Tanoshii Ramen + Bar opened its doors this past September with huge crowds beating down its doors to slurp up homemade noodles. The ramen revolution that Dallas had been waiting for had arrived. Since opening, the crowds have not tempered if last night’s dinner service is any indication. Even later in the evening when most restaurants in Dallas start to sweep the floors, more orders for the variety of soups were being carried out by the Tanoshii staff.
In the kitchen last evening I spotted a new addition to Tanoshii, chef Roger Wang. I first met Wang one afternoon at Charlie Palmer’s where he was busily making fresh pasta under the Scott Romano regime. Later Wang was at the helm of Nick and Sam’s Grill in Uptown when Romano moved in as corporate chef. Wang is talented and has elevated the ramen at Tanoshii since his recent hire. Wang is working as a consultant.
There is actually plenty of ramen and toppings for the soup to choose from. My little group selected several last night including the Tonkotsu which is a white pork broth topped with pork belly, kikurage mushrooms, bokchoy, menma (fresh bamboo shoots), nitamago (the very soft egg), roasted sesame, and scallions. You may add to this, and certainly an additional egg would be in order.
The very spicy coconut curry soup is topped with tempura prawns, mussels, menma and little cherry tomatoes. This soup has the most action going on and very high on flavor and my table’s favorite.
There are a few ‘dry’ ramens as well. These are the noodles served sans broth and include a yaki version which stir fries the noodles with seasonal vegetables, chicken, and a housemade yaki sauce. Very delicious and simple to enjoy.
I found a whole host of small plates. The favorite one sampled on this visit was the banh xeo which are very thin crepes stuffed with pork and shrimp then lightly pan fried on the outside. There is actually a vegan version of this dish which is quite excellent as well. This goes very well with another housemade condiment, the very smoky and spicy chile oil. This stuff went on everything that passed my face. You will not wish to miss out on the steam buns either. These beauties are totally made in the Tanoshii kitchen. They are probably twice as large as a typical steam bun found around Dallas, and the choice bit of pork belly is equally as large.
Typically I would not order desserts after such a lingering meal, but our server tempted us with the thoughts of fried banana which was reminiscent of a state fair entry, and quite delicious. Surprisingly, the off menu creme brulee was incredible as well.
Later in the evening Tanoshii offers a much shorter menu with steam buns, gyoza and several choices of hot pots sold for couples. These are much larger portions meant to be shared and actually are a great bargain.
The ramen revolution is still going strong, and there will be more entries in this field very soon, but Tanoshii in Deep Ellum does an excellent job.
Tanoshii Ramen + Bar | 2724 Commerce, Dallas | 214.651.6800