The relationship between ramen and college students is either the butt of a joke about college students living on the cheap, or a very serious need to eat without spending much money. It’s the pinnacle of cheap, crappy food that you can make in your microwave, dump a bunch of Sriracha in and chow down on at odd hours of the night.
Mi & Yu is a hip fusion ramen joint in Federal Hill, serving up the drunken bar scene with various styles of ramen, while branding one of the cutest business names ever seen. The most appealing part of Mi & Yu is the customization options. Customers choose from an array of protein like tofu, duck or pork belly, pick between a couple of broth options like a spicy kimchi broth or a more traditional miso broth, and finally pick between a few kinds of noodles like your typical ramen noodles or thicker pho noodles.
It’s a bit reminiscent of the efforts taken on by similar establishments like Daikaya in D.C. or the many shops in New York, and the price certainly matches. It can cost upwards of $15 for a meal, a staggering price for what seems like such a simple dish, and Mi & Yu doesn’t always deliver.
The courteous and amazing staff will help you navigate the menu, which also includes the option of getting a heaping bao, a sandwich made with steamed buns. I settled on something simple: pork belly, ramen noodles and miso broth. The pork belly was amazingly well seasoned and delicious, and the noodles were pretty good as well, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the broth was overly salty. It was still good, but at the high price I was incredibly disappointed.
Add to this the fact that on most nights, seating can be pretty difficult. It’s a small joint, and people enjoy waiting around a bit even after finishing their meals. I ended up hovering over a counter while standing up, slurping down my salty broth.
All this said I’ve still got to admit, Mi & Yu has great reviews anywhere you look. I want to chalk it up to poor choice in broth, because everything else was great. Every bowl comes packed with veggies and an egg, all soaking up what could be amazing flavors if it weren’t so darn salty.
There are few ramen joints in Baltimore, and Mi & Yu might be worth going to if you are in dire need of fancy ramen, but can’t make the trek to D.C. Still, the overly salty broth was impossible for me to fully enjoy. It was good, not great, and definitely not worth the price. Only go if you’re desperate for ramen, but me and you deserve better.