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.
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.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
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.
Follow Clarissa Buch on Instagram and Twitter