Near the left corner in the lobby of the Townhouse Hotel in Miami Beach, a dim light leads down a flight of stairs. A few steps later, find an entryway surrounded by walls lined with obscure anime drawings. As of November 2016, K Ramen Burger Beer has made this small space its home, whipping up an eclectic batch of dinnertime plates.
The eatery's name reveals what this place is about: ramen, burgers, and a variety of international beers. There's also poke. Using Japanese and American inspiration, K Ramen brings fine dining into an exceedingly casual setting.
The concept, created by SBE Hospitality, debuted in Los Angeles in February 2016 as a pop-up concept. At the time, the idea was to merge L.A.'s most fashionable foods into an affordable and even more fashionable locale (which explains the low lighting and anime-centric design). The restaurant was a hit and quickly became a permanent staple.
As SBE has taken over the Townhouse Hotel, which was built in 1939, it seemed fitting to bring the Asian-American mashup to Miami Beach. For more than a decade, the space was home to Bond St. Lounge, a southern outpost of New York City's sexy sushi spot. The opening of K Ramen is reminiscent of Bond St. Lounge's allure and mystery (it's hidden in a basement, after all).
K Ramen's decor — flat-screen TVs playing anime shows and walls draped with hundreds of animated characters — gives the assumption that the eatery is solely Japanese. But that's not the case. Yes, the restaurant serves a variety of ramen and poke dishes, including the K Poke ($16), a tuna bowl blended with a creamy, spicy sauce; and lobster ramen ($18), packed with green onion, golden chives, and a marinated egg in a kimchee-and-lobster-butter broth. There are also hand rolls ($6 to $7) — spicy tuna and spicy salmon — packed with freshly cut fish and scallions and cucumber, or avocado and yuzu kosho aioli.
But swap your chopsticks for some silverware and order spicy chicken wings ($8) or Cubano spring rolls ($8) stuffed with pork, Swiss cheese, and mustard-seed vinaigrette.
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Another star on K Ramen's menu is its signature burger ($16). The massive, half-pound, double-patty sandwich, which is more than enough for two to share, is packed with caramelized onion, tomato, American cheese, and the restaurant's spicy cream sauce. Add avocado or a fried egg for extra flavor, and snag an order of crispy tots on the side.
Pair your meal with a brew such as Sapporo or Kirin Ichiban or a local favorite from Funky Buddha or Concrete Beach. There's also sake.
K Ramen Burger Beer is open nightly from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, visit sbe.com.
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