Ramen and especially sushi are taking the world by storm. There is an endless amount of unique and scrumptious ways to prepare both dishes. Asian restaurants and caterers everywhere are doing just that. Here are five in Minneapolis.
There are snow cones, there are ice cream cones … and, believe it or not, there are sushi cones. At least there are at Gohan. Yes, the sushi rolls provided by the local sushi catering company (which also operates a mobile pop-up sushi bar) are cone-shaped. Gohan has on-site sushi-making classes and offers hand roll boxes for smaller groups wanting fewer than 100 rolls. “We do the cone-shaped rolls because they’re quicker to roll and simple to learn how to do,” says Christi Kue, who, along with her husband Kou, is a co-owner. “And they’re really easy to eat because you can walk around with them and just bite into them like an ice cream cone. They don’t require chopsticks. The sauces already come on it. It’s wrapped in seaweed, so the whole thing is edible. We can get them out faster than a traditional sushi roll.”
The sushi-making classes have a 10-person minimum. “We go to businesses, peoples’ houses, that kind of thing,” Kue says. “The hand-roll bento box is like a lunch box kit. It’s a three-tiered box that comes with about 45 hand rolls, which are called Temaki in Japanese. It has sushi rice, precut slices of fish and vegetables, and eating utensils like tongs and housemade sauces. It also has step-by-step instructions. It’s almost like make-your-own sushi. Some people prefer to have a sushi chef roll it for them.”
Sushi-making classes with some hands-on experience is what guests receive at Coastal Seafoods. Beginners and advanced classes are offered. “The beginners class focuses more on the preparation of the rice, the rolling, and some products that are more common or more approachable to beginners eating sushi like tuna and salmon,” says Ryan Sieloff, retail director. “The advanced class focuses on more different, difficult types of rolling like insideout rolls and offers more unusual items like unagi. In both classes, one dish at a time is prepared. You eat as you go. Both classes are good for team-building.”
The classes, which last about two-and-ahalf hours, can accommodate up to 15 guests, but that number will soon be rising. “We’re moving our location across the street, hopefully by the end of the year,” Sieloff says. “Once we’re at our new location, we’ll be able to host larger groups.”
moto-i is a sake brewery and restaurant. “Sake is a brewed and fermented Japanese alcoholic drink,” says Director of Operations Katie Muller. “We were the first sake brewpub outside of Japan.”
moto-i is also known for its Izakaya- and Asian-inspired small plates, including ramen dishes. “Classic Ramen is one of our most popular ramen items,” Muller says. “It’s shoyu broth, smoked pork shoulder, pork belly, scallion and poached egg. Another favorite ramen dish is Maitake Abura Ramen, a brothless ramen with maitake mushrooms, roasted vegetables and a poached egg [vegan and vegetarian]. Shio Chicken Ramen is another popular ramen item. It’s chicken broth with roasted chicken, mushrooms, nori and poached egg.”
Three private event spaces are available. Ramen Alley can accommodate up to 20 guests for a seated dinner and up to 30 for a cocktail party. The second-floor Big Boy Lounge can host up to 30 guests seated and up to 80 standing. Stryker’s Lookout is a rooftop patio that can accommodate up to 100 guests.
Origami serves both ramen and sushi dishes. The most popular sushi roll is the NeverEnding Summer roll, which is tempura asparagus, cilantro and yellow fin tuna on the inside, and more yellow fin tuna, avocado and black pepper on the outside. It is served with a simmer sauce, which is citrus soy. Another favorite sushi roll is the Miyabi, which is marinated crab, masago, cucumber, avocado and Japanese mayo on the inside and salmon, mango puree and dried red pepper on the outside.
“Our most popular ramen dish is the Spicy Miso Ramen in which the broth is made with spicy miso and rayu, a Japanese spicy oil,” says Junior Williams, bar manager. “Another favorite ramen item is the Tonkatsu, which has pork belly, bamboo shoots, fish cake, green onions, bean sprouts, pickled red ginger and poached egg.”
A semiprivate mezzanine area can accommodate up to 25 guests seated and up to 30 standing.
Zen Box Izakaya
In the mood for some Japanese comfort food, especially ramen? Then Zen Box Izakaya is for you.
One popular ramen dish is the Tonkotsu Ramen, a creamy broth made from Heritage Pork Bone. Two other favorite ramen items are the Kimchi, which is a creamy pork bone broth with a kimchi base, and Kamo Shoyu Ramen.
“It’s a relaxed, casual place,” says owner Lina Goh. “We also have a private dining room that can seat up to 26 guests seated and up to 50 standing.”