Ramen noodles get little to no respect in the world, thanks to those cello-wrapped bundles of noodles that magically expanded when married with boiling water that w all ate during our college years. But a new Memphis restaurant plans to skewer that bad rap, one meal at a time.
Skewer opened in early 2014 on the city's east side, offering traditional Japanese cuisine with a disciplined focus on ramen (noodle bowls), yakitori (skewers of grilled meats and vegetables) and zushi (or sushi).
Individual skewers of meats, vegetables and seafood can be an appetizer or a whole meal — Photo courtesy of I Love Memphis blog
Open Tuesday through Sunday for both lunch and dinner, Skewer offers a hugely varied menu that's heavy on the authenticity. From noodle and rice bowls to tempura and sushi, the menu is extensive.
Starters include creative soups, salads and snacks - including a grilled romaine and shrimp salad, and a fried mozzarella and gyoza appetizer. Ramen, or noodle bowls, get top billing on the entree side and feature hearty sobu or udon noodles with flavorful broth. Noodles are topped with bite-sized portions of tofu, chicken, shrimp and beef; vegetables; and the occasional soft-boiled egg.
Here's a great example: the Tonkotsu ramen consists of yellow noodles and a tonkotsu (muddy pork) broth. The dish is served with roasted pork; a soft-boiled egg; shredded wood ear mushroom; menma, which is seasoned bamboo shoots; mayu, or black garlic oil; chili paste; and chopped green onion.
Yakitori - the skewers of meats, seafood and vegetables - are served individually and either grilled or fried with a crispy bite of delicate panko flakes. Finally, the zushi - how the chef spells sushi - menu is abundant. The lunch menu is smaller in scope, and a children's menu is also offered.
The design of Skewer is sleek and modern, with plenty of natural charm - beautiful wood elements, clean lines and simple decor. There are counter/bar-style seats for dining, which overlook the busy kitchen. That view provides a lot of fun, conversation and wow factor for those watching.
Diners can watch the intricate work of the chefs, thanks to a glassed-in viewing kitchen — Photo courtesy of I Love Memphis blog