I’ve reviewed Ren’s Ramen (11043 Amherst, now with fully functional website) several times before so won’t go into excruciating detail this time, but it remains one of Wheaton’s best food purveyors, especially for lunch. Ramen just seems lunchy to me, especially on an inclement gray early afternoon. A big steaming bowl of ramen is just the thing, on those days. And Ren’s is here to provide that bowl — as a bonus, it is really good.
So just a couple of notes: Ren always has specials to augment the three primary ramens on the menu. This day they offered “Stamina ramen” featuring I think a fried egg and extra meat and some other stuff, which sounded good, although “stamina” is a word that makes me laugh for some reason. At least when applied to random foods. Instead I got the regular shoyu ramen with added pork belly cha shu, rich fatty slices of roast pork, so so good. And Ren’s always smells so inviting, wafting soy and miso and pork…oh my…
Ren also has rules. Every visit, it seems there are more rules. Many of them are now listed on a big sign (pictured above) just inside the front door. All the rules seem reasonable, especially given the size and layout of the place, and yet it is slightly off-putting to be confronted by all the rules immediately upon arrival. I guess it’s better than doing it Soup Nazi style and making you guess about the rules, and kicking you out when you break one. But it seems a little over the top to me. Of course, the most important rule is not on that list, although it is noted elsewhere: do not park in front of the establishments at the other end of the strip mall, or you WILL BE TOWED.
You will probably not be towed from the parking lot at Jewel of India (10151 New Hampshire). That parking lot is huge and never full and probably not policed at all. You may have to be towed from Jewel of India after you are done with their lunch buffet, because it is fantastic quality and quantity, the best lunch buffet I’ve had in a long time, and it is really hard to stop eating. The parking lot won’t get full, but I will, eventually. This visit they had a spicy chicken dish whose name I neglected to write down, but OMG it was so good it makes me write, like, like a pre-teen girl. Their goat curry is above average, and they have the usual array of appetizers and some interesting desserts (I am told by my friends who know more about Indian desserts than I do). Also very good service and upscale yet casual atmosphere. Their only failure is putting raisins in the biryani — Tiffin (1341 University Blvd. E, no longer functional website) continues to rule, raisin-free, on the crucial biryani front.
I’ve said it before and will now say it again: a place like Jewel of India would be an excellent addition to Wheaton, which lacks any Indian cuisine whatsoever. Maybe in the old Suporn Thai space? Or the Ferdinand’s space, which has been vacant for like OMG ten years now? O. M. G.