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Los Angeles' First Vegan Ramen Shop Coming To Grand Central Market

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Grand Central Market (Photo by juliewolfson306 via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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By Jessica Hamlin

The chef best known for bringing bacon-wrapped matzo balls and Manischewitz-braised pork belly to Los Angeles is returning to downtown Los Angeles, but this time with a completely vegan menu.

Ilan Hall, the Top Chef season 2 winner who opened recently-shuttered The Gorbals at the Alexandria Hotel, plans to open L.A.’s first vegan ramen shop late summer in the burgeoning Grand Central Market.

Hall reassures his fans that the flair and flavor isn’t going anywhere.

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"Our food isn't only for vegans,” Hall said in a statement. “We plan to showcase the versatility of fruits and vegetables in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Our underlying goal is to be creative, have fun with our food and make it healthy and appealing to everyone. People should stop by and have a meal to find out what it's like to eat vegetables like meat.”

The plant-based pho and ramen menu will include entrées such as Khop Ramen-doenjang broth, curry-roasted celeriac and kimchi, and Pho-ginger-onion broth, rice noodles, lime, basil, cilantro and smoked tofu. Appetizers include BBQ beet buns dressed in hoisin sauce and pickles. There's truly something for everyone here: each ramen dish will also have a gluten-free option.

The kitchen at the yet-to-be-named eatery will be helmed by former Gorbals alum Rahul Khopkar, who developed an appreciation for the now ubiquitous “farm-to-table” practices while working at Napa Valley’s Archetype.

The vegan noodle joint will join the likes of other new Grand Central Market eateries like the recently opened Madcapra falafel shop from renowned Brooklyn chefs Sara Kramer and Sara Hymanson, La Tostadería ceviche bar from Fernando Villagomez and Bombo by Chef Mark Peel. A beer and food counter from Golden Road Brewery and fresh pasta bar by Union Chef Bruce Kalman are also slated to open at Grand Central Market.

There's been a boomlet of nontraditional (dare we say hipster?) ramen places in the last few years. There's the sleek, tech-savvy Tatsu Ramen on Melrose, some "out-of-the-box ramen" in Monterey Park, and Urban Ramen was revamped and hipsterized. The Eggslut guys have Ramen Champ. And then there's the ramen burger, of course.

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Jessica Hamlin is a journalist, web producer and editor born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. So she’s, like, a bonafide Valley Girl. Jessica formerly worked as an editor for AOL’s hyperlocal news start-up Patch and her work has appeared on KPCC’s website and in LA Downtown News, Pasadena Weekly and Pasadena Magazine. A Kombucha addict passionate about wellness and nutrition, Jessica likes making and discovering tasty and healthy food and started taking pictures of meals back when everyone used film cameras. You can find her work on her website, Twitter and Instagram.