Ramen shops are traditionally eat-it-and-beat it affairs — customers get seated quickly, served quickly and move on, making room for the next person in line.
But Waldo’s new Bōru Ramen Bar, which opened Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 500 W. 75th St., will be a full-service restaurant that wants you to linger.
“We have appetizers, entrees, desserts, cocktails, sake,” said Po Wang, culinary director and partner. “Traditional ramen has very few toppings, but we wanted to kind of do things our own way. These are just flavors I grew up with in Taiwan, my food, and how I wanted to present it — beautiful and delicious.”
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Wang created a menu with Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese influences but focused on ramen, using artisan ramen maker Sun Noodle as his supplier.
Bōru, a Japanese word for bowl, will include Korean (with kurobuta pork belly, greens, bean sprouts, kimchi and gochujang), and seafood (with red prawn, Manila clams, calamari, octopus and mushrooms). Ramen bowls range from $13.50 to $23.50.
Other menu highlights:
▪ Appetizers including beef tataki (togarashi-seared beef tenderloin, shaved onion and yuzu-wasabi vinaigrette) and toro rice bowl (with bluefin toro, furikake seasoning and Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise).
▪ Steamed bao (Chinese-style stuffed buns).
▪ Rice and entrees, including Bibimbap with fresh pickled vegetables, egg yolk and bulgogi steak, and katsu (panko-crusted pork loin, slaw, rice and Japanese barbecue sauce).
▪ Entree salads including togarashi fried chicken salad and miso salmon salad.
▪ Asian-inspired cocktails such as the Fist of Fury with chili-infused vodka, ginger beer, Velvet Falernum and lime. The full-service bar also will have craft and Asian beers, Japanese whiskey, sake, soju and shochu, along with wines by the bottle or glass.
▪ Bento boxes at lunch go for $11.50. They will come with steamed rice, house pickles, salad, miso soup and an option of miso salmon, bulgogi or Tonkatsu.
▪ Children’s menu including chicken ramen and crispy chicken with rice, along with a free soft-serve ice cream.
▪ Pastry chef Nicolette Foster’s dessert menu has a Cotton Cheese Cake with yuzu sauce, Matcha Chocolate Molten Cake and Purin, a custard with a soft layer of caramel.
Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. daily with appetizers ranging from $3 to $6. Options include steamed pork bao, bulgogi lettuce wrap, edamame and shrimp chips.
Wang rolled out a Tuesday ramen menu at Summit Grill for a couple of months in early 2016, featuring just one appetizer and one ramen bowl.
It was such a hit that Summit Grill owners Domhnall Molloy and Andy Lock started looking for sites for a full-service ramen restaurant, while Wang researched ramen restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and tweaked his menu.
When Summit Grill’s next door neighbor, 75th Street Brewery, was listed for sale after 23 years of operations, they took over the spot, remodeling it and relocating Summit Grill to the space for a late 2016 opening.
Then Molloy and Lock converted the former Summit Grill space to Bōru. It seats 126 people.
It seems craving for Wang’s ramen has not subsided. Once the Bōru logo went up a month ago, a steady stream of customers stopped by throughout the day, hoping to try it.