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.