Contributor Hannah Lowe just attended the last Johnny Noodle King ramen pop up, and she has all of the details on what the menu will look like, how the food tastes, and their estimated timeline for opening.
Johnny Noodle King [Photo: All Photos Hannah Lowe]
Johnny Noodle King hosted another pop-up dinner Monday night at Green Dot Stables in anticipation of the ramen restaurant's opening (no firm date yet, as some final operational items are still being completed).
Green Dot Stables owners, Jacques and Christine Driscoll, held the ramen pop-up to continue to build enthusiasm for their next venture, Johnny Noodle King. And it seems to be working. Jacques Driscoll noted that over the course of a few pop-ups, he recognizes fewer and fewer people, meaning word is definitely spreading about the fun and affordable ramen concept.
Johnny Noodle King will be the first ramen restaurant in Detroit. Driscoll is excited by the opening of Slurping Turtle in Ann Arbor, a Japanese noodle restaurant from Chef Takashi Yagihashi of Top Chef Masters and Great Chefs fame. The ramen trend is finally reaching Metro Detroit from the coasts, and these hotly anticipated restaurants will likely only help hype the buzz around town.
After a recent trip to Tokyo, Driscoll was inspired to create some riffs on the traditional Japanese cuisine. The pop-up dinner Monday featured a red curry ramen and a shoyu ramen (egg, nori, pork belly, scallion, bonito flakes, bamboo, naruto). Also on the menu, a limited number of orders of mackerel filets, torched tableside for a hot/crispy top and a cool/sashimi-like bottom: a twist on traditional sushi. Driscoll said he hopes to recreate that dish at the restaurant, but it will be an experiment in logistics and feasibility.
Johnny Noodle King's menu is still evolving as Driscoll and his chef are continuing to experiment with new flavors, however the current plan is to have eight ramen bowls: four traditionally Japanese and four "fun" bowls that are a play on the traditional (such as the red curry perhaps).
The pop-up Monday drew a sizeable crowd, and the chefs worked quickly on Green Dot's patio to individually cook each portion of ramen noodles; each bowl was meticulously prepared and each ingredient layered in separately to create a fresh and un-muddled flavor. If this same careful approach is taken in the restaurant, then diners will be in for some gourmet food in a casual setting.
The pop-up was capped off with artisan Mexican ice pops from Alegria Pops, in flavors such as lychee-tamarind, mango-horchata and marzipan-dusted strawberry-rhubarb, all served out of a small iced push-cart.
So while no firm opening date for Johnny Noodle King has been set, Monday night's pop-up claimed to be the final one before the restaurant opens. Sounds like sometime in mid-to-late summer may be the time frame, assuming all operational elements fall into place. Stay tuned to Johnny Noodle King's Facebook page for the announcement.-By Hannah Lowe
· Johnny's Noodle King Official Page [Facebook]
· Johnny Noodle King Brings Ramen To Detroit