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A New Gourmet Ramen Destination Will Feature Nose-To-Tail And Vegan Options
Two big-name chefs are opening a new ramen spot in the Valley, which will offer a diverse menu made from scratch for both carnivores and vegans to slurp. The new restaurant, which will be known as Oh Man! Ramen, is scheduled to open on Ventura Boulevard in Encino in late summer and will also offer an array of hibachi-grilled dishes and shareable plates in addition to ramen. The concept comes from Luke Reyes, the former executive chef of the meat-friendly Butcher's and Barbers in Hollywood, in partnership with recent Top Chef contestant Phillip Frankland Lee, chef and co-owner of vegan-friendly Gadarene Swine, as well as Scratch Bar & Kitchen, and will be considered the third outpost in the Scratch Restaurant family.
"I've had a love bordering on obsession with ramen for years now," Reyes tells LAist. "When I first started cooking in New York City, it was something that was available late night after shifts, when I could afford it. I ate as many styles of it as I could, as often as I could."
The new ramen destination will open right next door to Lee's Scratch Bar & Kitchen—which relocated last year from La Cienega—and the menu will continue the "from scratch" approach of its neighbor. The restaurant will offer a "whole animal" tonkotsu broth, utilizing parts from the entire pig, which will be a breed specifically raised for the restaurant by Stepladder Farm in Cambria. The ramen will also feature braised pork belly, confit shoulder, bamboo shoot, green onion, soft egg, shiitake mushrooms and bonito flakes. The vegan version will include roasted squash, braised black kale and charred garlic sauce. And both renditions can be made with gluten-free noodles. The duo is also developing their own all-natural version of "MSG" for that flavor-bomb effect without the negative associations.
"The difference between Oh Man! Ramen and other ramen shops around L.A. is that we are specializing in Japanese-American cuisine using French technique," Reyes explains. "There are also twenty dishes that aren't ramen on our menu. Seasonal composed sashimi dishes, market vegetable dishes, and obviously killer gyoza and other things ramen restaurants are known for."
The menu will feature other hot and cold dishes, including a red snapper crudo with white soy, charred tomato, tofu purée, and onion ash; a king crab dynamite 'Monsieur' with brioche and an egg. There will also be gyoza made with salted pork jowl, shrimp and chive flowers, and hibachi salmon collars with lettuce wraps and sesame chili ponzu. You can also expect some delicious Asian-inspired desserts from pastry chef Margarita Lee—who also happens to be Phillip's wife—which will include a soft-serve ice cream.
Reyes is also working on a series of pre-batched classic bottled cocktails with an Asian twist, in addition to the beer and wine menu.
In recent years, Reyes has put in time in ramen kitchens around L.A. to develop his skills and the two chefs will be traveling to Japan in the coming months to research and further develop their approach.
The 1,925 square-foot space will seat 16 people at the ramen bar, 20 at a communal table, and offer three 4-top booths. It will feature an open kitchen, so you can watch all the action. And they'll be utilizing the "no server" model found at Scratch Bar and Gadarene Swine, where instead the kitchen staff will greet and serve guests.
Oh Man! Ramen will be open for lunch and dinner and be located at 16101 Ventura Boulevard, No. 242, Encino.