Ramen By Rā – Rise + Dine at SOMMWHERE
Rāsheeda Purdie continues to innovate in the world of ramen. From launching her at-home ramen kits at the beginning of the pandemic – including the incredible Bodega Ramen series in late 2021, which I raved about here – to moving into teaching and in-person ramen experiences, Rā knocked another one out of the park with her Rise + Dine series, her chef residency at SOMMWHERE in LES.
In this world where all things super sweet and / or carb-filled seem to be associated with brunch, Rise + Dine takes so many of our favorites morning cravings – bacon, egg, cheese, lox, fingerling potatoes, pork sausage – and utilizes them to put yet another unique spin on what ramen can be. Billed as “A revitalized ramen experience indulged in the form of brunch”, you may crave eating ramen in the a.m. rather than the p.m. going forward.
Rā’s efficient team of three created an experience that was unique, relaxed, and delicious. We started off with hot hojicha tea, a roasted green tea that I love but do not indulge in nearly enough! As we sipped our tea and listened to soothing jazz in the background, our bowls of ramen soon appeared on our table. With five varieties to choose from, we opted for the Bacon, Egg, & Cheese – shoyu, seasoned yolk, crispy Parmesan, smoked bacon, lard oil, & scallions – and the Steak & Soy Egg – beef shoyu, crispy shallots, chimichurri, rosemary fingerlings, herb oil, sesame, & scallions. The former was delicious and – in the best way possible – a very simple bowl. The seasoned yolk was delicate while the bacon was perfectly smoked, and the crispy Parmesan added both tang and texture. The latter was unique, and I appreciated both the herbaceous chimichurri to enhance the steak plus the use of fingerling potatoes for additional crunch; honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever come across a tinier potato chip! Both bowls were elevated by the use of Sun Noodle ramen noodles, which have become my favorite ramen noodles over the years; I recall going to a pop-up of theirs near Bowery many moons ago, and their ramen bowl with fresh wontons in shoyu still ranks as one of the best bowls of ramen I’ve ever had.
What is a brunch without a cocktail and dessert? The hot toddies – made with Japanese whiskey and complemented with an aromatic cinnamon stick – were as comforting as they were energizing, the added citrus making them bright. Dessert was fantastic, a silky vanilla pudding with a black sugar glaze. I’d eat that again over having a brown sugar milk tea! (Or…perhaps I’d have both, I’m not made of stone.)
In this pandemic world, it is a true rarity for me to dine indoors. More than 12 years of working in Infection Control + being immunocompromised + having good logic – 😆 – has kept me away from dining out, and…I miss it. Let me be frank. I miss it. I miss the experience of trying new foods, interacting with a chef and their team, and sharing a meal with a friend. I’m 38 years old with no hang-ups about coming off as cheesy or mushy, because let’s give folks their flowers: Rā was kind enough to provide me with a singular dining experience without any other guests at the time of my reservation so I could dine indoors as safely as possible, and I will be forever grateful for her compassion and kindness. I would not have been able to experience this otherwise!
Rise + Dine continues on December 11th and December 18th, and you can visit her website and Instagram for more details. Keep your eyes peeled for future events by Ramen By Rā, because you will undoubtedly be both amazing and satiated.