Perfecting your ramen preparation may've just been a necessary byproduct of your education, but for the former Swissotel chef behind Oiistar, it was the centerpiece of a highly educational culinary trip to Japan. And now he's pouring all that knowledge straight into your bowl via a vibrant bar featuring a projection screen playing vintage cartoons and thumping music echoing off the birchwood walls. Daily-made broths take 18 hours to prepare before being filled with homemade noodles in variations like the Oiimen (pork belly, poached egg, tree ear mushroom) and, just to make you feel self-conscious, the Musclemen, studded with mussels (get it?!!??!), chili pepper, and Bonito miso. They also have a variety of steamed buns that ought to be happier given flavorful fillings like duck with golden raisin 'n jalapeno chutney, plus snackage like tempura portobello 'n avocado fries with shiso pesto mayo, and a riff on French onion soup made with kimchi and andouille sausage under a bubbly tent of Provolone. Outside of Sapporo, the six draft brews are all American craft, and if you're feeling something sweet try the creme brulee with espresso caviar, a far more reasonable alternative to the fishy kind, especially if that second byproduct of your education was not a hefty paycheck.
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