On Friday Michi Ramen made its grand reopening in a brick and mortar. For those of you that didn’t make it to the food truck when it was open, it was excellent. I reviewed it here, and have been anticipating their return for months. As Austin’s first business fully devoted to ramen, they broke important ground. I’m so glad they are back.
I met a couple friends for lunch at the soft opening. Having only been open or an hour or so, I have to say the service was pretty flawless. The staff were extremely excited to be there and expressed enjoyment over their tablet ordering system. The feel is modern and clean, with airy white space being the main backdrop. It’s quite comfortable and there’s even a cozy waiting area.
I had a diet soda, but my friends sampled the teas. I was jealous of their teapots.
There are about ten sides on the menu. We tried the Seaweed Salad, Gyoza, and Chashu Don (steamed rice with bonito flakes and burnt ends.) The burnt ends are available on their own as a side and I will definitely order that next time, because they were redonk. The sides were all large and sharable. We had plenty of leftovers.
There are four ramen options: Michi, Sapporo, Veggie and Meat Lover’s. As the Meat Lover’s is an amped up version of the Michi, we skipped that one, knowing that we were truly sampling the main varieties.
Michi: Chashu pork, roasted nori, woodear mushrooms, green onions, and mayu oil with shoyu tonkotsu broth.
Sapporo: Chashu pork, bean sprouts, woodear mushrooms, green onions, sweet corn and a knob of butter with miso tonkotzu broth.
Veggie: Mix of chives, sprouts and cabbage, woodear mushrooms, and green onions with shoyu vegetable broth.
One cool thing that Michi does is adjusts broth thickness for you. You have your choice of light, regular, or stout, with the exception of the veggie, which is naturally on the lighter side. I went with the regular, as it is plenty rich for me, but diehard ramenheads will want to check out the stout, which is named as a nod to Austin’s local beer craftsmen.
In the photos you’ll see that the chashu is pork belly, but Michi has since decided to switch to pork shoulder, which is what they used when they operated out of the truck. It will still be flavorful and tender, but cut down on the richness a bit. This is a good thing.
There are lots of add-ons and extras to be had, and we each ordered eggs, either Ajitama (marinated, soft-boiled) or Onsen (lightly poached) and they were all creamy, delicate, and delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed the ramen, slurping away and savoring the broth.
The sweet end to the meal was the incredible Mochi. Made in Hawaii and flown in on dry ice, this is the best I’ve ever had. We tried the Passion Fruit and Pistachio, but they are eight other flavors to chose from including Guava, Green Tea, Peanut Butter, and Lychee.
Those of you who are already ramen-initiated will love it here. Those of you who haven’t tried ramen yet…what are you waiting for?
So now we have a few ramen options in Austin and there are rumors that more are coming. Before you rush to rank them against one another, I suggest you enjoy each one for what it is. They are all very different. Think of these businesses the same as you would beer brewers, hard working craftsmen that put in the intense labor and time sheerly for the love and passion of the end result. This is ancient soul food we are talking about here. It takes many hours to cook and has been honed for over a century. Take your time to get to know each bowl.
Michi Ramen is located at 6519 North Lamar and is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Check it out and let me know what you think.