The glass entryway to the tiny Ramen Lab space on Kenmare was steamed up like a bath house today for a round of early tastings. Despite a curious electrical outage, chef Jack Nakamura was demonstrating his signature dramatic technique for straining the noodles and serving the house's two signature ramens: A classic chicken shoyu made with a clear and ultra concentrated chicken broth and a vegetarian miso ramen made with caramelized miso and oolong tea instead of stock, and topped with spent grains from the xo sauce at Momofuku's Kaizen Trading Company. There will also be a seasonal ramen and gyoza, but little else, other than tea, beer, and sake. The idea is to focus on tradition and ramen education.
The Sun Noodle team, which owns the shop, has painstakingly recreated the feel of a traditional ramen-ya. The space is small even by New York standards, with just 10 seats. The ramen bowls were custom made for the restaurant in Japan with aluminum in the ceramic to keep the soup hot, eggs come on the side, never in the bowl, and one partner even joked about adding timers to encourage American diners to eat quickly, as ramen diners do in Japan. The timers aren't likely to actually make an appearance, but just know that diners who take a long time are probably being judged. This is not a restaurant to dawdle in.
Assuming, the electricity goes back on quickly (as it should), expect an opening in early January, with ramen flights and classes to launch once things settle down.