Thursday, March 3, 2016

Eat in Oakland: Ozumo Oakland

Spicy Miso Miso ramen made with chicken, cabbage, six minute egg, and spicy miso broth

Left: Makushita makimono roll made with spicy albacore, macadamia nuts, shiso leaf, seared scallop, jalapeño, sweet soy, and yuzu aioli
Right: Jalapeño Hamachi makimono roll made with spicy yellowtail, avocado, cucumber, jalapeño, and yuzu aioli

Left: Spicy Miso Miso ramen
Right: Unagi (freshwater eel) nigiri

Wild Strawberry Tartine with balsamic glazed strawberries, flaky butter crust, and caramel ice cream

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting Ozumo's Oakland location to try their Ramen Wednesday tasting menu. This beautifully designed Japanese restaurant is located on the corner of Broadway and West Grand Avenue in Oakland's thriving Uptown neighborhood. They serve an excellent selection of makimono rolls, nigiri, sashimi, classic Japanese entrees from the land and the sea, tempura and tofu dishes, desserts, and more.

We stopped by to try one of the three unique, tasting-sized bowls of ramen prepared by Chef Dennis Imazumi every Wednesday. Chef Dennis' ramen options are known for their fresh ingredients, dynamic flavors, and interesting take on the beloved dish. The bowls offered during our visit included the Midori Pesto ramen, made with roasted tomato, edamame, micro wasabi, and watercress pesto; the Spicy Miso Miso ramen, made with chicken, cabbage, six minute egg, and spicy miso broth; and the Yuzu Shoyu ramen, made with roasted shiitake mushroom, ginger tofu, kaiware, and yuzu soy broth.

We began our dining experience on a high note with two cups of Numi's full-bodied gunpowder green tea and a bowl of perfectly salted edamame. For my main course I ordered the Spicy Miso Miso ramen, which was quite good. Chef Dennis paired ingredients, like the impeccably cooked six minute egg and thinly sliced chicken, to make a very interesting dish. He brought together different textures, like the crunch of the cabbage and perfectly prepared noodles. The spiciness of the broth achieved the delicate balance of adding flavor without overpowering your taste buds. Overall, the ramen had everything I want in a bowl: dynamic flavor, great texture, and a twist.

My dining companion had two of their makimono rolls, which were delicious as well. The Makushita roll was made with spicy albacore, macadamia nuts, shiso leaf topped with seared scallop, jalapeño, sweet soy, and yuzu aioli, while the Jalapeño Hamachi was made with spicy yellowtail, avocado, cucumber topped with jalapeño, yuzu aioli. Like the ramen, these rolls were made with fresh ingredients, paired in appealing ways, that provided great taste with an element of surprise. He also had an order of Unagi (freshwater eel) nigiri, which was as fresh and tasty as anticipated.

For dessert, we tried the Wild Strawberry Tartine with balsamic glazed strawberries, flaky butter crust, and caramel ice cream. In short, it was divine. The warm crust melts in your mouth and tasted like a little bit of heaven when topped with ice cream and strawberries. I would recommend making room for this dessert.

The interior of Ozumo is worth noting. The modern decor combines elements of Japanese design with a cosmopolitan twist. The restaurant's hip vibe and lively music make it perfect for a night out in Uptown or a happy hour visit after work.

While we were there, we were helped by the very friendly staff and were graciously introduced to Chef Dennis himself and Mel Collins, the Director of Hospitality. They made us feel very welcome and provided a wonderful dining experience. Special thanks to Ozumo Oakland, Chef Dennis, Mel, and Olivia of DKC for the lovely evening.

If you've visited either Ozumo location in Oakland or San Francisco, what do you recommend trying?

Ozumo Oakland
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Yelp
2251 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30am - 2pm
Dinner: Monday - Thursday 5 - 9:30pm, Friday - Saturday 5 - 10pm
Sake Lounge: Monday - Thursday 4 - 10pm, Friday - Saturday 4 - 10:30pm
Happy Hour: Monday - Saturday 4 - 7pm

Check out more posts from Oakland.

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