Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Memphis's New Ramen Masters: Lucky Cat Ramen

Published on the I Love Memphis Blog
January 24, 2017

Memphis’s New Ramen Masters: Lucky Cat Ramen

Ed. Note: I’m excited (pumped, really) to share with you this post from Stacey Greenberg, Memphis food expert. Be on the lookout for more fresh faces and new voices on the I Love Memphis Blog in the coming weeks. – Holly

Sunday, once known as the day of rest, is currently—due mostly to brunch—the funnest day of the week. Now, thanks to Lucky Cat Ramen Pop-Ups at The Cove, Sunday is also the most delicious day of the week.

Every Sunday the Lucky Cat crew—Zach Nicholson and wife, Sarah—spend an hour hauling their equipment to Broad Avenue and transforming The Cove’s tiny kitchen into ramen central for their weekly pop-ups.

While Zach works in the kitchen, Sarah takes orders at a separate register at the end of the bar. (Meaning, get your cocktails from Parks the bartender and get your noodles from Sarah.) There’s a menu board set up with the daily offerings—usually one veggie bowl, a pork offering or two, and a chicken option.

A half order is $7, and a full is $12. You can add spicy chili oil or an extra egg for $1 each. (Do this.) After you order, find a seat and enjoy a cocktail (order from the bartender) and Sarah will deliver your food when it is ready.

OK, we have to talk about the ajitama, a.k.a. the eggs. One of Zach’s family members raises 300 chickens to provide Lucky Cat with incredible eggs, which they soft boil to perfection and marinate in barrel-aged shoyu from Japan for eighteen hours.

They are nothing short of amazing. Each bowl comes with one ajitama, but as mentioned, adding an extra one is a total pro move.

You can already see that this is not the ramen you met in college, right?

All of the Lucky Cat Ramen animal products (bones, proteins) are delivered weekly from Jackson-based Marmilu Farms and their fresh, authentic noodles are shipped from New Jersey from the same producer that supplies ramen heavyweights such as David Chang of Momofuku and Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen.

It takes many steps to prepare what might seem like a humble bowl of noodles. Their pork broth undergoes a 48-hour cook time, resulting in an incredibly rich and creamy base for the soup. (See above.)

The chashu pork preparation involves several cooking techniques and takes a day-and-a-half to complete. They incorporate sous vide cooking with all of the proteins to ensure perfect and consistent results.

“We take the best of what we’ve learned through working and eating at notable restaurants to bring Memphis the best bowl of noodles we can make,” says Zach.

My favorite is the winter yuzu veggie bowl with lemongrass ginger broth. It is incredibly satisfying, even to non-vegetarians. Lucky Cat Ramen recently introduced two new dishes–coconut curry veggie ramen (with Thai basil, black sesame, and baby bok choy) and spicy Tan Tan pork ramen (with roasted peanut and fried garlic). Um, yum!

Here’s a ramen dictionary to help you order:

Kikurage: a mushroom with a jelly like consistency
Negi: a Japanese variety of onion
Nori (not to be confused with Negi): seaweed
Togarashi: red chili peppers
Yuzu: a citrus fruit

Lucky Cat is working on finding a permanent location, but in the meantime, you can find them at The Cove every Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. They also do to go orders. Keep in mind that The Cove is 21 and up.

There are also plans to partner with Memphis Made Brewing and Stock & Belle in February. Check their Facebook page or Instagram for more info.

Keep scrolling more about Zach and Sarah’s background in the bonus section at the bottom of this post.

Go there:

Lucky Cat Ramen Pop-Ups

The Cove (Sundays only, from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
2559 Broad Ave.

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