It has been predicted that 2016 will be the Year of Ramen, and St. Louis is ahead of the game. The Japanese noodle soup has been gaining traction nationwide, and several shops – focusing exclusively on the dish – have opened in St. Louis.
As first reported by St. Louis Magazine, the city’s newest ramen shop, “Nudo,” will open in Creve Coeur at 11423 Olive Street Road next year.
Owner Qui Tran is no stranger to the restaurant biz. He is co-owner of the popular Brentwood Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant, Mai Lee, and tells St. Louis magazine that Nudo has been a work in progress for the last three years, “I was surprised St. Louis didn’t have any noodle houses…I figured it was time,” he says.
For months, Tran and Nudo’s executive chef, Marie-Anne Velasco, dedicated their days to the craft of ramen. Authentic ramen is prepared in a meat or fish-based broth, flavored with soy or miso sauce and is often topped with ingredients like green onion and egg. The duo carefully examined their favorite things about the dish from around the world and incorporated them into their own recipes. Tran tells Feast Magazine to expect dishes like “pork tonkotsu ramen, a soy sauce-based shoyu ramen and a chicken schmaltz offering, as well as a few types of pho.”
Though traditionally made with a pork-based broth, Tran tells Feast that he is particularly excited about Nudo’s use of chicken stock, “We wanted to touch on the chicken ramen because we tasted it and it was amazing, and knowing that there are some dietary restrictions, we didn’t want to close anyone off…it’s not as common – we only had it once in all of our R&D. We couldn’t believe you could get that many levels of flavor on chicken.”
And with coaching from Shigetoshi “Jack” Nakamura, known as “master of ramen,” it’s safe to say Tran has done his research.
Over the next few months, the former Einstein Bros. Bagels space will transform into one of the city’s highly anticipated ramen houses. The fast casual, 65-seat restaurant will open to the public in the summer of 2016.