Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Otaku Ramen

I enjoy ramen, and I'm not talking the cheap grocery store kind.  I was super pumped for Otaku Ramen to open in the Gulch, because I'd had their hot chicken buns at a local festival.

Sorry I didn't snag exterior and interior shots, but it was raining (killed outdoor shot) and crowded (killed indoor shot) but it was a warm and wonderful sanctuary from the weather.  My photos for this post were rushed, because I was on a business lunch and didn't want to take too long with pics, as I might look like "that girl" who takes photos of every bite she eats... which I am, but whatever.

We had to wait a minute for a seat, given the small space and busy weekday lunch timing, but it was worth it!  We were seated at the bar, which gives some good vantage points of the meal prep.  I like the minimalist, intimate setting; it feels like a little ramen shop should, though I bet they could expand and still have a crowd.  It feels good to see a crowd at a restaurant, because it kind of signals to you that it's good, right?

Credit: My interior photos sucked, so here's one by Justin Chesney for Nashville Eater

At lunch, they offered a "set" where you could get one bun and a sauce accompaniment with your ramen, so of course I used the opportunity to get another hot chicken bun.  The "bun" is a fried spicy chicken on a steamed bao bun,  a neat take on the traditional Nashville hot chicken.  Of course it's served with a dill pickle, and there's also a kewpie slaw.  I loved that the chicken wasn't too greasy, and the softness of bao buns makes me happy.  I think it's one of my favorite hot chicken dishes in the city as a result.

I used the spicy Korean (gochujang-esque) sauce for my ramen, not the bun!

For my ramen, I chose the TN Tonkotsu: pork bone broth, pork confit, woodear mushroom, black garlic oil, scallion, and an egg.  I mean, those are all delicious things, all in one bowl!  The portion size was very generous.  It felt like a bottomless bowl, because I'm not accustomed to eating a ton of ramen in a sitting like you're supposed to (I know, I'm such a fake foodie), but I'm not complaining!  I loved the runny-ness of the egg, and the bowl was full of flavor.  I slurped it down happily.  Great portion size!

I can't wait to get back to Otaku Ramen!  And given the number of restaurants in Nashville that I still need to try, that's saying something.  I think next time I'll try the Paitan, their chicken ramen dish.  I feel like this is ramen comfort in a nutshell.

P.S.  Looking for ramen in East Nashville?  Head back to my 2014 review of Two Ten Jack, another great spot!  Both restaurants are on point when it comes to delicious ramen.

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