The ramen game in Denver will change this summer when Jeff Osaka of Twelve will unveil Osaka Ramen, a 70 seat restaurant in RiNo. Located at 26th and Walnut, in a building that will also house Biju's Little Curry Shop, Park Burger, and Zephyr Brewing Co., Osaka Ramen will occupy 2,800 square feet and it will be open all day starting at 11 a.m. seven days a week.
The underground ramen joint, located twenty two steps under street level, will feature a twelve seat bar, an additional ramen counter accommodating 8 or 9 guests in front of an open kitchen, and a variety of tables set in a modern style décor with Japanese pop culture influences.
Osaka pointed out that the options for ramen in Denver are scant- Bones, Uncle, and Oshima- compared to countless choices in other big cities. The chef, who was a semi-finalist for a James Beard award this year, shared that every trip to his hometown of Los Angeles includes a stop at one of the numerous ramen shops around town. What is he craving? Rich pork broth, slow roasted pork belly, a soft poached egg, black garlic oil, fresh cut scallions and the firm bite of noodles all in one bowl.
The menu at Osaka Ramen will star the Ton Kotsu ramen, a rich and deep 24 hour broth made from pork bones and trotters. Four other ramen items will be offered: the Shoyu (chicken and soy), Shio (chicken and salt), and two miso variations-- one made with chicken and pork and the Tan Tan Men, a spicy new-style ramen made with ground pork. The noodles, sourced from Sun Noodle, will vary in size and shape for each of the broths with thinner wavy noodles for the lighter ones to heavier straight noodles for the heavier ones.
Aside from ramen, Osaka promises 20 to 25 izakaya-style items ranging from small pickle plates to fried fish, yakitori skewers, gyoza, and more. Seasonal specials are an option and bento boxes will likely be offered. A well-edited dessert menu will also be available. With a full liquor license, Osaka Ramen plans to serve beer, spirits, wine, and a curated selection of sake, at least 12 to start out.
Reservations will not be accepted, but there may be multiple locations of the eatery coming in the future. Osaka already looked at spaces in Cherry Creek, Wash Park, and the Highlands.