Yakitori Glad morphs into a quirky ramen bar at lunch

Menya Yoneyama has four ramen and two donburi bowls and they're not $3.90
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When it comes to quirk and charm, Yakitori Glad gives Carp Dori a run for its money in our tiny yakitori scene. Glad's mascot is a shaka-throwing rooster in an aloha shirt, every item on the menu is $3.90 and each order comes with two sticks. Nothing about it is standard and that's why I kinda love it. For the longest time, Glad was my favorite shop to grab some skewers and a huge frosty mug of beer while staying within a reasonable budget. 

Thomas eating a Yakitori Glad
When Yakitori Glad opened in 2012 and Frolic editor Mari Taketa held an open call dinner and I attended. — Photo by Mari Taketa

A few weeks ago, I noticed the Kapahulu shop was open around noon and I thought it was a little odd — usually yakitori restaurants strictly serve dinner. A note from an intrepid Frolic reader tipped me off about the new lunch menu of one noodle bowl and two donburi. Fueled by curiosity, because when was the last time we had a new ramen shop open up? I rounded up a crew to check it out. 

Menu at Menya Yoneyama

We discovered that Menya Yoneyama's menu had grown to four ramen bowls, kakuni shoyu-simmered pork belly and chicken chashu bao bunz. The menu spells bunz with a "z" and for preservation of quirk, it stays. To order, use the paper froms and pens provided at the table. 

The base ramen bowl has a shoyu-flavored chicken broth for a very reasonable $9.70. It comes with two pieces of pork belly kakuni, a chicken thigh chashu, bamboo shoots, green onion and a nori sheet. My first impression is that this is actually quite generous for a sub-$10 ramen with plenty of meat. For $1.50 more, I added a gingery ajitama egg, cooked perfectly with a creamy golden yolk. Even with upgrade, this might be one of the cheapest ramen bowls in town. An extra piece of chicken chashu and kaedama (additional noodles) are $1.50 each. 

The quirk factor builds.

Tori shoyu ramen
Chicken shoyu ramen with optional ajitama egg, $11.20. 

One friend took a chance on the hot and sour ramen for $11.99 and despite his overcooked noodles, he really enjoyed it. It has a distinct rayu (chili oil) taste and arrives at the table looking a bit like a spicy vat of mapo tofu. Don't be alarmed about the vivid red hue, it's actually pretty tame on the spice but the soup's sourness gives it a lot of character. It's a solid bowl of noodles and has the potential to become the most popular option of the four. 

hot and sour ramen at menya yoneyama
The hot and sour ramen, $11.99, comes with tofu and ground pork in a mildly spicy and sour broth. 

The middle ground between the original and the hot and sour ramen would be the spicy ramen, which is heavily flavored with rayu. I've definitely had spicier broths and an option to choose a spiciness level would be nice, but this was a decent bowl for $9.99. Adding a $1.50 ajitama egg would not be an extravagent splurge but it might make the difference in how you feel when you're down to your last few bites. 

Spicy ramen
The very red spicy ramen is actually pretty mild in spice, so you can add shichimi to add more spicy depth. 

Becuase the add-ons were so reasonable, we each got a different one to try. There are two sizes of donburi rice bowls: A mini kakuni don for $3 has two small slices of pork belly while the regular size, for $1.50 more, has an extra kakuni slice. If I were ordering again, a regular sized donburi would be an excellent mate to a bowl of any ramen. 

pork belly kakuni don
Regular pork kakuni don, $4.50. A mini with less rice and kakuni is $3. 
chicken chashu don
Regular chicken chashu don, $4.50. 

I haven't forgotten the bunz. They seem to promise so much fun but ultimately left me feeling pretty sad. Either due to my negligence for not devouring them right away, or more likely because they might have been blitzed in the microwave, my bunz were about as pillowy and moist as particle board. The blob of Kewpie mayo added a nice creaminess but it could not save it texturally. Though tasty, the temperamental bunz are just not worth spending another $3.50 to chance it. I'd rather fork over an extra dollar to get a kakuni donburi with more meat and lovely rice. 

pork kakuni bunz
The $3.50 pork kakuni bunz. It's gonna be a "no" for me dawg. 

Not counting Ono Seafood, lunch is fairly quiet on this block of Kapahulu. Our table was one of two in the entire restaurant. I'm hoping that more business will help Menya Yoneyama work out its minor kinks. Oddly enough, this is the second business to moonlight during the day in the same space. Two doors down, Kapaholo Musubi is the daytime identity of Aros Karaoke Lounge with its own quirky menu of musubi and bento.

Menya Yoneyama
Inside Yakitori Glad
766 Kapahulu Ave.
Wed - Sun 11 a.m. 2 p.m.