Sad News (and Some Consolations)

March 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Shibumi Ramenya, the delightful ramen and izakaya restaurant, has closed. The uncompromising chef Eric Stapelman is moving the operation from Santa Fe to Seattle. HG will miss the tonkatsu pork ramen and the cod fritters. HG thinks Seattle will enjoy Stapelman, a true original, and his cuisine. There is some consolation for Santa Fe lovers of Japanese cuisine. Izanami, a new restaurant, has opened at the beautiful Ten Thousand Waves resort. Have not sampled the food yet but the menu (no sushi but a variety of izakaya type dishes) is appealing. HG’s standby, Shohko Cafe, continues to serve scintillating tempura, eel and soba. The age tofu, a miracle of crispness and succulence, is the best HG has ever tasted. Talin, the international grocer, has a ramen bar. But, real excellence is provided by a Chinese pop-up there. Open only on Monday, a Chinese family serves great dumplings and a huge bowl of dan dan noodles (this is really a tasty combo of traditional dan dan with mopu tofu). Ask for the milder condiments. The hot ones are numbing. HG will have to wait until April to taste ultimate Japanese cuisine. That’s when SJ, Exquisite Maiko, handsome Haru and adorable Teru arrive for a New Mexico visit. With EM in the kitchen, miraculous gyoza, curry and ethereal fish dishes are in HG’s gourmandizing future.


Shibumi. Ramen Delight. Highly Unusual Orgasms, Etc.

April 6th, 2011 § 4 comments § permalink

HG and BSK lunched today at Shibumi Ramenya in downtown Santa Fe (Johnson and Chapelle, to be precise). Perfection in every detail — decor (Japanese rustic); service (suave); food (sophisticated but earthy). There’s spicy pork gyoza, some creative Japanese vegetable tapas (burdock root, black seaweed, sesame spinach and bunapi mushroom). And, there’s the little bistro’s raison d’etre: Ramen with four distinct broth styles: Tonkotsu ramen with roasted korobuta pork; Torigara with roasted chicken; Kaisen with shrimp and Yasai with vegetables. HG and BSK had the Tonkotsu Ramen and it had flavors in depth — a powerful and multi-layered broth, perfect noodles (excelling in both spring and smooth mouth feel) and roasted pork slices that seemed a marriage between belly and loin. The cutlery, spoons with long wooden handles and a capacious bowl married aesthetics with function. Prices are moderate. The cash policy (no credit cards) helps keep it that way. The proprietor is Eric Stapelman. He also owns Trattoria Nostrani, an adjacent Italian restaurant. Nostrani’s menu is superb and HG/BSK will be dining there soon and posting a report.

Stapelman has the reputation of not tolerating disrespect for his food, personnel, or restaurant. And, he won’t have perfumed folk. Good. HG’s kind of guy. All of my favorite restaurant men (Henri Soule at Pavillon in New York or Sidney Kaye at Russian Tea Room, also in New York, behaved that way). Viva Stapelman, Don’t change.

SJ reminded me that Shibumi by Trevanian (a one name author) is the title of one of our favorite good/bad novels (“Godfather” tops that category). The protagonist of “Shibumi” is a assassin/stud named Nicolai Hel (he can kill in a hundred ways including a method using the edge of a playing card). So powerful is his sexual magnetism that he and his beautiful girl friend achieve simultaneous orgasm simply by looking at each other in an intense manner. Commented SJ: “Wow. What would happen if they actually did it?”

Enjoy more conventional (but intense) pleasures at Stapelman’s “Shibumi.”

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