The gist: Named for the nickname chef Morimoto was given by his staff, this new restaurant from the Iron Chef is all about two things: ramen and sake. Opening this Friday, April 8, it also marks the first Midtown opening for Morimoto and his first ramen restaurant. It joins his existing six restaurants around the country, including his sleek sushi shop in Chelsea.
The food: At Momosan Ramen, Morimoto will demonstrate his unique spin on the Japanese soup — including tonkotsu (shown at top), a creamy broth sporting soy tare, pork chashu, aji-tama kikurage, takana, garlic oil and nori. Additional ramen highlights include chicken and coconut, and all options come in two sizes. There are also rice entrees, like the tare meshi with takana, nori, sweet chashu sauce, osen tamago, as well as a bevy of appetizers. Appetizers include the tetsunabe gyoza (pork and chive gyoza dumplings served on an iron skillet with scallion ginger sauce; shown above) and marinated yellowfin tuna with tataki kyuri and taberu rayu. Check out the full menu below.
The drinks: Sake is listed in the restaurant's name for a reason. With a menu offering a variety of regional sakes, drinks here are designed to complement all of the dishes, but especially the ramen. Served in a masu box, aka traditional cup, 13 sakes are available by the glass, as are several sake/shochu/wine-based cocktails — including the Lemongrass Spritz with Morimoto's own junmai sake, lemongrass syrup and lemongrass bitters
The space: The 60-seat space is modern, casual and simple — an upgraded take on classic ramen restaurants. Floor-to-ceiling windows adorn the restaurant's front, providing light throughout the day. Tables are set with traditional condiments (Sriracha sauce, a sesame seed grinder, Japanese black pepper, soy sauce and rice vinegar), while white-painted, exposed brick walls add the final touch. Don't miss the Italian meat grinder at the bar, where chefs slice pork chashu as a form of dinner entertainment.
The details: The venue will open for dinner only its first weekend and begins lunch service Monday, April 11. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday (11:30 AM–3:30 PM, 5–11 PM) and Sundays, dinner only (4–10:30 PM).
342 Lexington Ave.; 646-201-9273