While just one bowl can give you the energy to support a whole day, any time is good to stop in at Ichimi in Coral Gables. It has been a little over five months since their opening and I was looking forward to stopping in for the first time.
The interior at Ichimi is that of an industrial style restaurant, bringing a raw edge to the décor. It is a specialized ramen shop that also features unique bowls from Japan. The bowls have a double layer that holds the heat—and more important, protects your hands. I was ready to try the bowls since word had gotten out, and owner Peihao (Peter) Xu came to show us his favorite way to tackle them.
But before starting on the bowls, the waiter brought over a fresh garden salad to prepare our palette. At the base of the cabbage is an edamame puree. It is served with carrots, bean sprouts and scallions. This light salad was filling for a starter. The pop of color from the red pepper strings balanced the dish well as did the seaweed powder called takana.
Another popular plate includes the sweet and sour baby back ribs. With local ingredients, the chef at Ichimi prepares a sweet soy glaze with lemon zest that carries through every bite. The fat meat chunks fall off the bone so easily that you can enjoy eating these ribs with chopsticks. In fact, when I grabbed the ribs with my chopsticks, the bone slid through the middle of the meat. The sweetness from the glaze is not overpowering and the zesty taste brings out more flavors.
It was finally time to try their bowls and like true foodies—we ordered two! Starting with the Tonkotsu bowl, Peter’s favorite, we took his advice on how to properly enjoy the bowl. First the noodles and pork belly, then sip the broth. Other authentic ingredients enhanced the bowl like the bamboo shoots and soft-boiled hanjuku eggs. We can see how this creamy broth is quickly becoming a local favorite.
Next we tried the seafood bowl, which includes mussels, oysters, jumbo shrimp and pea tendrils. Taking in all the health benefits from the fish broth—that some recognize as increasing cognitive performance—there was no guilt with this one. On the sweeter side, the noodle was al dente and the bowl also brought out the spice from the ginger.
The menu at Ichimi also presents a variety of starters from scallion pancakes to spiced confit duck wings (which we will soon return for). Their selection of buns should also come high on your list of must-try like the pork belly and brisket. And if you happen to be around for lunch, their special bento box offers a hefty variety.
How we recommend you approach the menu: share a bowl between two people and order some appetizers to start. Or look above to the chalkboard over the open kitchen as their specials are changing all the time. Their selection of beer, sake and wine is also displayed in the back.
We look forward to future ramen shops opening up around Miami and are excited to be part of what is just the beginning. Ichimi is located on 2330 Salzedo Street in Coral Gables, FL.