As the snow fell on the Japanese garden outside of Sakura House, I tucked into my bowl of umani ramen. Slurping unapologetically, I savored the tender shreds of beef and the al dente zucchini, carrots, onions, and cabbage mixed with eggy noodles at the bottom of the bowl. But it was the silky and rich broth—the telltale sign of patience and expertise—that made this lunch so memorable.

This dish is the work of Japanese-born chef Jun Watanabe. He, along with his wife Kimiko, run Sakura House in the old Yoko’s Express location. The filling ramen (there are six variations) is the menu highlight, closely followed by the more delicately flavored udon bowls. Lighter than ramen, the udon choices feature wide, tender noodles, sprinkled with scallions, bathed in a flavorful translucent broth, and topped with your choice of chicken, beef, curry, tempura, or tenzaru (tempura and a dipping sauce).

Bento boxes, curries, rice bowls, salads, and apps round out the menu but for my lunch dollar, I’ll stick to the noodle bowls.

1255 19th St., Suite A, 303-292-2323

—Image via Shutterstock