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Friday, October 5, 2012

Nashville Food Friday: Otaku South

A review of Ramen Shop Otaku South in Nashville Tennessee
Sometimes it is really good to have foodie friends that keep their ear to the ground for new eating adventures. My friend Ana Beth is a true gourmand and an absolute genius with cocktails. Lucky for me she found out about Otaku South's first pop-up ramen dinner fast enough to snag us seats. The dinner itself was held at 12 South Taproom last Sunday night when the local bar is usually closed. Otaku had 3 seatings and we got into the later one. The idea is to bring good ramen to Nashville on a few select nights with pre-set menus. I think Otaku is doing pretty well for themselves because their follow up venture at the Catbird Seat ($75 a pop for yakitori) sold out in a split second. What I hope this means is that a brick and mortar may be in the future for the floating ramen shop.
A review of Ramen Shop Otaku South in Nashville Tennessee
One of the good things about this being a pop-up shop was that if you were a party of two, you would have to sit with strangers. Well, Nashville is too small to have strangers and AB and I wound up sitting next to my favorite rollergirl Hilda "Hildabeast" and her darling boyfriend Charlie. Lucky for us Mr. Hildabeast spent 4 years in Japan and was able to give us a true opinion on ramen and some fun facts about Japan. I always love those random nights with good people. Of course, we shared sake.

Assorted pickles at Ramen Shop Otaku South in Nashville Tennessee
The first course was assorted pickles and japanese potato salad. I loved the pickled daikon, but there wasn't nearly enough on the plate for my taste. The marinated soy mushrooms were a little too pungent. Too much use of sauce covered up the naturally woody mushroom taste. The potato salad was delicious. To me it tasted like regular potato salad, just with a creamier consistency. On top of the potato salad were two tiny crazy hot peppers. I took one tiny bite and no more. I was not a fan of the really tiny hot peppers, no matter how cute they were.
Pork Tonkatsu Ramen at Ramen Shop Otaku South in Nashville Tennessee
I had the Pork Tonkatsu ramen and it was a star. The broth was thick and smokey from the pork. Our resident Japanese expert informed us that this broth was unusually thick compared to what he had in Japan, but that the flavors were right on. I personally think that this broth was magic, and possibly the best soup outside of my Mom's chicken soup that I have ever tasted. I couldn't get enough. The noodles were thinner than what I'm used to in ramen, more vermicelli than udon. But they had a nice thickness to them and were a good conveyor for the broth (which was really all I was looking for). The best part was the perfect soft boiled egg that came floating on top. The yolk was still runny and golden when it arrived at our table. Can I have the other half please? No, really. Full egg next time.
Sake Sorbet at Ramen Shop Otaku South in Nashville Tennessee
For dessert we were served a sake sorbet. I loved the simple but effective presentation of serving it inside of a ramen spoon. The small scoop of sorbet tasted more like coconut to me than sake. Perhaps it was the bottle of actual sake I had consumed by this point that was messing up my palate. Whatever the official flavor was, I liked it. It was a cool clean finish to that thick hot soup. The black sesame brittle that was served with the sorbet is now my new favorite thing. If Otaku made the black sesame brittle and sold it in little packages I would scoop some up to have with tea.
I really hope Otaku South keeps popping up all over the place because more people need to experience this. If you are interested, sing up for their mailing list so you can be informed of new dinners. I really hope they get a permanent place soon because I would love to be able to have some hot ramen in the cold winter. Once again, special thanks to Anna Beth for thinking of me whenever food is involved. :)
Otaku South on Urbanspoon


  1. Yum! I would love some authentic ramen.

  2. I would LOVE to attend a pop-up shop. They always sound like so much fun. The food you had sounds and looks so yummy. I visited Japan at the beginning of the year, and I must say - I miss good ramen!

    1. I am so jealous of your trip to Japan. I've always wanted to go (and pretty much do nothing but eat). This was my first pop-up experience and I would for sure do it again!

  3. Oh how fun! J + I were at the second seating and had a great time! Wish we had had someone like Mr. Hildabeast there to share some stories + facts, though. How perfect!

    I loved the Japanese potato salad, too. Wish we could get a recipe. Funny story about the peppers - a friend at the first seating warned us about them. I made sure to avoid them until I took a hasty scoop of the salad and chomped right into one of the peppers. Oh. My. HOT! Haha..and I'm with you on the egg, too! Wanted the whole thing.

    ...aaaand, I said the very same thing [well, tweeted] about the brittle. If Sarah packaged that potato salad + brittle, I'd be all over both of them. Yum!


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