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A desire for spreading Japanese street foods to the US

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A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane... A desire for spreading Japane...
By Aya Ota

“DokoDemo”, a restaurant which develops and serves everyday casual dishes that are so familiar to Japanese people such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc., opened in NY, and is attracting a lot of attention.

“I would like to spread Japanese street foods throughout the US,”says Shin Takagi, the owner of the restaurant. Mr. Takagi has a unique background of working vividly as an investment banker in Tokyo and NY. While working in New York, his dream of launching a restaurant business in the US grew big, and he retired from the investment bank in 2013. Having zero experience in the food and beverage industry, he traveled all over Japan for 3 years after resigning from his previous job, studying various local street foods. Moreover, he even worked for free at some teppan-yaki restaurants to gain experience. He started to visit NY every month after the latter half of 2016, looking for the location for the restaurant, and he finally moved to the US in 2017. For the next 6 months, he did nothing but developing recipes day after day.

Then, in August of 2017, he finally opened his long-awaited first restaurant. “I chose this genre for nation-wide development in mind. “No one has yet tried to take on franchising restaurants of Japanese street foods such as yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc.,” said Mr. Takagi. After the opening, he had difficulty bringing in customers.

Although the popularity of Japanese foods is growing stronger, okonomiyaki and takoyaki are not yet well recognized. For 3 months after the opening, he was wondering around the neighborhood, and talked to people on the streets who appeared to be looking for a Japanese restaurant with a cell phone in hand. He would say, “I just opened a Japanese street foods restaurant. Would you come taste some for free?” He sincerely listened to the people who came to taste the foods. “How was it?” He asks, and often times, all he gets is a simple timid comment like, “It was good.” He then started to ask people who ordered more than one menu item,; “Which one did you like?”, and he gradually became able to get more detailed comments on their 2nd and 3rd favorite dishes. Sometimes, he even tasted customers’ leftover in the trash to find out what was wrong.

Only 6 different kinds of dishes are served; “Yakisoba/Stir-Fried Ramen ($8.95), “Ramen Rice (Stir-Fried Ramen & Rice) ($9.95)”, “Fried Rice ($8.95)”, “Japanese Pizza/Okonomi- Yaki ($8.95)”, “Takoyaki (10 balls for $8.95/6 balls for $6.45), and “Cabbage & Cucumber Salad ($7.95)”. The original recipes took him a long and hard 6 months to create prior to the opening, and were satisfactory to him; however, he has remained flexible, and kept making improvements and adjustments many times along the way. After some trial-and-error period, he came up with the “customization” idea. In general, Americans prefer sweeter taste, so he thought that the sauces for yakisoba, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki would be well suited to their tastes, but they didn’t always like them. According to Mr. Takagi, for yakisoba, for instance, adding an option of choosing the flavor besides regular sauce, the dish much better received. He also made everything except takoyaki and salad customizable for the ingredients and spiciness, etc. At this point, the word, “Okonomiyaki”, is not quite recognizable, so it is presented as “Japanese Pizza”. A notable item is the “Ramen Rice (Stir-Fried Ramen & Rice)”, which cannot be found almost anywhere else. You can easily get addicted to its spicy ginger flavor, and the unique combination of ramen and rice has gotten people’s attention, and the number of returning customers is growing.

“I’d like to open the second restaurant during the next year”, says Mr. Takagi. His ambition is to have 5 to 10 restaurants in Manhattan first as the base of the nationwide development, and then go to other states. In order to achieve that, he thinks that the operation has to become more efficient. Presently, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to serve after receiving orders. He has been going through many trial-anderror attempts to minimize the time to serve. He also aggressively gets into taking online orders for takeout, and deliveries.

The name, “DokoDemo”, implies his wish to make his restaurant’s street foods available everywhere in the US. I would like to look forward to the day I can see it everywhere in the US in the next few years.


日本のストリートフードを全米に広げたい

焼きそば、お好み焼き、たこ焼き…日本人にはおなじみの“ 粉もん” を専門に展開する店『DokoDemo』が登場し、注目されている。

 「日本のストリートフードを全米に広げたい」と語るのは同店オーナー、高木伸之輔氏。高木氏は、東京とニューヨークで、証券マンとして活躍したという異色のキャリアを持つ。ニューヨーク滞在中に「米国で飲食業を起業したい」という夢が膨らみ、2013 年に退社。飲食業界での経験が全くない高木氏は、退職後3 年間、日本全国を回り各地のストリートフードを研究した。さらに、いくつかの鉄板焼き店では、無給で働き経験を積んだ。2016 年後半からは、毎月ニューヨークに通い物件を探し、いよいよ2017 年に再渡米。その後半年間は、来る日も来る日もレシピ開発に没頭した。

そして2017年8月、待望の1号店を開店。「全米展開を考えて、このジャンルを選択した。日本のストリートフード、“ 粉もん” をチェーン店として手がけている人は誰もいなかった」と同氏。開店後、苦労したのは集客だ。日本食人気は伸びているとは言え、お好み焼きやたこ焼きの認知度は、まだ高いとは言えない。開店後3 カ月間、同氏は店の近隣を歩き回り、携帯を片手に日本食店を探しているような人に「日本のストリートフード店を開店したのだけど、無料でいいから食べに来てほしい」と直接声をかけた。そして、実際に食べてくれた顧客の声に真摯に耳を傾けた。「どうだった?」と聞いても、遠慮気味に「美味しかった」というフィードバックしかないことも多い。そこで、複数種類のメニューを注文したグループ顧客に「どれがよかった?」と聞くようにすると、2 番目・3 番目によかったメニューに対する具体的なコメントが得られるようになってきた。時には、ゴミ箱の残飯を食べ、何がよくなかったのか研究することもあった。

同店のメニューは6種類のみ、「焼きそば」($8.95)、「そばめし」($9.95)、「炒飯」($8.95)、「お好み焼き」($8.95)、「たこ焼き」(10 balls-$8.95/ 6 balls-$6.45)、「キャベツとキュウリのサラダ) 」($7.95)。開店前に半年の時間を費やし、自身が納得いくまで創り上げたレシピだったが、柔軟な姿勢で、幾度となく改良や調整を重ねている。試行錯誤の過程で生まれたのは“ カスタマイズ” というアイデア。

一般的に米国人は甘めの味付けを好むので、焼きそば・たこ焼き・お好み焼きに使われるソース味は誰もが好きだろう思われたがそうではなかった。焼きそばでは、ソース味以外にも醤油、柚、豚骨味のバリエーションを増やし、顧客が選べるようにした結果、好評を博しているという。たこ焼きとサラダ以外は、具材や辛さなどを選べるようにした。

 また「お好み焼き」という名称はまだ理解されにくいため、現時点では「Japanese Pizza」という名称を前面に打ち出している。特に注目は、他店ではほとんど見かけない「そばめし」だ。ピリッとしたショウガ味がやみつきになる味で、ラーメンとライスというユニークな組み合わせも興味を引き、リピーターも増えている。

 「来年中には2店舗目を開店したい」と語る高木氏。全米展開に向けて、まずはマンハッタンに5 〜10 店舗展開し、その後、他州へも拡大していきたいという野望がある。そのためには、オペレーションの効率化を図る必要があると考えている。注文を受けてから作るため、10 〜15 分程度の待ち時間が生じるが、極力短縮できるように試行錯誤を重ねている。ネット注文でのテイクアウトやデリバリーにも積極的に取り組んでいる。

 『DokoDemo』という店名には、いずれ全米の“ どこでも” 同店のストリートフードが食べられるようになってほしい…という想いが込められている。数年後には全米で見られる日を期待したい。



DokoDemo
89 E 4th St.
NY 10003
(917) 261-5228
https://www.dokodemonyc.com/
Mon.-Sat. 11:30am-10:30 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm-9:30 pm
#alljapannews #DokoDemo #NY #Japanese #yakisoba #takoyaki #ramen

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Ramen Nagi Steady advance in “ramen restaurant operation”, which started out with mere 7 seating space, and being open only one day a week

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By Elli Sekine

At last, “Nagi”, a ramen restaurant chain, which is growing very quickly in Japan and Asia, opened the first US location in Palo Alto in June. Since their name is very well-known in Japan, people started to wait in the line for over an hour immediately after its opening, filling up the street. Currently, there are 11 “Nagi”s in Japan alone, and 28 more in the rest of Asia. Nagi can be recognized as the management philosophy of the new era, which is an innovative management technique that “brings out the maximum profit from the minimum investment”.

Nagi has been raised to a very successful restaurant chain.

The founder, Tomoshi Ikuta, and his partner Sonoda, are both from the Fukuoka Prefecture.

They worked together in a wellknown ramen chain in Kokura when they were still in High school. Their success was not produced by a wellthought-out planning. Their actions taken out of necessity between chances and survivals happened to meet the needs of the time, and found its path to grow. Their ramen business was first started from the very bottom, and was running with mere 7-seating space, which was rented in a narrow bar in Shinjuku’s Golden Street, and they were only open once a week. Since there was no kitchen in the bar, the preparation was done in Mr. Ikuta’s small apartment. Despite all that, Ikuta’s keen sense in making ramen was already standing out. So, what is so innovative about their management style? First of all, it is their cutting-edge menu creation. They started out with tonkotsu base, but the final ingredient they settled on after going to ramen restaurants across the nation, trying, in search of the kind of ingredient they could bring to the narrow kitchen space, was “Niboshi” (small dried fish).

“Niboshi ramen”, which was not familiarized in Tokyo area at that time, was featured big in a magazine, and on top of it, the winning for the ramen contest ignited fire at the Shinjuku Golden Street location. The second of all, it is their magical skill to make themselves known through no advertisement. By participating in various festivals and events, they stands out with good taste, which creates a topic of conversation in the audience.

The third is how they manage the restaurant. In the Shibuya location, they ran it as a ramen restaurant in the day time, and as a ramen izakaya at night, and they even call themselves differently. It is so unique. Without realizing, their business advanced in high-speed. They eventually got an offer even from an overseas investor. The fourth reason is how quickly they developed overseas market. The first one was realized within 6 years, and since then, they managed to acquire a total of 28 overseas locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Philippines, and Singapore within 10 years. And, then, this year, they achieved to open the first development in US with their partner, a Taiwanese company. The fifth reason is their revolutionary way of working. Unlike the typical image of the industry, which is rather tough, they are creating the kind of easy working environment for their staff, in which “Enjoy while you work” is encouraged.

The Palo Alto location has a spacious interior with 52 seats. All overseas locations have only tonkotsu-base soup. All except their signature ramen called “Original King” (tonkotsu-base, $13.50) is $14.50. Three other most innovative menu items are “Black King” flavored with squid ink and black garlic as an effective accent, “Red King” flavored with red pepper miso, and “Green King” flavored with refreshing basil with parmesan cheese to accentuate. Each colorful menu item is unique, and can accommodate diversified diet styles. All noodles are made in-house by their noodle making artisans using the famous machine in Japan called “Yamato Noodle Machine”, which was acquired from Japan, and installed there to make various noodles to match each different flavored soup. In addition to those menu items, they provide a “wagamama sheet”, with which you can choose by check-marking the strength of soup, amount of oil, garlic, toppings, and even the hardness of the noodles to suit to your taste. As far as the menu goes, those combinations are something I never even thought of until I saw them.

For instance, squid ink, and basil flavor, each of which has a good balance in taste, are surprisingly delectable. Ramen nowadays is evolving toward many different directions including Italian and Mediterranean.

The ramen boom in the US has been lasting for the last 10 years, and the industry was thinking that it would reach the peak soon. However, the landing of this innovative ramen chain is making me think that there is more room to go further. Following the Palo Alto location, opening of the second location in LA, and also in NY is already in the works. The “Nagi” sensation is about to begin here in the US as well with their new managing technique and unique menu creation.


週一営業、7席から始まった「ラーメン店経営」快進撃

日本とアジアで急成長中のラーメンチェーン店、「Nagi」がついにこの7 月、米国進出第一号店をパラアルトにオープンした。日本の有名店とあって開店まもなく1時間以上の列が歩道を埋め尽くした。現在「凪」は、日本に11 店舗だが、アジア圏には28 店舗を展開している。Nagiは、新時代の経営哲学と言える、「必要最低限の出資から最大利益を生み出す」革新的な経営法だ。トレンドを追う消費者とSNS情報が繁栄店に押し上げた。

創業者である生田智志氏とパートナーの園田氏は同じ福岡県出身。高校時代小倉の有名ラーメンチェーン店で働いていた同期である。彼らの成功は、綿密な計画から生まれたものではない。チャンスとサバイブの間で必然的にとった行動が時代に適合し成長路線を見出していった。裸一貫から始まったラーメン業は、新宿ゴールデン街の狭い7席のバーを借りての経営だった。それも週一回のみ。キッチンが無いので、生田氏の狭いアパートの一室で仕込みをしていたという。しかしその頃から同氏のラーメンセンスは長けていた。

 なにが革新的なのか? その1は斬新なメニュー作り。基本は豚骨ベースから始まったが、彼らは狭いキッチンに持ち込める範囲の食材を探し全国のラーメン店を試食して歩いた結果出会ったのが「煮干し」だった。東京ではまだ聞きなれない「煮干しラーメン」が雑誌にクローズアップされたり、コンテストでの優勝もあり、新宿ゴールデン街店に火がついた。革新その2は宣伝をせず有名になる術。フェスやイベントに出店し、とにかく目立つ、美味しいで常に話題を作る。 
 革新その3は店作り。初独立店舗となった渋谷店では、昼間はラーメン屋、夜はラーメン居酒屋とし昼と夜で屋号も変わるユニークさ。それからの快進撃はあっという間。ついに海外投資家からも声がかかる。革新その4は海外進出の速さだ。第1号は6 年以内、他香港、上海、フィリピン、シンガポールの海外28 店舗を10年以内で遂げている。そして今年、台湾企業のパートナーと米国進出を果たした。革新その5は、働き方改革である。今までにありがちの筋肉質なイメージから「楽しみながら働こう」という無理のない職場環境作りを打ち出している。

 パラアルト店は全52 席の広々とした内装。海外店舗は豚骨ベースのみ。代表格の「Original King」( 豚骨ベース$13.50)以外は全て$14.50。4つの斬新メニューは、ブラックガーリックが効いたイカスミ味の「Black King」と赤辛味噌の「Red King」、そしてバジル味が爽やかでパルメザンチーズでアクセントを付けた「Green King」。色とりどりのメニューはそれぞれに特徴があり、多様化するダイエットにもフィットする。麺は全て自家製麺。日本で有名な「大和製麺機」を導入し、職人たちがスープにあった麺を作り出す。メニューに加え“ わがまま表” には、スープの濃さ、オイルの量、ガーリックやトッピング麺の硬さまでチェック項目があり、自分好みの一杯が注文できる。このメニューを見る限り、今まで想像がつかなかった組み合わせなのだが、例えばイカスミやバジルもそれぞれに味のバランスが取れてて驚くほど「アリ」である。ラーメンは今やイタリアン風にも地中海風にも進化している。

 米国のラーメンブームはこの10 年続いており、業界ではそろそろ頭打ちと想像していたが、この革新的なラーメンチェーン店の上陸で、まだまだ伸び代がある事を思い知らされる。パラアルト店に続きすでに2号店, LA, NY のオープンも決まっている。米国でもすでに新しい経営術とユニークなメニューで「凪」旋風が巻き起ころうとしている。



Ramen Nagi
541 Bryant St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
http://ramennagiusa.com/
Open everyday
11:00am-3:00pm
5:30pm-9:30pm
#alljapannews #ramen #RamenNagi #CA

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Ramen Saryo Hachi Quality-first ramen, as if it were a Kappo dish, Ramen Saryo Hachi is enjoyed in a tea salon room-like place

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By Elli Sekine

In a corner of a shopping center in the suburbs of San Francisco, there is a café decorated with flowers and plants, looking like a café on a street of a French town. Comforting Ghibli movie tunes are played inside the restaurant. Believe it or not, it is a ramen restaurant. Unlike the preconceived masculine image, there are things you usually wouldn’t expect to see in a ramen restaurant such as flower arrangements, high-quality green tea and cups from Kyoto, cans of Mariage Frères tea, hand-made macarons, etc. The staff members are all women. “Ramen Saryo Hachi”, where Kyoto style ramen with particularly-selected ingredients is served in a “tea ceremony room” style, was opened at the end of last year.

The owner/chef, Yuko Nammo, has been living in the US for the past 20 years. This is the first restaurant she runs; however, her career as a cook is very long. She has been building her career while researching and studying in the Bay Area, working for the first-class Kaiseki cuisine restaurants.

In the process, the current head chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant, and the former head chef of “Kagetsu” became her partner, and now is involved in this business as the director. “Kyoto style ramen” to her, is chicken stock base and light taste, in which the core tastes of the ingredients are well presented. She wanted to replicate the old-fashioned simple ramen, the whole soup of which can be drunk up. They don’t make the taste strong, nor add a whole bunch of toppings just to suit the preferences of Americans. “I would like the customers just to taste the chicken stock base soup prepared with the utmost care, “says Nammo-san.

There are 3 items in the menu; Shoyu OnTama TORI-ffle Ramen, Tori Paitan Pork Chashu Ramen, and Vegetarian Ramen. Egg toppings such as OnTama or AjiTama, and Shinachiku (bamboo shoots), and small amounts of vegetables are added to the soup. I had the signature dish first, which is the Shoyu OnTama TORI-ffle Ramen. The broth tasted not complex, but simple, yet deep. It is not rich and oily as it usually is, and can be drunk up as a tasty soup, It does not feel too heavy even if you finish the whole thing, and feels as though it gets absorbed nicely into your body. Chicken Charshu, which is the breast meat cooked by the sous vide method, is juicy and tender. Everything compliments each other well, as well as the thin noodles. OnTama is cooked so lightly boiled that you can see through the yolk, so you could also mix it together with the soup to eat together, if so preferred. The number of menu items is few, but they don’t dare make it look complicated, or explain it in detail. ”I don’t think it is necessary to explain things that are already delicious. What I care about the most is not to miss the peak of ingredients to be cooked,” says she, who approaches ramen like a topnotch
chef with a strong will.

To Nammo, the selecting of ingredients comes first. They use the same grade ingredients as any high-class restaurant. Chicken, the main ingredient, is free-range chicken raised sustainably in the Petaluma region, and organic chicken of a different brand, which are preordered. The eggs are free-range chicken eggs, and the vegetables are mostly organic. Some of the food cost is as high as 50%.

Blood is cleaned off of torigara (chicken bones and other parts) for making clear and rich Paitan soups, and frozen on the same day of delivery. Nammo-san explains the reason for freezing while still fresh as follows: “We do it to make it possible to avoid any unwanted smell, and bring out the maximum umami.” After defrosting, it is grilled with onions and other vegetables, and simmer-cooked well for 3 to 4 hours. The best umami of the ingredients cannot be brought out if cooked for too little time, or too long, so you need to judge the best timing as you cook by constantly checking the condition. Her philosophy about cooking –“whether you can bring the best of umami, or kill it, depends on cooking temperature adjustment and length of cooking time,”– is close to that of the level of Kaiseki-style cuisine.

Other menu items, such as Karaage, and Sweet Shishito, are delicate and presented beautifully. Their “tea ceremony room”-like particularity is also reflected in their serving dishes.

Their drink menu has a unique lineup, considering good pairings with ramen. Examples are craft Sansho beer, and various Kyoto beers, which are rarely seen anywhere else. They also carry a high-class lineup of drinks such as Napa’s “Kistler” brand wines for wine connoisseurs. As for soft drinks, you can order Sencha and Gyokuro of Kyoto Ippodo, and ceremonially prepared matcha served in Uji Koyamaen’s cup. It is nice that they have a rich variety of desserts such as matcha desserts and house-made macarons thanks to having a pastry chef at all times.

Why ramen? I asked Nammo-san the reason for choosing ramen over Kaiseki, even though she possesses the technique of Kaiseki cuisine. She said that not only the fact that the establishment she succeeded was a ramen restaurant, but also the fact that she loves ramen, and wanted to pursue her ideology. She says, “The basic idea—bringing out the maximum umami of ingredients—can be applied to either Kaiseki or ramen. If you make ramen with great care, a bowl of ramen can be a healthy gourmet food.” After knowing how much care is put into the cooking, the price for a bowl, $14, seems very reasonable. “Ramen Saryo” is a rare restaurant in the Bay Area, where you can taste high-end values reasonably.


まるで割烹。品質本位の茶寮で味わうラーメン

サンフランシスコ郊外にあるショッピング施設構内の一角に、まるでフランスの路地にあるような花と緑が飾られた小さなカフェがある。店内からは心地よいジブリ音楽が流れている。なんと、ここはラーメン店。今までの男性的なイメージとは違い、生け花や京都の銘茶と茶器、マリアージュ紅茶の缶や手作りマカロンなど、ラーメン店らしからぬものがある。従業員は全員女性。食材にこだわった京風なラーメンを「茶寮」スタイルで提供する、「Ramen Saryo Hachi」が去年の暮れにオープンした。

 オーナーシェフ、南茂祐子氏は在米生活20 年。同店が初めての経営となるが、料理人としての経歴は長い。ベイエリアで一流の会席料理店に勤めながら研究と実績を重ねて来た。その過程でパートナーとなった元「桂月」で現在サンフランシスコのミシュラン星レストランの料理長が今回ディレクターとして関与している。南茂氏にとって「京風ラーメン」とは、素材の味を生かした鶏ガラベースの優しい味。昔ながらのシンプルでスープが全部飲めるラーメンを再現したかったという。アメリカ人好みに味を濃くしたり何でもトッピングに加えたりしない。「あくまで丹念に仕込んだ鶏ガラスープを味わって頂きたい」と南茂氏。
メニューはしょうゆ味鶏チャーシュー付き、鶏白湯味豚チャーシュー付き、ベジタブルの3種類。具には温卵、味玉、シナチク、少々の野菜などが加わる。まず代表作である「鶏ラーメン」を賞味した。

ブロスはクリアで雑味がなく味に深みがある。ありがちなこってりした脂っぽさがないので、スープとして飲んでも美味しい。完食しても胃の負担はなく体に吸収されていく感覚だ。鶏チャーシューは胸肉を使用し真空調理法(通称:スーピー)で調理している為、ジューシーで柔らかい。全体的に細麺との相性も良い。

温卵は黄身の部分が透けて見えるくらいゆるいので、好みによってスープと混ぜて食べる事もできる。メニューの種類は少ないがあえて複雑にしたり説明をつけない。「美味しいものは説明する必要はないと思うのです。細心の注意を払っているのは、食材が持つピークの瞬間を見逃さずに調理する事です」とラーメンに向き合う姿勢は一流シェフの心意気だ。 

 南茂氏にとって食材選びは最優先で、高級店と同じ品質のものを使用している。メインとなる鶏はペタルマ地方のサステイナブル飼育のフリーレンジチキンと別ブランドからオーガニックチキンをプレオーダーをする。卵はオーガニックのフリーレンジチキン、野菜はほとんどがオーガニック食材でフードコストは50%に達する勢い。クリアと濃厚なパイタンスープに使う鶏ガラは仕入れたその日に血抜き処理をし即冷凍する。新鮮なうちに冷凍する理由について「臭みが全くなく最大限に旨味を引き出せる」と南茂氏。それをまた戻しネギや他の野菜とグリルしたのち3〜4時間かけて煮込む。それ以上でもそれ以下でも食材の旨味を引き出せないので、常に状態をみながらベストのタイミングを計らう。「食材の旨味を生かすも殺すも温度調整と加熱時間次第」という南茂氏の調理哲学は会席料理の域に近い。アペタイザーの唐揚げやスウィートシシトウなど他のメニューも繊細で盛り付けも美しい。また「茶寮」風こだわりは器にも表現されて
いる。

ドリンクメニューは、ラーメンとの相性も考慮し個性的なコレクションを揃えている。例えばクラフトビールでは山椒ビールや他店では見かけない京都ビール各種など。ワイン通の客にはナパの「キスラー」銘柄などの高級ラインもある。一方、ソフトドリンクは京都一保堂の煎茶や玉露、宇治小山園の茶碗で点てた抹茶も注文できる。ペストリーシェフが常勤している事で抹茶デザートや手作りのマカロン他デザートメニューも豊富なのも嬉しい。

会席料理の技術を持ち合わせている南茂氏にとって、どうしてラーメン店なのかと尋ねると、今回引き継いだ店舗がそうだったこともあるが、彼女もまたラーメン好きで自分の思想を貫きたかったという。「食材の持つ旨味を最大限に引き出すという基本は、会席もラーメン作りも変わらない。丁寧に作ればラーメンも健康的なグルメ食になる」と南茂氏。この調理の手間ひまを考慮すれば一杯$14 の価格はとても安く感じられる。

「Ramen Saryo」は、ハイエンドな価値をリーズナブルに味わえるベイエリアでも希少なレストランだ。



Ramen Saryo Hachi
1861 El Camino Real
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 239-9391
https://ramensaryo.com/
#alljapannews #ramen #CA #RamenySaryoHachi #craftbeer #dessert

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Hachioji Craft Ramen One who sparked the ramen boom replicates his hometown taste of Hachioji

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Hachioji Craft Ramen One who... Hachioji Craft Ramen One who... Hachioji Craft Ramen One who... Hachioji Craft Ramen One who...
By Keiko Fukuda

Little Tokyo, the long-lived Japanese community, located in the east of downtown Los Angeles, is flourishing like never before. Up to 15 years or so ago, one rarely saw non-Japanese people walking in the area. However, now, not only Japanese Americans, but also many other Americans who are into Japanese culture, hang out in the area.

One thing which started this trend is Daikokuya on First Street. It is an old fashioned ramen restaurant which serves tonkotsu ramen as their signature dish.

Their interior space gives you a feel of the good-old Showa era ambience. The phenomenon in which many customers form a long line in front of this restaurant has triggered continuous openings of more and more talked-about restaurants in Little Tokyo, one after another. Daikokuya keeps the position as the initiator of the area’s recovery.

And then, in May of 2018, 16 years after the opening of Daikokuya, another ramen restaurant called “Hachioji Craft Ramen”, representing Tokyo Hachioji Shoyu Ramen in full force, opened its doors on the same First Street. Moreover, the owner of Hachioji Ramen is Mr. Takaaki Kohyama, CEO of Bishamon Group, under which Daikokuya resides.

Mr. Kohyama’s first restaurant is a Japanese restaurant called Bishamon, which is located in Covina, about half an hour east of downtown. After opening Daikokuya, he expanded the business widely, which includes the Japanese restaurant in the Miyako Hotel, Los Angeles, karaoke lounges, izakaya restaurants, and a bento shop business.

There are several Daikokuya restaurants around LA. I heard that among all of the Bishamon Group establishments, Mr. Kohyama puts his heart particularly heavily into this Hachioji Ramen. “I am from Hachioji, Tokyo. The torigara base shoyu soup with minced onion on top is my favorite taste I have replicated. Tonkotsu ramen has been very popular among Americans so far, but I want them to recognize the goodness of shoyu ramen now,” says Mr. Kohyama.

However, they do not serve just only the shoyu ramen alone. In addition to Hachioji Shoyu Ramen ($11), there are Hachioji Shio Ramen ($11), Hachioji Dry Ramen ($12) no soup, Red Ramen ($11), White Ramen ($11), and 2 kinds of Vegan Ramen in the menu. You can also order the Spicy Miso Bomb ($1.50) to add to the soup as a taste enhancer, and the Yuzu Kosho
($7) to take home.

Besides ramen, there is the Smoked Duck Bowl, the Smoked Salmon & Ikura Bowl, the Mentai Takana Bowl, the Soboro Tamago Bowl, and the Keema Curry Bowl, which are all $8.95, and can be ordered with a salad as a set. There are also a few appetizers in the simply structured menu.

However, they are particular about the Japanese sake that they carry. Mr. Kohyama himself prepares it in Niigata Then, a simple question came out of me.

Not to mention Daikokuya, but also Hachioji Ramen as well, did Mr. Kohyama ever have hardship during the process of completing the established taste? Mr. Kohyama answered to the question as follows. “I was also making hand-made soba noodles in Japan. Of course, I studied ramen, and tried several different ways to make it. However, I didn’t take too much time to complete it, and even after 16 years since the opening, I cannot quite say that it is perfected. Since then, many ramen restaurants have opened here in the Los Angeles area. We need to keep making Daikokuya ramen constantly better because when other tasty ramen restaurants open, we will be defeated. Therefore, even now, I always try and discuss with my employees, to see what we should do to make it better.” every year. It is aged for 7 months there, and the completed Junmai Ginjo is served as Bishamon’s original brand at the Group’s restaurants. They sell 5,000 bottles of small 300ml and 720ml large combined yearly.

After Daikokuya had gained popularity, Little Tokyo became a highly competitive district for the ramen business. Mr. Kohyama was worried about the possible sales decline, but it did not happen. It must be because, even as the number of ramen restaurants grew, ramen was acknowledged more, and the demand for it increased, and people started to swarm to Little Tokyo. This Hachioji Ramen opened a few doors down the street from Daikokuya.

I wonder if this restaurant’s true shoyu ramen could seize Americans’ appetites. Mr. Kohyama says that he wants to set a goal at the synergic effect which can be expected from the concentration of ramen restaurants.


ラーメンブームの火付け人 故郷、八王子の味を再現

サンゼルス・ダウンタウンの東に位置する古くからの日本人街、リトルトーキョーがこれまでにない賑わいを見せている。15 年以上前は非日系の人が街を行く姿はほとんど見られなかった。しかし、今や、日系はもとより、日本のカルチャーに魅せられた多くのアメリカ人が街を行き交うようになった。

 一つのきっかけを作ったのが、ファースト・ストリートにある大黒家だ。とんこつラーメンが看板メニューの「昔ながらのラーメン屋」。店内は古き良き時代の昭和の雰囲気が漂う。この店の前に客の行列が連なるようになったことを契機に、話題の店がリトルトーキョーに続々と誕生した。大黒家はエリア復興の起爆剤とも言える存在だ。

 そして、その大黒家がオープンして16 年経った2018 年5 月、東京は八王子の醤油ラーメンを前面に押し出した、その名もHachioji Craft Ramen( 以下、八王子ラーメン)が、同じファースト・ストリート沿いに開店した。しかも、その八王子ラーメンのオーナーは、大黒家も傘下に収める毘沙門グループのCEO、甲山貴明さん。

甲山さんの第1号店は、ダウンタウンから東に車で30 分ほどのコビナにある毘沙門という日本食レストラン。大黒家を開けてからは、都ホテル内の日本食レストランから、カラオケラウンジ、居酒屋、そして弁当屋まで幅広く手がけるようになった。大黒家はLA 周辺に数店舗ある。そんな毘沙門グループの飲食店の中でも、今回の八王子ラーメンに甲山さんは格別の思い入れを抱いているという。

「私の出身が東京の八王子なんです。刻み玉ねぎを乗せた、鶏がらベースの醤油スープ。自分が好きだった味を再現しました。とんこつは(アメリカ人に)十分に人気があるけど、これからは醤油ラーメンの魅力に気づいてほしいと願っています」と語る。

ただし、醤油ラーメン1本というわけではなく、八王子醤油ラーメン($11)以外にも、八王子塩ラーメン($11)、汁なしの八王子ドライラーメン($12)、そしてレッドラーメン($11)とホワイトラーメン($11) の2種のビーガンラーメンがメニューに並ぶ。さらに、ラーメンスープに加えるTaste Enhancer としてのスパイシー味噌ボム($1.50)と持ち帰りできる瓶入りの柚子胡椒($7)もオーダーできる。

ラーメン以外にスモークダックボウル、スモークサーモン&イクラボウル、明太高菜ボウル、そぼろ卵ボウル、さらにキーマカレーボウルと、$8.95 均一の丼もサラダとセットで選べる。他には数品のアペタイザーと、メニュー構成は非常にシンプルだ。

日本酒に関してはこだわりがある。新潟で毎年、甲山さん自身が仕込み、現地で7カ月寝かせた純米吟醸酒を「毘沙門」のオリジナルブランドでグループの店に、出しているのだ。300mlと720mlの大小合わせた年間の販売数は5000 本。

そして、ここで素朴な疑問が浮かんだ。甲山さんは大黒家しかり、八王子ラーメンについても味を完成させるまでに苦労はなかったのだろうか? その質問には、「日本では手打ちの蕎麦もやっていました。もちろん、ラーメンについて勉強し、自分なりに考えて試作しながら作りました。しかし、完成までに時間をかけたわけでもなければ、開店して16 年経った今の段階でも完成とは言えません。

あれから多くのラーメン店がここロサンゼルス周辺にオープンしました。大黒家のラーメンも常に進化させていかないと、他に美味しい店ができたらむしろ退化してしまうことになります。だから、今でも従業員と一緒に、さらに良くするためにどうすればいいかということに常に取り組んでいます」

大黒家が人気を集めた後、リトルトーキョーはラーメン激戦区となった。甲山さんも店の売り上げが減るのではと心配をしたそうだが、実際、売り上げが落ちることはなかったという。店が増えても、それだけラーメンが認知され、需要が増し、リトルトーキョーに人々が押し寄せるようになったからに違いない。大黒家から数件隣にオープンした今回の八王子ラーメン。この店の本場の醤油ラーメンがアメリカ人の胃袋を掴むことができるのか? ラーメン店集中で期待される、さらなる相乗効果を目指したいと甲山さんは語った。



Hachioji Craft Ramen
313 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 265-7799
11:00am-11:00pm
7days Open
http://www.hachiojiramen.com
#alljapannews #ramen #LA #HachiojiCraftRamen

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Casual and authentic noodles you can enjoy at the secret hideout of a high-end kaiseki cuisine restaurant

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By Aya Ota

“Brushstroke” is a kaiseki cuisine restaurant collaboration by chef Bouley, a leading French chef in New York, and TSUJI Culinary Institute. Even now, 7 years after the opening, their dishes, in which tradition and innovation are harmonized well by using local capturing New Yorker’s hearts, and raved highly by various media outlets.

“Noodle Bar” has been running since the end of last year in a corner of this restaurant “Brushstroke”, and has become the talk of the town.

“I am so excited about this new attempt,” says Isao Yamada, Executive Chef, with his eyes shining. “Noodle Bar” is a space that looks like a hideout with only 14 seats, which is located on the opposite side of the main dining area. Whenever its purpose changed, some changes were made to this space, and collected a lot of attention every time. It used to be the cocktail bar when first opened, and then changed to the omakase-style sushi bar. After closing the sushi bar, the space was closed unused for over half a year while the next concept of the project was being thought out. “People tend to think kaiseki cuisine is not very approachable, so we want different types of customers,” they thought. After the trial and error period, Chef Kyoji Noda, who has experience in showing skills at a ramen restaurant in the past, they came up with the noodle bar concept based on the trial ramen dish he created, which grew bigger in no time.

There are 5 noodle dishes on the menu. The most popular dish is “Brushstroke Tonkotsu Ramen” ($17). Incidentally, both Chef Yamada and Chef Noda are from Fukuoka which is known for Tonkotsu ramen. This is the dish created by those two with ultimate particularity. The soup that has been cooked for 4 days by cracking pork bones in the process is so rich that a film of collagen forms in a few minutes after the bowl is served at the table. It looks like a typical bowl of tonkotsu ramen; however, it tastes classically delicate, and makes a clear distinction from other tonkotsu ramen bowls. It is worth carrying the honorable restaurant name. In the “Duck Original 7 Miso Ramen” ($17), the original blend of miso is mixed into the soup which has been cooked one full day until the soup turns white and cloudy. The soup turns out to have a mild taste by blending various types of miso, white, red, inaka, moromi, etc., and matches extremely well with the tenderly cooked duck chashu.

The corn/kombu dashi based “Roasted Sweet Corn Butter Soy Sauce Ramen” ($15) is uniquely sweet and creamy, and has an interesting twist of changing the taste by adding cumin as you eat. There are 2 udon dishes. “Maine Lobster Kishimen Udon” ($26) which has springy and chewy lobster pieces on top of the soy milk based lobster umami flavored soup, and “Sashimi Kishimen Udon” ($57), where plentiful of seasonal sashimi pieces are served with dashi in which bonito shavings are generously used.


高級懐石料理店の隠れ家で食べる、カジュアルで本格的なヌードル

ニューヨークを代表する仏料理シェフ・ブーレイと辻調理師専門学校の提携による懐石料理店『Brushstroke』。四季折々の地元食材を取り入れた、伝統と斬新さが調和する料理は、開店後7年経った今でもニューヨーカーを虜にし、数々のメディアで賞賛され続けている。この『Brushstroke』の一角で、昨年暮れから『Noodle Bar』がスタートし、話題になっている。

「この新しい試みにワクワクしている」と目を輝かせて語るのは、料理長を務める山田勲氏。『Noodle Bar』が設置されているのは、メインダイニングとは反対側に位置する、たった14席しかない隠れ家のような空間。開店当初はカクテルバー、その後はおまかせ寿司バーと、内容が変わるたびに注目を浴びながら変遷してきたスペースだが、寿司バー閉店後は、次の構想を練りながら半年以上も閉めていたという。「懐石料理はどうしても敷居が高いと思われがち。これまでとは違う客層を呼びたい」と試行錯誤する中、ラーメン店で腕を振るった経験を持つ野田恭司シェフが試作したラーメンに着想を得て、一気にヌードルバーの構想が膨らんだ。

麺類メニューは5種類。一番人気は「Brushstrokeとんこつラーメン」($17)。奇しくも、山田・野田両氏は、とんこつラーメンで有名な福岡出身で、その二人がこだわり抜いて創り上げた一品だ。豚骨を砕きながら丸4日間煮込んで作るスープは、テーブルに運ばれてわずか数分で表面にコラーゲン膜が浮かぶほど濃度が高い。見た目は王道のとんこつラーメンだが、上品で繊細な味に仕上がり、店名を冠するだけあり他店とは一線を画する。「鴨ネギ 7種合わせ味噌ラーメン」($17)は、ローストした鴨骨を、白濁するまで丸一日煮込んだスープに、独自配合の味噌を合わせる。白、赤、田舎味噌、もろみ…など複数の味噌を合わせることで、より複雑でまろやかな風味になり、ほろりと柔らかい鴨肉チャーシューとの相性も抜群だ。

トウモロコシと昆布で出汁をとった「醤油バターコーンラーメン」($15)は、甘さとクリーミーさが特徴的で、途中クミンを加えて味を変えるという趣向がおもしろい。うどんは2種類、ロブスターの旨味が効いた豆乳ベースのスープにぷりぷりとした食感のロブスターが乗った「ロブスター豆乳きし麺うどん」($26)、鰹節を贅沢に使った出汁に旬の刺身をふんだんに盛り付けた「刺身きし麺うどん」($57)がある。5種類すべて違うスープと具材を用意し、どれも他店では食べられない創意工夫に富んだ内容だ。季節限定「春野菜チキンラーメン」($17)を提供しているのも、さすが季節感を大事にする懐石料理店ならではだ。

サイドメニューもバラエティ豊か。宮崎和牛やホタテをぎっしり詰めた餃子、和牛ミンチやソフトシェルクラブを挟んだバンズ、鴨のもも肉の竜田揚げなど、カジュアルな仕上がりだが特別感がある。一人で来店しても、ラーメンに合わせやすいようにという心配りで、小ぶりなサイズかつ手頃な値段で提供される。ヌードルバーのメニューは、懐石料理店とは一切かぶらず、すべて別に用意しているという、徹底したこだわりにも驚かされる。オリジナル・カクテルも、懐石料理店とヌードルバーでは違うメニューを楽しめる。

「懐石料理とは違う客にアプローチしたい」という目論見は見事にヒット。 “高級懐石料理店が創るヌードル”という特別感に心引かれるのだろう、ヌードルバーには新規顧客が気軽に訪れるようになった。また、懐石料理店の常連客もヌードルバーに訪れ、両方の客が好循環を生み出している。トライベッカ地区にこれまで本格的なヌードル店がなかったこともあり、地元客も多く訪れているという。

高級懐石料理店の隠れ家で食べるラーメンやうどん…このギャップが、この上ない特別感を演出してくれる。

Noodle Bar at Brushstroke
30 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 791-3771
https://brushstrokenyc.com/
Mon.-Sat. 5:30pm-10:30pm
Lunch on Fridays and Saturdays
(from 11:30am to 2:45pm)
#alljapannews #noodle #Japanese #Brushstroke #NY #ramen #udon #kaiseki

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Ramen and creative Japanese cuisine are enjoyed at modern and sophisticated space

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By Aya Ota

In the Flatiron District, there is a restaurant known as a modern and sophisticated space where you can enjoy superbly creative washoku and ramen. It is "ROKI Le IZAKAYA". It is also gaining attention as a collaboration of Koji Hagihara, one of the top Japanese chefs in New York, and Keiko Aoki, CEO, Benihana of Tokyo, and they just had their one-year anniversary on February 14.

"The dining scene of New York keeps progressing. So it is important to emphasize characteristics or uniqueness of our restaurant by condensing the menu and making the restaurant more specialized," says Mr. Hagihara, owner and executive chef. At the end of this January, he boldly narrowed down to reduce the number of menu items by 2/3 by analyzing the data of the past year from the opening, and creating a prix fixe menu called "ROKI Special 3 Course Dinner" ($42/person, minimum two orders). This course consists of "Japanese Canape" (You choose 3 out of 9 kinds), "Specialty Buns" (You choose 1 out of 3 kinds), and "Ramen Hot Pot" (You choose 1 out of 3 kinds). They hope customers will choose the course as their recommended signature menu in which they have confidence, and hopefully add sushi or sashimi from the a-la-carte menu. Mr. Hagihara continued, "By narrowing down the menu items, we can not only make the operation and cost performance more effective, but also enhance the quality of food dishes by spending more efforts on each item."

The "Japanese Canape" which consists of fried sushi formed-rice base topped with plenty of ingredients such as sea urchin, sweet shrimp, guacamole, ahi poke, etc., is gorgeous to look at. "The "Pork Belly Buns", which have a reputation as New York's best, are meant to be eaten by sandwiching tenderly cooked kakuni pork in the buns yourself with a lot of mustard/ mayo, and wildly biting into them.

It is recommended that you use your hands to eat canape and buns to fully engage your 5 senses, and enjoy the touch. There are 5 kinds of broth for ramen and ramen pot dishes. The noodles which took 3 years for Mr. Hagihara to develop are his proud creation, and take only 1 minute to cook, retains texture well, mixes well with broth, and have a smooth texture. Many customers rave about the ramen specialty restaurant like quality. They are so good that you feel like tasting all of the broth choices.

The performance - pouring of broth at your table using the concept, "cooking is a form of entertainment, so its performance should be enjoyed", leaves a strong impression. With the "Catch of the Day Sashimi Platter", you are entertained by dry ice watered right after an explanation of beautifully presented seasonal fresh fish.

Mr. Hagihara, the creator of numerous dishes that are full of impressions and surprises, has a background in Chinese cuisine. He demonstrated his skills as a right-hand man of Yuji Wakiya, Iron Chef, at "Akasaka Wakiya, Ichiemicharou", the highest achievement in Japan's Chinese cuisine field, and in 2007, he came to the US to become the head chef of "New York Wakiya" when it opened. After that, he achieved the accomplishment of becoming head chef and manager for "Hakata Ton Ton", a restaurant that became so popular that one could hardly get a reservation. He is also very much sought after in other various fields such as appearing in TV cooking programs, lecturing at seminars, cooking for state guests for a Japanese government reception party, etc. Mr. Hagihara says, "Even if techniques and condiments of Chinese cuisine are used, people can enjoy such dishes as washoku, as long as Japanese ingredients are used, and the food is served on Japanese plates. That is one interesting thing about New York." When you step into the restaurant and proceed straight along the corridor toward the counter kitchen located in the center of the space opening up in front of you, you are welcomed by Mr, Hagihara. With a lively and loud greeting, "Irasshaimase!!" he sounds a gong to welcome you.

The name, "ROKI" is taken after Rocky Aoki, Benihana's founder. The reason for adding "IZAKAYA" to the name is because Japanese izakaya-style restaurants serve many different dishes, and there are "no borders". Now, after 10 years in the US, full of passion with enough experiences and power, he is are aiming for the world. I heard that they already have gotten offers to open restaurants in Europe and Middle East as "ROKI", and as ramen or bun specialty restaurants. I cannot keep my eyes off of their future endeavors.


モダンで洗練された空間で、ラーメンや創作和食を楽しむ

フラットアイアン地区に、モダンで洗練された空間で、抜群の創作和食やラーメンを楽しめる評判の店がある。『ROKI LeIZAKAYA』-- ニューヨークを代表する日本人シェフ、萩原好司氏と、『Benihana of Tokyo』のCEO、青木恵子氏が提携して開店したことでも注目されており、この2月14日でちょうど1周年を迎えたところだ。

「ニューヨークのダイニングシーンは進化し続けている。メニューを凝縮して専門化し、店の特徴や個性を際立たせることが重要」と語るのは、オーナー兼料理長を務める萩原氏。開店後1 年の実績データを分析し、この1 月末に、大胆にもメニュー数を3分の2まで絞り込み、『ROKI Special 3 Course Dinner』(42 ドル/1 人、2 人前〜)というプリフィックスコースを用意した。コースは「和風カナッペ」(9 種類から3 つ選択)、「特製バンズ」(3 種類から1 つ選択)、「ラーメン鍋」(3 種類から1 つ選択)という構成だ。同店が自信を持って提案する看板メニューとして、客には基本的にコースを選んでもらい、アラカルトで寿司や刺身などを追加してもらいたいという狙いだ。「メニューを絞り込むことで、オペレーションやコスト面も効率化できるだけでなく、一品一品に力を注ぎクオリティを高めることができる」と萩原氏は続ける。

『和風カナッペ』は、寿司飯を整形して揚げたベースに、ウニや甘エビ、ワカモレやアヒポケといった具材をたっぷり盛り付けたもので、見た目も華やか。"ニューヨークNo.1のバンズ"と言われる『豚の角煮バンズ』は、トロトロに煮込んだ角煮に辛子マヨネーズをたっぷり付けて、客が自ら角煮をバンズに挟んで豪快に頬張る。「五感をフルに活用し、触感も楽しんでほしい」という意図から、カナッペもバンズも手で食べることを勧めている。ラーメンとラーメン鍋用には、5 種類のブロスを用意。麺は、萩原氏が3 年かけて開発したもので、1 分で茹でられて、伸びにくく、ブロスが絡みやすく、食感もなめらか…という自信作。多くの客から"ラーメン専門店のようなクオリティ"と大絶賛され、すべてのブロスを試したくなる味だ。「料理はエンターテイメント。パフォーマンスも楽しんでほしい」というコンセプトで、卓上でブロスをかけてくれる演出が印象深い。「旬の刺身盛り合わせ」は、美しく盛り付けられた旬の魚を丁寧に説明してくれた直後、目の前でドライアイスに水を注いで楽しませてくれる。

感動と驚きに満ちた料理の数々を創り出す萩原氏、バッググラウンドは中国料理だ。日本中国料理界の最高峰『赤坂WAKIYA-笑美茶楼』で、料理の鉄人・脇屋友詞氏の右腕として活躍、2007 年『New York Wakiya』開店に伴い渡米し料理長を務めた。その後、『Hakata TonTon』の料理長兼マネージャーとして、同店を予約の取れない人気店に成長させた実績も持つ。その他にも、料理番組出演、セミナー講師、政府関係レセプションで国賓に料理を振る舞うなど、多方面に引っ張りだこだ。「中国料理の技法や調味料を使っても、和食材を使って和食器に盛り付けると、和食として楽しんでもらえる。そこがニューヨークのおもしろいところ」と萩原氏は語る。店に足を踏み入れ、障子に挟まれた通路をまっすぐ進み、ぱっと開けた空間の中央に位置するカウンターキッチンへ進むと、そこに必ず萩原氏が出迎えてくれる。威勢のよい「いらっしゃいませ!」というかけ声と共に銅鑼を鳴らし、笑顔で客を歓迎してくれる。

店名の『ROKI』は『Benihana』創業者のロッキー青木氏の名前から取った。

"IZAKAYA" と入れたのは、日本の居酒屋にはいろいろな料理が並び、"国境がない"という意味も込めている。渡米後10 年経ち、経験や実力も兼ね備え、情熱もみなぎっている今、目指しているのは世界だ。『ROKI』として、またラーメンやバンズの専門店として、すでに欧州や中東からもオファーがあるという。今後の動向から目が離せない。

ROKI Le IZAKAYA
12 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
(646) 383-7654
https://www.rokileizakaya.com/

Mon.-Fri. Lunch 12:00pm-2:30pm
Mon.-Sat. Dinner 5:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday Closed
#alljapannews #ramen #Japanese #cuisine #ROKI #izakaya #NY

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Marufuku “Hakata ramen” breaking in to Japan Town of San Francisco

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Marufuku “Hakat... Marufuku “Hakat... Marufuku “Hakat... Marufuku “Hakat... Marufuku “Hakat... Marufuku “Hakat...
By Elli Sekine

A new ramen phenomenon is happening again in San Francisco’s Japan Town, a highly-competitive district for ramen restaurants. Over the last few years, the popularity of “tonkotsu style ramen” has grown even bigger due to the appearance of “Mensho Tokyo,” “Ippudo”, etc. Moreover, a Hakata style ramen specialty restaurant which nobody else had the title for, called “Marufuku” opened there in February of 2017. Hakata style ramen is new to Americans, and it is attracting a lot of attention. Ever since the opening day, people have been forming a long line to taste their soulful bowls of ramen. What is the difference between
“tonkotsu style” and “Hakata style”? There was a record showing that tonkotsu style ramen was born in “Hakata” Fukuoka, the place of origin, in 1941.

It is said that the tonkotsu style ramen began as follows: some noodles were used to be served as the last ingredient of the “Hakata nabe” a chicken stock based hot pot dish. Then, tonkotsu (pork bone based stock) was added to the soup, and Chinese noodles were thrown in the soup to be combined, and form the “tonkotsu ramen.”

Back then, there were no buildings in the Hakata district like now, and ramen which was served at the street carts by the river is the origin of “Hakata ramen.” The soup served then was mostly murky-white and rich, but light tasting tonkotsu-based, and the noodles were the very thin, straight kind, and topped with Hakata benishoga (red ginger shreds). After the war (1945), due to the idea that ramen was for bluecollar workers, the noodles were very thin for quick cooking, and a small amount was served at a time to retain the texture, and more noodles (kaedama) could be ordered to be added to the soup while you eat. This tradition still continues until this day. Now, in Fukuoka’s ramen restaurants, it is very common that you can select your favorite hardness of the noodles from extra hard to extra soft by adjusting the duration of cooking time. Variation of ramen styles such as “Kumamoto ramen”, “Kurume ramen”, etc., have been born in various.

Kyushu areas since, but “Hakata ramen” has been the favorite soul food for the people of Hakata through the ages. Meanwhile, the broth, which used to be so simple, the quality of the noodles, and the toppings have been perfected, but who could imagine that Hakata ramen would become a gourmet food known to the world like now? “Marufuku” which challenges itself at the reproduction of such Hakata style ramen, is a very important restaurant in the Bay Area.

“Marufuku” heavily values “teamwork” to run the restaurant. They have a purpose which is “to offer uncompromising genuine ramen to create a huge boom” in the Bay Area where cutting-edge information transmission is launched, and major IT companies such as Google and Apple have settled in. They built the foundation of the team by hiring someone who has extensive experience in working in the ramen industry, both in Japan and Los Angeles, to become the manager. The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Kinokuniya Building, which is an ideal place. After many trials and errors, the very first Hakata ramen specialty restaurant in San Francisco, “Marufuku” opened in 2017. The Hakata style, which was new to the US, was well received by the local Americans, and “Marufuku” quickly became very successful.

I recommend “HAKATA DX” ($14.99) first. Their proud soup which has been slowly cooked for 20 hours defines its Hakata style taste by the added housemade special sauce. You never get tired of its rich, deep, yet light tasting soup. The volume is perfect, and served in a classy milky-color bowl made by a Japanese craftsman, which gives a nice contrast. The extra-thin straight noodles specially ordered from a local noodle maker, are original and hard to find anywhere else. The noodles mix and match well with the soup.

The Hakata style tradition, kaedama, can be ordered for $2 each, which allows you to enjoy the noodles at their best texture until the end. Rich topping selections include large pork kakuni, flavor enhanced boiled eggs, corn, cloud ears, mushrooms, and Hakata benishoga (red ginger shreds). Other menu items include “Hakata Tonkotsu” ($10.99), “Chicken Paitan” ($10.99), “Chicken Paitan DX” ($14.99), etc. The Paitan ramen dishes are so popular, and about 30% of the customers order them. However, for the multi-cultured San Francisco, they also pay special attention to some customers who do not eat pork for religious reasons. One of the popular toppings, the juicy kakuni, can be ordered separately as an a-la-carte menu item as Kakunidon (bowl) ($7).

The drink menu includes draft beers, shochu, Japanese sake, etc. At night time, more customers drink sake, but the rotation is rather quick. However, you need to be aware that some waiting is inevitable on weekends.

“Marufuku” is striving to make a strong team by raising the motivation of the staff members who have various backgrounds and share this strong belief, that “a strong enough wish can surely be conveyed to our customers, overcoming language or nationality barriers.” I would like to see “local” food cultures spread in the way that this restaurant is doing, which offers ramen that is customized to the local area.


「博多ラーメン」がSF日本町でブレーク中!

ラーメンの激戦区、サンフランシスコ日本町にまた新たなラーメン現象が起こっている。

この2、3 年、「豚骨ラーメン」は「Mensho Tokyo」や「Ippudo」の出現で益々その人気は高まっている。しかし、まだ誰も看板をあげてない博多ラーメン専門店の「Marukufu」が2017 年2 月、日本町に新開店した。アメリカ人にはまだ聞きなれない「Hakata」スタイルは話題を呼び、その新食感を味わおうと、オープン以来、長蛇の列ができている。

「豚骨ラーメン」と「博多ラーメン」の違いは何だろう。発祥の地、「博多」(福岡)の街でとんこつラーメンが生まれたのは1941 年という記録がある。元々は鶏ガラ出汁の「博多鍋」のシメとして登場した麺は、その後豚骨を加えたスープに中華麺と組み合わせたのが「豚骨ラーメン」の始まりと言われている。

当時博多地区には今のようなビル群は無く、川端の屋台で作られていたラーメンが「博多ラーメン」オリジナルだ。白濁色でコクがあるあっさりした豚骨スープが多く、極細麺ストレートに博多紅生姜を加えたのが主な特徴。戦後(1945 〜)、労働者向けの食事だったことから、麺のゆで時間が少ない細麺が使われたが、麺がすぐ伸びてしまうため少量に盛り、替え玉(麺だけ食べている途中に追加する)を注文する習慣が今でも続いている。

今では麺の固さも客の好みに応じて「バリカタ」から「バリヤワ」まで茹で時間を変えるのも福岡のラーメン店では一般的。その後九州各地で豚骨は「熊本ラーメン」や「久留米ラーメン」など何種類にも別れているが、「博多ラーメン」は時代を超え博多っ子に愛され続けた庶民食だ。今ではその素朴だったブロスと麺の質、トッピングも極められ、世界にその名を馳せるグルメ食になるとは誰が想像しただろう。その博多スタイルの再現に挑む「Marufuku」はベイエリアでも貴重な
店だ。

「Marufuku」は、“ チーム” を重視した店作りを実施している。グーグルやアップルなどの大手IT起業が集結し、最先端のグルメ情報発信基地になるベイエリアで、「妥協しない本物のラーメンを提供し、大きなブームを巻き起こしたい」という目的を持ち、日本とトサンゼルスでラーメン修行をした豊富な経験を持つ人材をマネージャーに起用し、チームの枠組を作った。場所は紀伊國屋ビルの2階という絶好の場所。あらゆる試行錯誤を繰り返し2017年、サンフランシスコで初めてとなる「博多ラーメン」専門店、「Marufuku」をオープンした。まだアメカでは新しい博多スタイルは、地元アメリカ人に受け入れられ、開店まもなく繁栄店となった。

メニューの中で一番おすすめは「HAKATA DX」。($14.99)自慢のスープは、20 時間じっくり煮込んだものに、自家製の特性タレが「博多味」を決定付ける。リッチで味わい深いのにあっさりしているので飽きのこない味だ。日本の職人による上品な和噐に白濁色が映え、量も丁度良く盛られている。ローカルの製麺所に特別オーダーして製麺された極細ストレート麺は、他の店ではなかなか味わえないオリジナル。スープとの愛称が良く絡みやすい。博多ラーメンの伝統である替玉も$2で追加することができる為、最後までコシのある麺が味わえる。

トッピングは大きなサイズの豚の角煮、味たまご、コーン、きくらげ、マッシュルームに博多紅生姜などボリュームたっぷりの内容。メニューにはその他、「Hakata Tonkotsu]($10.99), 「ChikenPaitan]($10.99)「Chikin paitan DX」($14.99) などがある。客の約3割が注文しているというパイタンラーメンも人気がある他、多文化社会のサンフランシスコで宗教上豚を食しない客への配慮もある。人気トッピングの一つであるジューシーな角煮は、角煮丼($7)の単品メニューもある。ドリンクメニューには、ドラフトビール、焼酎、日本酒などを揃えている。夜は酒を飲む客も増えるが、比較的回転は早い方だ。しかし週末になると待ち時間は覚悟した方が良い。

「Marufuku」は、「強い想いがあれば、言語や国籍を乗り越え客に伝わる」という信念を持ち、多種多様なバックグラウンドを持つ従業員のモチベーションをあげ、強いチーム作りに務めている。同店のように地方に特化したラーメンを提供する「ご当地グルメ」ブームが広がるのを期待したい。



Marufuku
1581 Webster St. Ste 235
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 872-9786
https://www.marufukuramen.com/

Tue.-Fri. 11:30am-2:00pm
5:30pm-9:30pm
Sat. 11:30am-3:00pm
5:00pm-9:30pm
Sun. 11:30am-3:00pm
5:00pm-9:00pm
#alljapannews #marufuku #hakata #ramen #tonkotsu #paitan #kakuni #SF

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Ramen and sushi by a Sri Lankan chef

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By Keiko Fukuda

“I have a recent favorite ramen restaurant. You can have sushi with fresh ingredients there too,” said a friend of mine. It is Ramen Spott in Torrance. My friend continued, “I heard that their owner/chef is not Japanese, but the taste is authentic.” I got interested even more.

I checked their website. Surprisingly, there are 18 different kinds of ramen dishes. The fabulous lineup that contains tonkotsu, yuzu-shio, veggie, and nira-moyashi makes you hungry. I got an appointment to interview the owner/chef, Duke Sanji on a later day. He said, “There were only 10 (kinds of ramen dishes) when I opened the restaurant 2 years ago. The current number has been reached after receiving requests from the customers. New items were developed and added to the menu one by one.” Mr. Sanji is from Sri Lanka. After graduating from college, he got a diploma from a cooking school. He then worked at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka as a sushi chef. Then, he gained authentic Japanese cuisine experience for 3 years, and then worked at various hotels as a chef in Kuwait, Dubai, etc.

After working as a head chef at a Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles, he opened Sushi Duke in 2006 in Hermosa Beach, and then in Redondo Beach. He made his restaurants grow to be popular places filled with many regular customers with his skills in cooking that reflect his long experience. However, the Redondo Beach restaurant was forced to close due to a fire in the neighborhood. After that, he opened a ramen specialty restaurant called Ramen Spott in Torrance near the beach. He then decided to run only this one restaurant, Ramen Spott, and added a sushi menu. When you think of it, it seems like there are some, but there are actually not really any Japanese restaurants where you can enjoy both ramen and sushi at the same place.

As introduced earlier in this article, there are 18 different ramen dishes on the menu. Sanji says, “Yuzu Shio and Nira Moyashi are particularly popular among Japanese customers, and Tonkotsu Black Garlic is also popular. I also want to recommend Seafood Shio, Spicy Miso, and Coconut ramen.” So many recommendations make it difficult to choose, but their lunch time special can be a happy solution. A set that includes a ramen of your choice with salad and fried rice is $7.50. You may be able to find your favorite ramen by trying a different ramen in the set each time you visit for lunch. There is an even better deal, which is $5 ramen as a lunch time special. However, for this deal, you can choose only one kind of ramen set as the weekly special.

On a later day, I visited again during lunch time. I ordered a lunch time special that consisted of basic shoyu ramen. It was a set menu that came with very satisfying fried rice and salad with original dressing. The ramen noodles matched perfectly with the soup. The tasty cooked egg topping gave a good impression.

Ramen is not everything here. You should really try their sushi. As mentioned earlier, Sanji started as a sushi chef. He created the sushi menu with his own eyes and tastes. He serves a wide variety of sushi dishes with fresh ingredients. The signature rolls with names like Sanji Beach, Sanji Special, etc. are also receiving good reviews.

I asked Sanji what his motto is. He said, “I want to serve the kind of Japanese food that is not easy to get here in the US. I also want to cook things that I want to eat myself.” I must say that with such a case in which you can enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine by a non-Japanese chef, you can really say that Japanese cuisine has truly become global.


スリランカ人シェフが手がけるラーメンと寿司

「最近、お気に入りのラーメン屋さんがある。新鮮なネタの寿司も食べられる」と友人が教えてくれた。トーランスにあるラーメンスポットだ。友人は続けて「オーナーシェフは日本人ではないらしいが、本格的な味」と言った。ますます興味を引かれた。

ウェブサイトを見ると、ラーメンの種類、実に18。とんこつからゆず塩、ベジー、ニラもやしと見ているだけで食欲をそそるラインナップだ。後日、取材のアポを取り付けて話を聞いたオーナーシェフのデューク・サンジさんによると、「2年前に店を開けた時は(ラーメンの種類は)10種だった。その後、お客さんの要望を受けて、次々にメニューを開発、現在の数にまで増えた」ということだ。

サンジさんはスリランカ生まれ。大学卒業後に料理学校を修了し、スリランカ、コロンボにあるヒルトンホテルに寿司シェフとして就職した。さらに、本場、日本で3年間、和食の経験を積んだ後に、クウェート、ドバイをはじめとする各地のホテルを料理人として渡り歩いた。

アメリカ、ロサンゼルスでも日本食の店でヘッドシェフを務めた後に、2006年、ハモサビーチ、続いてレドンドビーチにスシ・デュークを開店した。シェフとしての長年の経験を生かした料理で、常連を中心に賑わう店に成長。しかし、近隣店舗による火事の延焼で、レドンドビーチの店の休業を余儀なくされた。その後、ビーチに近いトーランスでラーメン店としてラーメンスポットをオープン。そして、経営する店をラーメンスポット1店に絞り、寿司をメニューに加えることにしたそうだ。考えてみれば、日本食の店でラーメンと寿司の両方を味わえる所はありそうでほとんど思い浮かばない。

ラーメンは前述のように18種類揃う。「日本人のお客さんにはゆず塩やニラもやしが人気。とんこつ・ブラックガーリックもよく出ます。シーフード、スパイシー味噌、ココナッツラーメンもおすすめです」とサンジさん。そこまで言われると迷ってしまうが、そういう時に嬉しいのがランチタイム・スペシャルだ。好きなラーメンとサラダとチャーハンがセットになって、7ドル50セント。何度かランチタイムに訪れて、様々なラーメンを試すことで、自分好みの味を発見できるかもしれない。さらに破格なスペシャルとして、ランチタイムのみ、5ドルのラーメンも登場。ただし、こちらは週替わりでどれか1種類のラーメンとなる。

後日、ランチタイムに同店を訪れた。ベーシックな醤油ラーメンのランチタイム・スペシャルをオーダー。満足感が高いチャーハンにオリジナルドレッシングがかかったサラダ、そして麺とスープが絶妙に絡まったラーメンがセットになっている。味が染みた煮卵が印象的だ。

そして、ラーメンだけでは終わらない。ここで試すべきは寿司だ。寿司シェフからスタートし、自分の目とセンスで選んだ新鮮な食材で顧客に提供される寿司のメニューもまた豊富。サンジビーチ、サンジスペシャルと名前が付いたシグネチャーロールの評判も高い。

サンジさんに料理人としてのモットーを聞くと、「ここアメリカでなかなか食べられない日本食を出したいですね。それに何よりも自分で食べたいと思える料理を作りたい」と答えた。このように日本人以外のシェフによる美味しい日本食が食べられるようになってこそ、日本食が真にグローバルな存在になったと言えるのではないだろうか。



Ramen Spot
25412 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance CA 90505
(310)530-3900
https://www.ramenspott.com

Mon.-Sun.
11:30-14:00
17:00-23:00
Closed on Wednesday
#alljapannews #ramen #sushi #LA #SriLankan #RamenSpot

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SF Ramen Trend, 2017

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SF Ramen Trend, 2017 SF Ramen Trend, 2017 SF Ramen Trend, 2017 SF Ramen Trend, 2017 SF Ramen Trend, 2017 Hidenoya Hidenoya Hidenoya Hidenoya Marufuku Marufuku Marufuku Marufuku Nojyo Nojyo Nojyo Nojyo Orenchi Orenchi Orenchi Orenchi Yoroshiku Yoroshiku Yoroshiku Yoroshiku
By Elli Sekine

The ramen boom of San Francisco sees no end in sight, and continues to enchant local ramen fans. During the past 10-year history of this SF ramen boom, those who took the lead of the first-phase must have been “Izakaya Sozai”, “Katanaya-Ramen”, etc. Among them, the signature dish of “Sozai”, the tonkotsu ramen, was voted as “the meal that you wish to have at least once before you die”, which drove ramen fans to rush in night after night. The truth was that this menu item was something the owner created in his spare time just for fun, but ended up as an item on the menu to finish a meal with. After that, the word “tonkotsu” spread quickly.

In the meantime, in Silicon Valley, “Orenchi” that opened 7 years ago in Santa Clara, had a major impact on the ramen boom by being so popular that people waited as long as 2 hours to get in. Since the “Orenchi” brand had pretty much been established, the second restaurant, stylish, and named “Orenchi Beyond” opened in 2015 in San Francisco, and is attracting a younger generation of people in San Francisco. Some of the restaurants which gathered a lot of attention for their openings in 2016 are “Nojo Ramen Tavern”, the first overseas development of AP Company known for “Tsukada Nojo”, specializing in jidori chicken cooking, “Iza Ramen”, the ramen department of a local popular sushi restaurant called “Blowfish”, and “Mensho Tokyo”, also the first overseas development from Tokyo which is currently breaking through. In Japan Town where the competition is very high, “Waraku” and “Yamadaya” started in LA, and Suzu” used to be the top 3; however, popularity is transitioning to newer restaurants like “Marufuku Ramen” that opened this year, and “Hinodeya Ramen”, also a new overseas development from Japan launched at the end of last year. “Marufuku Ramen” is especially popular; so much so that people form a long line every day. The restaurant that is attracting attention the most among the newly opened ones is “Ippudo”, the Hakata style ramen sanctuary, which is known worldwide, and finally opened in Berkley after a long preparation period.

As a new trend, there is an increase in the number of izakaya-style ramen restaurants which have developed from ramen specialty restaurants by adding a-la-carte dishes and various drinks on the menu. You could spend as much as 40 to 50 dollars per person in such a restaurant. Americans are getting more particular about tastes, and trends are moving toward “local gourmet foods” that offer traditional regional tastes. San Francisco’s ramen business industry is getting more diversified, and competition on a higher level continues to grow.

J-POP Ramen Summit
The “J-POP Summit”, the US’s largest festival of Japanese pop culture, was held on September 9th and 10th at Fort Maison Center. This event was produced by Yoshiyuki Maruyama who triggered the Bay Area ramen culture. The “Ramen Summit” that brought together 5 ramen restaurants, 4 from SF and 1 from Seattle, was a big success, and was very busy throughout with many visitors until the end. People formed a long line in front of every booth, and truly enjoyed comparing bowls of ramen of different popular restaurants, etc., which they can experience only at a festival like this. http://www.j-pop.com/

/////// Introduction of the restaurants ///////

1. Nojo Ramen Tavern
Their signature dish is gorgeous Chicken Paitan ($18.50 at the restaurant), in which a whole chicken leg is in the bowl. The rich thick broth accentuated with ginger and yuzu is profoundly tasty and volumerous. Medium thick curly noodles made of whole wheat flour are custom-made.
http://nojosf.com/

2. YOROSHIKU
It is a popular restaurant in Seattle, and the first time exhibitor of the Ramen Summit. Thier signature dish, made by the owner/chef from Hokkaido, is Spicy Miso ($14 at the restaurant). The broth is an excellent combination of white and red miso with added spicy chilli, and is very well received among Americans.
https://www.yoroshikuseattle.com/

3. Orenchi Beyond
Their signature dish is “Beyond Ramen” ($13.50). Its rich tonkotsu shoyu base with added fish stock and garlic is full of originality, and rich in taste and creates a good balance with medium-thick bouncy curly noodles. As new additions to the menu, they have miso-tamatoe base vegan ramen, tantanmen, etc.
http://orenchi-beyond.com/
  
4. Marufuku Ramen
Traditional Hakata-style tonkotsu base broth cooked for 20 hours is a good match to its custom-made flavorful straight thin noodles. Their signature dish is Hakata Tonkotsu ($10.99). This restaurant is breaking through by offering the right richness, adjustable spiciness, various topping choices and a rich-variery of a-la-carte dishes.
https://www.marufukuramen.com/

5. Hinodeya Ramen & Bar
This restaurant came to the US for the first time to try to introduce authentic dashi culture. Its delicate flavorful dashi of bonito and konbu coats the medium-thick curly noodles well, and bring out the good taste. Its sophisticated, light-flavored dashi ramen and kappo-style a-la-carte dishes are differentiated from other restaurants, and has established a good reputation.
------------------------------

SFラーメントレンド2017

サンフランシスコのラーメンブームは止まる所を知らない。次から次へと新しいコンセプトの店が登場し、地元のラーメンファンを魅了している。この10 年のSF ラーメンブームの歴史を振り返ってみると、第1次ブームを牽引したのは、「Izakaya Sozai」や「Katanaya-ramen」だろう。そのうち「Sozai」の名物、「豚骨ラーメン」は、ローカル誌の「死ぬ前に一度食べたい一品」に抜擢され、夜な夜なラーメンファンが駆けつけた。しかしこのメニュー、実はオーナーが趣味で作ったシメのメニューだった。それから「tonkotsu」のキーワードは一気に広まった。

一方、シリコンバレー、Santa Claraに7年前に登場した 「Orenchi」は、最長2時間待ちという盛況ぶりでラーメンブームに拍車をかけた。その“Orenchi”ブランドが確立した事もあり2015年、サンフランシスコにお洒落な2号店、「Orenchi Beyond」を開店し、SF の若年層を惹きつけた。2016 年のオープンで注目を浴びたのが、地鶏料理の「塚田農場」で知られるAP カンパニー初の米国進出になる「Nojo Ramen avern」、地元人気寿司店「Blowfish」のラーメンバージョン、「Iza ramen」と、東京から初米国進出でブレーク中の「MenshoTokyo」だ。そしてラーメン店の激戦区、日本街にはそれまで「Waraku」、LA 発祥の「Yamada-ya」、「Suzu」の3強だったが、今年オープンした新店舗「Marufuku Ramen」と去年暮れにオープンした日本からの初進出店、「Hinodeya Ramen」に人気は移行し、中でも「Marufuku」は、連日長蛇の列を成している。新規オープンで最も注目されているのが、長年の準備期間を経てバークレーに新オープンした、世界にその名を轟かす博多ラーメンの殿堂、「Ippudo」だ。

最近の傾向としては、ラーメン専門店から一品料理を加えドリンクの種類も揃えたRamen Izakara が増えている。中には一人の会計が$40 〜50 という店も少なくない。アメリカ人の舌も肥え、流行は地方伝統の味を提供する“ ご当地グルメ” へと移行している。多様化が進むSF ラーメンビジネス業界は一層レベルアップした激戦が続いている。

J-POP ラーメンサミット
全米最大の日本ポップカルチャーの祭典、「J-Pop Summit」 が先日9 月9 日、10 日にFort Maison Center で開催され、 ベイエリアラーメンカルチャーの火付け役、丸山良幸氏がプロデュースした「Ramen Summit」は、SF 4軒とシアトルから1軒の計5店舗が結集し、終始大盛況で幕を閉じた。各ブースにはラーメンファンが長蛇の列を作り、祭りでしか体験できない人気店の一杯を食べ比べするなど堪能していた。http://www.j-pop.com/

/////// ラーメンサミットにラインアップした店舗紹介 ///////

1. Nojo Ramen Tavern
看板メニューは、チキンレッグが丸ごと丼に入ったゴージャスなChickenPaitan(店頭価格$18.50)。こってり濃厚なブロスはジンジャーやゆずの味のアクセントがあり、味わい深くボリューミーな絶品。全粒粉を使用した中太縮れ麺はカスタムメイド。 

2. YOROSHIKU
 シアトル一の人気店で、今回ラーメンサミットは初出店となる。北海道出身のオーナーシェフが作る看板メニューは、spycymisho( 店頭価格$14)。白味噌と赤味噌の絶妙な合わせでピリ辛チリを加えたブロスでアメリカ人に大好評。サンフランシスコへの進出を考慮中。

3. Orenchi Beyond
看板メニューは「Beyond ramen」($13.50) で、濃厚な豚骨醤油ベースに魚だしとニンニクを加えたオリジナリティ溢れるリッチな味わいで弾力がある縮れ中太麺とのバランスが良い。新作メニューには、味噌トマトベースのビーガンラーメン、担々麺などが揃う。

4. Marufuku Ramen
正統派、博多スタイル豚骨ベース。20 時間煮込んだブロスとカスタムメイドの風味良いストレート細麺との相性が引き立つ。看板メニューは、HakataTonkotsu ($10.99) で、こってりすぎず好みに合わせた辛さや追加トッピングを選べる。一品料理も豊富でブレーク中。

5. Hinodeya Ramen & Bar
本格的な出汁文化を紹介すべく挑んだ米国初進出店。風味豊かなカツオと昆布の繊細な本格和風だしと中太縮れ麺がブロスと程よく絡み美味しさを引き立たせている。代表ラーメンは、HidenyaRamen ($14) で、割烹風な一品料理も人気。「出汁ラーメン」は他店と差別化され、定評を得ている。
#alljapannews #ramen #trend #SF #JPOPramensamit

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Aiming to be the world’s best tonkotsu ramen specialty restaurant chain, pouring passion into a bowl of ramen

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Aiming to be th... Aiming to be th... Aiming to be th... Aiming to be th... Aiming to be th... Aiming to be th...
By Aya Ota

ICHIRAN” is a natural tonkotsu ramen specialty restaurant chain. Their headquarters are in Hakata, in the Fukuoka Prefecture, and has developed 68 restaurants all over Japan. This company claims themselves to be “the preeminent company researching tonkotsu ramen”, and they narrow down to offer only one type of ramen in the menu. The soup made with 100% tonkotsu (pork-bonebase stock) using special high skills has no unpleasant smell, and “Hiden no Tare (Spicy Red Sauce)” floats in the middle of each bowl. Those are some of the results of the daily study of 40-plus expert artisans in the efforts to try and create true tonkotsu ramen, insisting to use high-quality food ingredients. While the menu is pretty much narrowed down, they provide a special customizing form to respond to each customer’s preferences. On the form, customers can make optional adjustments from the following 7 categories: “Dashi”, “Richness”, “Garlic”, “Scallions”, “Charshu/ Sliced Pork:, “Hiden no Tare /Spicy Red Sauce”. The most unique system they offer must be the way to eat such a particularly-made bowl of ramen; you eat in an individual space separated from the next seat called “the flavor-concentration booth”. After submitting your customization form, and your ramen arrives, the little bamboo blind that hangs in front of you closes, so you can be relaxed, and really concentrate on your ramen. If you want to order extra noodles (kaedama), or a drink, you do not need to call out, but to merely push the call button.

As for their development overseas, they opened the first North American restaurant in Brooklyn, New York in October of 2016 following Hong Kong in 2013. During the preparation period, many doubted if American customers would be willing to eat alone in an individual space. Moreover, the location is not easily accessible, and the region is still under development. It was chosen to also build a factory nearby to be the base of the future development to have more restaurants. Some wondered if people would be willing to go to such a place just to eat ramen. Some thought that $20 for a bowl of ramen would sound too expensive even including tips.

“I was only half-convinced about succeeding at the beginning, but now I feel certainty. I think the same taste, service, and the atmosphere as in Japan are well received in the US,” says Satoshi Komaya, General Manager. More than 100 people formed a line on opening day, and the restaurant has now grown to have people waiting for hours to get in on weekends. Mr. Komaya analyzes the reason for their success in acquiring customers as follows; “Our brand power established in Japan and Hong Kong has been diffused and permeated through SNS such as Instagram and Facebook.” Just like in Japan, they serve only one kind of ramen.

The key ingredients such as the Hiden no Tare and dashi are directly imported from Japan. Other ingredients are locally procured, so it took about 10 years to prepare in order to replicate the same taste locally. They offer only one appetizer and one dessert, and for alcoholic drinks, there are only three; beer, matcha beer, and Japanese sake. The reason for this careful line of selection is only one and the biggest, which is nothing but offering a good match to the ramen. I thought the matcha beer had been selected to take advantage of the matcha boom and be unique; however, it was not the case. It had been specially developed from deep thinking about how well it would match with ramen. “The flavor-concentration booth” is very well accepted, and receives much better comments than other table seating arrangement. Many people say things like, “My sense of taste felt sharper, and I was very impressed!” I believe that all those experiences create added value, and make people willing to wait in line no matter how inconvenient the access is, how long they have to wait, or how expensive ($20) a bowl of ramen is. One change they made to suit New York life style is the table called “Ichiran Yatai”. Most of the customers use “the flavor-concentration booths”, and average length of stay is as short as half an hour. So people started to use this table as a bar to enjoy appetizers and sake with friends before or after eating ramen.

Mr. Komaya predicts, “From now on, ramen restaurants in the US will probably branch out in two ways; specialty restaurants utilizing Japanlike styles, and those which are more locally adopted. So far, what’s spreading in the US is the type of ramen restaurant which serves various dishes and sake in addition to ramen to enjoy varieties. I am certain that “Ichiran” is the kind that can aim for the best in the world as a ramen specialty restaurant,” He also says that the factory has ample producing capacity, and a plan to have more restaurants in the US is under consideration.


一杯のラーメンに情熱を注ぎ込み、とんこつラーメン専門店として世界一を目指す

天然とんこつラーメン専門店『一蘭』。福岡県博多に本店を置き、日本各地に約68店舗を展開する。「とんこつラーメンを世界一研究する会社」と謳う同社では、メニューをラーメン1 種類に絞り込む。高度な特殊製法で作った“100%豚骨で全く臭みなく仕上げたスープ” や、丼の中央に浮かべた“ 元祖・赤い秘伝のタレ” をはじめ、安全で高品質の食材にこだわり、40 人もの熟練職人が日々研究を重ねて、本物のとんこつラーメン作りを極めている。メニューを特化した一方で、客の微妙な好みの違いに応えるために、専用オーダー用紙を用意。「味の濃さ」「こってり度」「にんにく」「チャーシュー」「秘伝のたれ」の7 項目を調整できる仕組みを提供している。最も独特な点は、そのこだわりの一杯を、隣席と仕切った空間「味集中カウンター」で食べることだろう。専用オーダー用紙を提出し、ラーメンが運ばれてきた後は、目の前の簾も閉められ、周囲を気にすることなく、リラックスした状態でラーメンに集中する。替え玉やドリンクの追加注文時も、一切言葉を発する必要はなく、呼び出しボタンを押すだけでいい。

海外展開は2013 年の香港に続き、初の北米店としてニューヨークのブルックリン地区に2016 年10 月に開店。準備段階から「米国人が、個室で、一人でラーメンを食べるのか」との声も多かった。また、立地条件は、アクセスが不便で発展途上の地域。多店舗展開の拠点として工場併設のために選んだ立地だが「こんな場所に、わざわざラーメンを食べに行く人がいるか」と疑う声もあった。チップ込みとは言え「ラーメン1杯20ドルなんて高すぎる」という反応もあった。  

「当初は、自分自身も半信半疑だったが、確かな手応えを感じている。日本と全く同じ味、サービス、雰囲気が米国でも受け入れられている。」と語るのは、同店のジェネラル・マネージャー、米屋聡氏。開店初日には100 人以上が行列、今や、週末には数時間待ちが続く店に成長した。「日本や香港で確立したブランド力が、インスタグラムやフェイスブックなどSNSを通して、国境を越えて拡散・浸透している」と米屋氏は集客成功要因を分析する。日本同様、ラーメンは1 種類のみ。秘伝のタレや出汁などキーとなる食品は日本から直輸入するが、それ以外は現地食材で同じ味を再現すべく、約10 年の準備期間を費やした。前菜もデザートも各1 種類、アルコールもビール、抹茶ビール、日本酒の3 種類しかない。“ ラーメンに合う” という唯一にして最大の理由で厳選された内容だ。抹茶ビールは、近年の抹茶ブームに便乗し奇をてらったメニューかと思いきや、ラーメンとの相性を考え抜いて特別開発されたものだ。「味集中カウンター」も好評で、テーブル席を利用した客よりも、圧倒的に評価が高く「味覚が研ぎ澄まされ、感動した」などの声が多いそうだ。これらすべての体験が付加価値となり、
アクセスが不便であろうが、長時間待とうが、1杯20ドルだろうが、客は列を作るのだろう。ひとつ、ニューヨークらしい変化を遂げたのが「一蘭屋台」と呼ばれるテーブル席。多くの客が「味集中カウンター」を利用し、また平均滞在時間は30 分と短いため、ラーメンを食べる前後に、仲間と共につまみや酒を楽しむバーとして活用されるようになったという。  
 
「今後、米国のラーメンは、日本らしさを生かした専門店と、現地化した店に、二分化していくのではないか」と米屋氏。「これまで米国で広がってきたのは、ラーメンを中心にいろいろな料理や酒を楽しめる“ ラーメン・レストラン”。一蘭は“ ラーメン専門店” として世界一を目指せると確信している」と続ける。現在の工場は十分な生産能力もあるため、店舗を拡大する計画も考察中とのことだ。



ICHIRAN
374 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11206
(718) 381-0491
https://en.ichiran.com/

Everyday 11:00am-11:00pm
Weekday (Monday to Friday)
11:00am-6:00pm

[counter-seats] 6:00pm-11:00pm

[counter-seats & ICHIRAN Yatai seats]
Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) 11:00am-11:00pm

[counter-seats & ICHIRAN Yatai seats]
(Last call 10:30pm)
#alljapannews #Japanese #tonkotsu #ramen #NY

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