This is getting serious, guys.
Let it be known that Josh Hebert -- chef/owner at Posh -- is a friend, he's always wanted to open a ramen shop, and I've been trying to goad him into it for going on two years now. But I think he's starting to get serious about it, and it's showing in the food. Tonight wasn't "Hey, let's throw together a ramen night for the hell of it." He's been working on these recipes, and they're getting really
good. And he's doing them for one more night.
One of the things I love about ramen is that there's always a framework, but within that framework there's a lot of room to express your own style. There are so many great bowls of ramen that walk the line between familiar and new, little twists that add up to new experiences while still honoring the form. That's what's going on here. This is clearly Josh's
ramen, but it's just as clear that he understands and appreciates ramen. He's doing four bowls tomorrow night -- shoyu (soy sauce), goma (sesame), spicy miso and vegetarian -- I had two of them tonight, and they were both extremely
I've had this before from him, but not this good. He's figured something out, and we were talking about it. He was saying that he was trying to do too much with the broth, trying to get too much viscosity, too much richness out of the stock, and it wasn't quite coming out right. So he took it in the other direction... he dialed the broth back a bit, and let the tare -- the seasonings -- do the work instead. And it's like a light bulb going off. This is a fairly creative shoyu ramen, but it's the right kind of creative, where it captures the essence of the dish. This is big flavor for shoyu ramen. It's not a light, classic Tokyo style bowl. There's a lot of rich depth -- an unusual amount for shoyu -- such that it's almost buttery. They're Tokyo-style noodles, I think, fairly thin and a little kinky, with good bite. And Josh likes to pile on the toppings... chashu, egg, nori, bamboo, bean sprouts, fish cake, carrot, scallion, bonito... it's an unusual amount of toppings, but I really like how the freshness of it plays off the richness of the broth. I asked him about the bamboo. I was a little surprised at first that it wasn't menma (fermented), but the way he's done this, I think that cleaner flavor actually works better. He's said he's not happy with the pork. He couldn't get the right cut for this week, so it's too lean. And I agree, it needs to be a fattier cut. But that's easily correctable. The rest is there. This is a really delicious bowl of ramen.
I had to try another. I got the goma as well. He was saying that the place he used to go to on the corner when he lived in Tokyo did a goma ramen that was almost peanut buttery in its thickness, with a good hit of sweetness. I've had his goma ramen before, and it was good, but again -- he finally figured it out. This was a different beast, and it was delicious
. The intensity is there. Too much sweetness is something I'm leery of, but he put it in just the right place to make it kind of sweetly comforting, to play off that nuttiness, but without going over the line and becoming cloying. Mine was fairly spicy, too. He'll adjust to order, but I told him to make it the way he likes it. Tons of slivered scallions on this one, more chashu, some sliced chiles, lots of toasted sesame. I can't say which one I enjoyed more. They're both on.
He's really taken his game up a level. And what's great is that both of these bowls are delicious, they're both grounded in good technique and tradition, and they're both completely approachable. Though I love weird, esoteric subgenres of ramen, these aren't some weird challenging tangents that are going to throw people for a loop. They're just really good
. I wish we could get this from him more often than once every few months or so. But I know he's always wanted to open a ramen shop, and I think he's seriously looking into it. He's doing the ramen after regular service, from 10 PM to midnight. We have an outing planned
tomorrow night (Thursday), and I'd really urge everybody to grab this while you have the chance. A killer ramen shop would be a beautiful thing to have in town, and I think a little bit of support might go a long way towards making that happen.