Noodle News: Ramen Gaijin Pops-Up at The Barlow Sebastopol
For all the excellent dining choices in Sonoma County, we haven’t had much to choose from in the way of fresh ramen noodles. But thanks to the new Ramen Gaijin, we can now slurp the savory soups in Sebastopol.
There’s one caveat: The pop-up eatery is only open every other Monday, inside Woodfour Brewing Company at The Barlow. And if opening night on July 28 was any indication, diners are going to have to count on some luck to get their noodle bowls.
That’s because shop owners and chefs Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman sold 120 orders in the first few hours, then ran out of soup. The crowds had nearly overwhelmed them, and about 50 or so customers had to leave empty-handed (or empty-tummied).
The next pop-up is slated for Aug. 11, and Williams and Hahn-Schuman plan to have a lot more ingredients on hand, so everyone can get fed. Still, Williams recommends folks arrive early for the 5:30 to 10 p.m. feasts, just to be safe.
This isn’t just any ramen, either. Williams has worked at upscale restaurants across Colorado, Provence in France, Seattle, and California, most recently Osteria Stellina and Meadowood. Hahn-Schuman works at the Shed in Healdsburg, but has also worked at Willowside Café in Graton, Manzanita Creek Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Woodfour, and San Francisco’s former Azie. He’s also been a guest chef at The Casino Bar & Grill in Bodega for the last three years.
So the ramen begins with homemade, toasted rye noodles. Then, it’s crafted into two recipes: shoyu with Devil’s Gulch Ranch pork belly chashu, a six-minute hen egg, bamboo shoots, Tokyo leeks, wakame and woodear mushrooms; or miso with Bloomsdale spinach, applewood smoked maitake mushrooms, buttered corn, leeks, egg and wakame.
The menu changes a bit week to week, but on opening night, guests also enjoyed a Gem lettuce salad with radishes, puffed brown rice and herbs in miso ranch dressing; seafood sunomono with king salmon, cucumber, carrot, burnt sesame and earth and sea grasses; and karaage of fried chicken thigh with pea shoots, mustard, sichimi togarashi and shiro vinaigrette. For dessert, there was blackberry sorbet with yuzu curd, coconut and sesame granola and blackberries.
Whatever ends up in the bowl or on the plate, it’s all good. Williams says that most of Ramen Gaijin’s ingredients are Sonoma County-sourced.