Serving up authentic bowls of ramen and soba suspended in pools of earthy shoyu, miso and ginger shiso dashi broth, Cyrus Chef Douglas Keane’s new noodle bar at Shimo Modern Steak is a cheap date with all the trimmings of a luxury dinner.
Rather than opening a fourth restaurant to sate his noodle passion (he has ownership stakes in Cyrus, HBG and Shimo), Keane has instead, introduced the steaming earthenware pots on Japanese lacquered trays to his recently-opened steakhouse.
Served only in the bar, it’s a generous DIY meal that starts at a thrifty $7.95 for a bowl of noodles and broth with bean sprouts, onion and nori. Add-ins range from humble roasted garlic and pickled ramps (.75 to $2) to wild mushrooms, a slow-cooked egg, and tofu ($2.50 to $3); pork belly, chicken, shrimp and prime rib ($4-$4.75) all the way up to waygu for $20 per ounce.
Best bets: Ramen miso with wild mushrooms, egg, and pork belly (for heartier fare) or a lighter ginger dashi with tofu, pickled ramps and watercress. Complex fermented, earthy, salty, vegetative and sea flavors can be unusual to American palates more used to more sweet and fruity dishes, but it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone on this one.
Bonus: A complimentary snack of crispy, spicy, salty fried wonton strips and wasabi aioli is gourmet crack that’ll have you jonesing for another fix. Regular menu items from Shiso are also available like the beef-essence biscuits and beef tartare that Mr. Jason refers to as “land sushi”. Plus, a full bar with top tipplers featuring yuzu and ginger, not to mention artisan sakes that will delight fans and sway non-believers.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but my family and friends said, ‘No more restaurants’,” Keane tells BiteClub.
241 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, 433.6000Find more restaurants tagged: Japanese | noodles | Shimo