RiNo has its first ramen shop now with Tengu, a new restaurant neighbor to Will Call in the Industry development. Among the most anticipated openings of this later part of the year, Tengu is a two-in-one sort of spot: There is the noodle shop on the main floor and a Japanese tavern in the boiler room downstairs. Bonus: the bar area that leads to the tavern is its own intimate space that features some seating and a standing rail (try leaning on it when you hang out with friends), towered by custom made wood-clad light fixtures that bring soft dim light to the space.
Guests enter the unassuming ramen shop from the street and can choose to be seated in the counter section where they can enjoy all the action in the kitchen, at the long and sleek community table in the center of the room, or at individual tables along the wall outfitted with a banquette. A black and white art piece lines that wall. The minimalist dining room is furnished custom-made three-legged stools made with Japanese joinery, a carpentry process that uses no nails or glue.
The menu matches the restrained approach of the design: There are five kinds of ramen offered, ranging from the veggie miso broth (with mushrooms, bean sprouts, pickled ginger, cabbage, scallions, and nori) to the rich chicken and pork broth combo (spicy bamboo shoots, egg, bean shoots, and scallions). All five of them are $10. Want more? There is a Japanese curry, three sides (pork or veggie gyoza), Japanese side salad, and a small selection of drinks, beer, and sake. Starting at 3 p.m., several yakitori items are served that will also be available at the Tavern.
Speaking of the Tavern, it will open for happy hour daily (minus Sundays) at 3 p.m. The downstairs space has two areas: one mostly clad in a natural colored wood where L-shaped tables can accommodate couples interested in a drink and quick bite, and the Boiler room. The latter is a 30 foot ceiling slightly cavernous dark space that is more suited for groups. A small selection of beer on tap is offered here alongside large format beer and sake bottles, as well as food suited for sharing. There's no ramen downstairs, only of $6 yakitori like chicken, tofu, pork meatballs, mushrooms and shishito peppers.
Tengu, located at 3053 Brighton Boulevard, is open and dinner Monday through Saturday starting at 11 a.m. and until 9 p.m. The tavern open at 3 p.m. on the same days.