Asian, BiteClub, Restaurants

Gaijin, Part 2

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I mentioned the new ramen pop-up, Ramen Gaijin, recently but hadn’t actually experienced it first-hand yet. However..last Monday, I got access to the kitchen, where Chefs Moishe Hahn-Schuman and Matthew Williams were prepping for that evening’s sold-out dinner.

It’s a whirlwind, with trays of buckwheat noodles, pork belly and miso in the hours leading up to the first seating at 5:30p.m. Suffice to say, I was totally wowed at the results. We absolutely loved the donburi ($11, chicken thigh with a 6-minute egg, burnt kale, salmon roe), heirloom tomato salad with creamy tofu and shiso ($9) that was so of the moment in this late August heat, and both the vegetarian and Shoyu ramens.

I won’t claim to be any kind of ramen expert, but nearby slurpers seemed totally sold. With ramen, it’s all about the broth, and chefs often guard their recipes closely. What I can say is the Shoyu ramen is a heartier and meatier (dashi as the base, layered with chicken broth, ham hocks and a dose of pork belly fat) topped with a host of Japanese ingredients like toasted rye noodles, pork belly, bambo, leeks, woodear mushrooms and wakame. Miso ramen  is a lighter, brighter, tangier flavor.

Leave room for dessert, though. Though they change up weekly, we were fairly swooning over a blackberry sorbet with yuzu curd, coconut and sesame granola and blackberries.

 The next popup is Sept. 8 at Woodfour.

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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