Wabi House was built on Wabi House chef-owner Dien Nguyen’s love for Japanese food and obsession for ramen, inspired by his foodie experiences and culinary training in major cities like NYC, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle. For the past decade, Chef Nguyen has worked with Piranha Killer Sushi and currently holds the Corporate Head Chef position for Piranha Killer Sushi. He’s lead the opening of the new locations and oversees the seven Piranha locations in Texas.
Wabi comes from the word Wabi-Sabi. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese world view embracing and accepting the beauty in the imperfection (Wabi) & the beauty that comes with age (Sabi). This Japanese view best describes what to expect of Chef Dien Nguyen’s restaurant location choice, concept and style of cooking.
This week Wabi House opened to huge crowds that had lines around the nearly unmarked building very close to Ross Avenue on Lowest Greenville. There beautiful bowls of ramen, flavor-packed small plates and sides, and slurpy good cocktails that will leave you wanting more.
Wabi features a menu curated with several types of ramen including a vegetarian option and tonkatsu ramen where Chef Nguyen braises the chashu pork for four hours, and cooks his broth for a total of 18 hours. The soup is studded with corn, wood-ear mushrooms, marinated egg, black garlic oil and sliced scallions.
The small plates include an unusual take on the pig ear appetizer that makes for a marvelous bar snack. Lightly tempura coated, the pig ear is slightly on the oily side but when backed by a cold IPA this makes for a tasty treat.
The Hamashi dish is superb as it is beautiful. Hama Rayu is built up with hamachi, rayu, mustard vinaigrette, cilantro, and scallions. The vinaigrette is spicy with a powerful punch, but soothed by the delicacy of the fish. A must order item pre-ramen.
Another favorite at Wabi is the Brussels and Beets small plate that has halved Brussels that are given a good char and topped with fried beets and cashews. Nearly too perfect to eat, but you will be happy you did.
Once you hit the ramen you will have a few choices, and you can always built additions to any bowl which includes more chashu, soft eggs, wood ears and more.
The atmosphere is chummy and designed for a bit of fun and fellowship. It is a bit rustic, but extremely inviting. With the easy to miss minimal signage you might actually consider this a ramen speakeasy. If you are running solo, or wanting to miss the wait, there is an indoor/outdoor bar and small patio that might be easy to snag a seat or two. Also you may sit with the chefs at the open kitchen bar where they will engage you and ensure that you have a great time.
There is still this initial blast of the new restaurant, but this would be a perfect weekend to check out Wabi.
Wabi House is located at 1802 Greenville Avenue. Call 469.779.6474 for more information.