Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fun Playing With Ramen in the CLE

Last weekend, the most famous "Noodle Western" in history returned to the big screen in Cleveland - Tampopo, remastered in 4K and restored with only two small scenes still missing. Ask your local art theaters if/when they will be screening it

We originally planned to hit up the Late Night Noodles at Dante for a post-film slurp, but two elements intervened. First, we noticed that a new place, Otani Noodle, had opened at 11472 Euclid Avenue, a stone's throw from the Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art near Uptown. Second, we got out of the movie at about 9:10pm - way too early for Dante at 10:30pm, and still with plenty of time to try Otani before it would close at 10:30pm. My dining companions, who just didn't want to stay out later than necessary, voted to try Otani, and it proved to be a good decision.

Mine: #1 Char-siu. Roast Pork with Soup (I opted for Shoyu (soy sauce) over the default Tonkotsu), Ramen, scallions, kirurage mushroom, seaweed, corn, and boiled egg.

Bob's: #2 Pork Belly. Pork Belly with Tonkotsu Soup, Ramen, scallions, kirurage mushroom, seaweed, boiled egg.

Note that there was no stinky Naruto to throw around. Utterly channeling the ramen experts depicted in the film, I asked if the noodles were, as they tasted, from Sun Noodle Company, which was affirmed. The noodles were cooked to slurpalicious perfection! The broths tasted of house-made freshness, and I confess that I liked the pork belly just a bit better than the roast pork (you can of course get both in one bowl if you want). I also preferred the Shoyu (soy sauce) to the incredibly rich Tonkotsu broth, but both are worthy, and you may customize your bowl with broth, noodle style and toppings of your choice. My dining companion's Tempura-topped bowl also looked and smelled amazing. How did I not know this place was here! That's ok - neither of the countermen had ever heard of Tampopo.

Since neither Otani's website, nor it's Facebook Page has the menu, a scan of the menu we picked up on November 19, 2016 is below. If you live in Cleveland and enjoy Ramen, Otani Noodle should be your go-to.

There is no liquor license, so the beverages described above are your only choices. Like a true Ramen-Ya, the emphasis here is on the soup and noodles. And smiles. And full, happy bellies. Fun Playing With Food at its best.