The latest proof the Portland ramen-plosion knows no end comes in the form of Akasaru Ramen. Located at 2712 NE Alberta, it officially opens at noon today, April 11, and it will serve a small izakaya menu and four ramens (see menus below). Akasaru is the second restaurant by Tommy Shin, owner of Samurai Blue, the environmentally friendly sushi and contemporary Japanese tapas restaurant on North Mississippi Avenue.
Speaking with Eater, Shin says he opened Akasaru after seeing how much his customers loved the ramen at Samurai Blue. Akasaru offers a chicken and dashi-based broth, which Shin says is on the lighter side of the ramen spectrum, and the ramen comes with pork belly and shrimp wontons. Fresh shrimp is the key to the wonton's crunch, says Shin. You can order the ramen in shoyu, miso, and spicy versions, and there's a vegetarian ramen on offer, as well.
Expect house-made touches like kimchi featuring sea salt and anchovy paste from Korea and a ginger-honey lemonade. Drinks include soft drinks, tap beer from Stormbreaker Brewing, Sapporo, warm and cold sake, and the Japanese soda, Ramune, which Shin says is great for kids because it comes with a marble.
Inside, Akasaru offers counter service and seats 22, with two picnic tables outside for sidewalk seating. Shin aims for a Japan-meets-Portland vibe, with a large mural featuring red monkeys, and he says Akasaru means both "open wide" and "monkey."
[Photo of mural provided by Akasaru]
From Korea, Shin started making sushi in 2000, and he opened Samurai Blue in 2011.
Akasaru Ramen is open Monday through Saturday, from noon to 9 p.m.