Ramen fans in Coral Gables can look forward to a steaming bowl of goodness when Ichimi opens this Friday, January 29.
Ichimi, which means "dedicated to" in Japanese, will feature modern takes on traditional ramen, gyoza, and izakaya dishes while still paying respect to classical Japanese styles.
The 2,000-square-foot restaurant, located at 2330 Salzedo St. in Coral Gables, will seat 60 people indoors and six outside. Ichimi will also feature a beer and sake room, with a view of the restaurant's noodle-making machine.
That machine, one of only ten in the United States, can crank out enough noodles to make 200 bowls of ramen per hour. The soulful dish will be offered in three preparations: traditional ramen, with the noodles swimming in a warm broth; tsukemen, where cold noodles are served with a side of hot broth for dipping; and a salad-like plate of cold ramen noodles mixed with proteins and vegetables.
Traditional ramen offerings include tonkotsu (pork belly, hanjuku egg, bamboo shoots, takana, and bean sprouts); seafood (clams, shrimp, garlic confit, lemongrass, micro radish, pea tendrils, and scallion); and veggie (mushrooms, mung bean, scallions, bamboo shoots, and red pepper). Tsukemens include noodles with lobster broth and Maine lobster, scallions, pea tendrils, micro carrot greens, and micro bok choy; "shrooooms" with red miso, sautéed mushrooms, micro radishes, scallions, bean sprouts, and dehydrated red pepper; and an Italian carbonara version with creamed egg, diced pork belly, shallots, garlic confit, scallions, and micro broccoli. Cold ramen dishes include a mushroom ramen salad, an avocado ramen salad, and tonkatsu demi, to which guests can add shrimp, beet, pork belly, or vegetables.
Though prices haven't been set, expect about a $25 dinner check per person.
The man behind the ramen is executive chef Constantine De Lucia. He has worked at Momi Ramen, Lure Fishbar, and Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis and is looking forward to marrying his Italian background, classic culinary training, and experience at Ichimi. "I like ramen. I like the texture — It can be bouncy and al dente at the same time. There's a comfort to ramen, and I think Miami is ready to try something new."
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De Lucia isn't afraid to experiment with Italian and Asian flavors. "I don't see where the difference is. Noodles are noodles. There's no problem in putting the flavors together." A good example is using arborio rice in the congee. "It's better and creamier."
The one thing the chef won't play around with is the quality of the ingredients. "We're fresh and local. All broths are made in house from scratch. Some of them use about 100 pounds of bones to make. Dumplings are all made in house, and of course the noodles are. Basically, we're serving craft beer, craft sake, and craft ramen."
Ichimi opens at 4 p.m. Friday, January 29, and will be open for lunch weekly from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner will be served Monday and Tuesday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 6 to 11:30 p.m.
A Miami Beach location in the South of Fifth neighborhood is scheduled to open in April.