Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Late Night Noodles with Guchi's Midnight Ramen

It's 3 A.M. on Tuesday morning and I just got home. My belly is sleepily full of ramen, but my veins are coursing with the epic amounts of caffeine I consumed to ensure I wouldn't fall asleep face-first in a giant ramen bowl at tonight's...er, this morning's...industry preview of Guchi's Midnight Ramen, the latest addition to Boston's batch of pop-up culinary adventures. (Special thanks to my bandmate and blogger friend Holly, who had an extra ticket and invited me along for the ride.)

Guchi's Midnight Ramen (Twitter/Facebook) is brought to us (from heaven, probably) by a couple of O Ya's chefs, Yukihiro Kawaguchi ("Guchi") and Mark O'Leary, along with O Ya alum Tracy Chang, plus (non-O Ya-related) Vilas Dhar, a lawyer interested in food entrepreneurship. O Ya times three? Oh yeah. (Sorry, I had to do it.) Anyways, after my extraordinarily memorable grand omakase experience at O Ya, I'd probably try anything by those people.

Let's see if I can stay awake long enough to recap this morning's festivities, which took place at Bondir, a place I really need to get to under normal circumstances. I've been there once before, for a special prix fixe lunch set up by Maggie of Eat Boutique. I love the ambiance, and Chef Bond's food was fantastic.

First up, the pork belly bun, a soft and squishy and savory preview of the wonderfulness to come.

Meanwhile, Mark and Guchi were hard at work prepping the main course.

The bowls arrived at our table along with a camera, with which we were instructed to photograph each other's first slurps.

And slurp we did. The rich broth became even more complex as we added the side sauce, the "umami oil." When we weren't slurping, we were dissecting the contents of the soup and the sauce. The velvety egg yolk slowly permeated the mixture, and the tender fat-lined pork grew softer as it soaked up the broth. Balancing chopsticks and spoons, we threw dignity aside and nearly dunked our faces in the huge bowls.

The bottom of the bowl was a sad sight, but perhaps a relief. My late night ramen stamina was fading fast. But there was still dessert to come, green tea cookies bursting with melted chocolate.

Late night ramen adventure? Success. I'd do it again. It's the ultimate mix of comfort and spontaneity, and the food is just solidly delicious. What's not to love?

Special thanks to my fun and interesting tablemates: Holly (Nomsense), Meredith (Serious Eats: Slice), and Patrick (Server Not Servant).

Disclosure: This was an industry preview event. All food was complimentary.

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