So how does a new restaurant jumping into the massive New York City restaurant scene stand out? Try to come up with something new or never before tried? Maybe take a recently successful new venture and just open a second location?
Well chef Takatoshi Nagara of the already booming Lower East Side’s Mr Taka restaurant has decided to jump in using none of the above. Sort of. What he is doing is taking a page out of the big brick and mortar playbook and taking a proven concept and niching down. Specialization is the path he has chosen for his newest New York City restaurant venture.
With the recent restaurant craze and trend in NYC for ramen noodle menus, Nagara has decided to run with it and open Karakatta, a ramen noodle restaurant built around a concept focusing on specifically spicy ramen. Opening in a quaint and cozy location south of Washington Square Park on Thompson Street a passer by will already notice a full house in the typical NYC small location, people gathered around the bar sitting at low seating tables warming themselves up with one of chef Nagara’s spicy ramen creations on a cold winter night.
The current winter menu certainly aims to please the palate with body warming ingredients offering 4 different options for the ramen bowls including butter-miso, ginger stamina, shoyu and spicy veggie curry.
The ginger stamina is infused with an overdose of ginger that would fight off any winter ailment you may be feeling. All of the spicy variations can be prepared at your preference of spiciness on a low level of one to the highest level of three. Chopped chili’s and chili infused oils are added to the bowls to determine the level of heat.
In addition to the ramen bowls the menu offers a selection appetizers, soups such as miso, rice bowls and chef specials. Some sides you can expect to experience are Japanese pickles, sprouts, leeks, mushrooms and many more fresh asian vegetables.
The size of the crowds, even during late night hours is an indication that chef Nagara may have another hit with Karakatta and that “niching down” may just be the future of New York City restaurant trends. Can any of us guess what’s next?