As part of his ongoing dinner series, chef David Santos hosted a ramen pop-up dinner at his restaurant, Louro, in New York’s West Village on Monday, September 22. There were seatings every hour on the hour between 6 and 10 p.m., and the menu consisted of six amazingly flavorful courses.
To begin the evening, guests were treated to an amuse-bouche of fried baby Spanish mackerel with lemon and smoked paprika aioli, followed by a second course of Hamachi crudo with pickled pluots, lemon verbena, and puffed grains. Hamachi crudo has been popping up on many menus around the city of late, but you will be hard-pressed to find one that’s more delicately treated and presented than Santos’. Next came chilled mazamen, a soupless ramen with kimchi, miso, enoki, and crispy pork belly; the fourth course served as a ramen respite: lobster chawanmushi was a savory custard-like dish with shiso and pickled Hawaiian ginger. The final savory dish was Santos’ “Duck, Duck, Goose” ramen, a hot bowl of appropriately salty goose broth with duck confit, roasted duck breast, scallion, and plum sauce. Dessert was a beignet accompanied by five-spice pear compote, and the dish proved a delightfully airy and palate-cleansing finish to the meal. All of the chef’s Monday night pop-up dinners are BYOB, though diners are welcomed to order from the well-stocked bar, separate from the special prix-fixe menu.
“We try to treat Mondays as a time to explore,” said Santos. The decision to hold the dinners on Monday nights — a notoriously slow evening for restaurants in the city — came from a desire to “reverse the roles and give [diners] something to look forward to.” It’s safe to say: mission accomplished.