.95), tonkotsu (regular $8.50, large $10.95), miso, kimchi and the latest addition, mabo-men (regular $10.25). Each offers a distinct attraction such as spicy kimchi and salty miso, but my favorites are the creamy pork tonkotsu with unctuous charshu as well as the mabo-men with sweet ground pork ankake topped with baby bok choy and offering a spicy kick.

Although the mabo-men ramen doesn’t come with the delightful charshu, you can order it on the side until they run out — which they will. I also added Kobe’s house-infused black garlic oil (50 cents) to my tonkotsu ramen for additional earthy depth.

While ramen is the star at Kobe, don’t ignore the fresh fish options. Mussel shooters (two for $5.95) are a must-have starter for looks and taste. Chopped green-lipped mussels are diced and marinated, topped with topiko and served with a raw quail egg and dot of sriracha on the half-shell. Eaten correctly, the egg yolk bathes the mussels in creamy fattiness while the salty mussels recall their oceanic heritage.

As with any good sushi restaurant, have a discussion with the sushi chef behind the bar. They’ll guide you to what is fresh and also suggest specials they might be preparing with limited fish on-hand. One such example was the sake-steamed clams appetizer ($9.95) to pair with our hot sake (small $6.95, large $10.95). A karei fish ($7.50) is filleted and then deep fried and presented whole at the table along with the crisp fillets.

A long list of maki sushi rolls are available for those seeking the typical offerings. A simple kappa cucumber roll ($4.25) — with a lot more wasabi than we were expecting — and the summer breeze ($12.75) with fresh salmon, lemon slices and tobiko proved that Kobe is a full-scale Japanese restaurant with offerings for everyone.

Orders of beautifully presented sashimi (small $23.95) are served on a lacquered wooden boat — a holdover from the previous owner. Luscious fatty tuna, delicate Boston diver scallops and smooth octopus are just a small sampling of what might be found on Kobe’s menu each day.

story continues below
story continues below

The only non-seafood dish I tried was the chicken yakisoba ($8.95) — a poor representation of the dish heavily coated in a too-sweet sauce.

To finish on a sweet note, try the fried ice cream, an unexpected treat with crunchy tempura crumbles topped with a chocolate sauce drizzle.

If you’re in a hurry, the best time to go to Kobe is at lunch or late in the evening as wait times are often 20 minutes or more in the early evenings for one of the 12 tables. Seating at the bar is typically available.

Kobe is still a work in progress as the cold interior décor remains and customers can still attempt the super-spicy Hellfire Challenge, which was featured on "Man vs. Food."

No matter. The ramen and improved quality of the other menu items are a good sign that Kobe’s aesthetics will eventually rise to the level of the food.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.