As the warmer months approach, menus are changing all over the city. The same is true at Tokio. Chef and owner Miki Hashimoto wanted to put a ramen dish on his menu that people would crave even on a hot day. "When people think of ramen, they think of a hot cup of soup. But this summer, when people talk about ramen, I would love for this dish to come up in that conversation."
He debuted this cold ramen dish, titled "Men In Black" at the end of March, hoping to gain traction before the summer. The name is a riff on the ingredients: the word "men" means noodles in Japanese. The "in black" comes from the seaweed oil that tops the dish.
The chef makes a sauce out of olive oil, soy, sake, sugar, kelp, fish powder, and oyster sauce. He allows it to marinate at least for a few hours, if not overnight before serving it with the noodles. The noodles are cooked through, but chilled by rinsing with cold water. They sit in the bowl on top of a piece of seaweed.
The toppings give the dish dimension and variety: the star of that list is the shrimp tempura and red ginger tempura. Both are fried fresh and add a perfect crunch. He also adds a boiled egg and spinach, a fish cake, cucumber, pickled bamboo and scallions. It's finished with the seaweed and red chile pepper.
"Every dish, every ramen has its own character. This dish is fun because it has a Japanese identity but with an Italian accent. We don't use olive oil in any other ramen dish on the menu."
The dish will be served for a limited time only, available for dinner and late night just through the summer.