We broke the news over the summer about Ramen Shop (5812 College Avenue), the new Oakland venture from former Chez Panisse host Sam White and partners Jerry Jaksich and former Chez Panisse cook Rayneil De Guzman, and just in time for the wintry part of winter it's ready for its debut. Tablehopper noted that December 27 was supposed to be opening day, but we see that Oakland-based Chow scribe John Birdsall was already tweeting about the place last weekend, praising De Guzman's ukoy fritters (Filipino shrimp fritters), so it sounds like there have been some soft-opening events already. [Update: White alerts that an inspection delay has pushed the official opening to January 4.] Also, they're doing staggered seatings all night for New Year's Eve, for which advance tickets are now available.
We've been looking forward to this latest entry in the local ramen boom for five months now, so this is fairly exciting especially for East Bay denizens. As we discussed earlier, they're spit-roasting Llano Seco pork on-site to make the most authentic, porky tonkotsu broth, and the idea is to draw on the Chez Panisse way of using culinary traditions, in this case Japanese, and riffing on them with California product. Rather than focusing on specific, regional style of ramen, they're doing a variety, with three broth options shoyu, miso, and the heavyiest, tonkotsu. A few toppings you can expect for the winter: Dungeness crab, wild mushrooms, and wok-sautéed nettles.
White has worked with Japanese flavors before, having founded the roving art/food project OPENrestaurant and taking the group, along with a group of Bay Area chefs, on a Japanese tour during the first rice harvest after the earthquake and tsunami last year. Jaksich actually lived for six years in Japan, working in ramen joints and yakitori spots, and between the three of them, this promises to be destination-worthy, and a winning addition to an already foodinista neighborhood.
Also, bartender Christa Manolo (previously at Beretta), is doing the cocktail program, which will reportedly include some special stuff from Alameda-based St. George Spirits.
This soft-opening period could be unpredictable, and we'll update you with a menu and any further info as we receive it.
Ramen Shop - 5812 College Avenue at Oak Grove - 510-788-6370
First Look at Ramen Shop in Rockridge [Tablehopper]
Earlier: 23 Things We’re Still Excited for This Fall
More Details on Ramen Shop, Due in Rockridge Later This Year
Exclusive: Chez Panisse Guy Sam White to Open Northern-Californian Ramen Shop in Rockridge