Jinya Ramen Bar
Opened: May 2023
Straight out of Southern California, Jinya arrives in trendy Uptown Phoenix with trendy branding and a concept that was trendy five years ago: the ramen-bar hybrid. After all that, is it cruel to suggest that Jinya just isn’t worth the hubbub? The “black” tonkotsu ramen ($17.80) is fine, but the meaty wood ear mushrooms, fork-tender chashu (braised pork belly) and squirt of lusty black garlic oil can’t save the bowl from the intrinsic mediocrity of its pork broth – I’ve had richer, more satisfying tonkotsu in at least a half dozen Valley ramen-ya. Similarly, the chicken ramen selections ($16.80-$18.80) are underwhelming, even the one with a few knuckles of karaage fried chicken heaped on the noodles – it left me pining for the superior, magically rich paitan-style chicken ramen at Origami in Ahwatukee. Jinya has a full bar, but not one put to good use. The beer list is banal and the cocktails – including the Jinya margarita ($12) – are cloying little sugar bombs. That can be remedied, of course… by a quick drive down the street to Clever Koi and its award-winning cocktail program. And better ramen.
Wild Card: Stuffed with more of that tender chashu, the Jinya bun ($5.50) on the small plates menu might be the best bite in the restaurant.
5120 N. Central Ave., 602-612-3796, jinyaramenbar.com