Itani Ramen, the casual noodle-centric concept from Hopscotch's Kyle Itani, has finally opened in Uptown Oakland, as of tonight (May 2). The ramen spot is casual, simple, and geared towards ramen aficionados, with a nod to the late-night crowd that will spill in from nearby Fox Theater after shows.
The short menu starts with snacky items like crispy pig ear, pork gyoza and mini donburi bowls, leading up to the main event: ramen. There are four versions, (with available add-ons like pickled bamboo shoots), some of which will rotate seasonally and showcase different styles of ramen from different prefectures in Japan. Diners will order at the counter, but servers will roam the dining room, refilling water and taking drink orders. Desserts will be on offer as well, encased within an ultra-Japanese style of consumerism: a vending machine, which will be filled with Pocky, It's-Its, Soy Ice and more.
There'll also be a selection of Japanese and local beers on draft and in bottles, sake and shochu by the glass or carafe, and wine by the glass. Itani will also offer ice-cold shots of shochu from a repurposed Jaegermeister machine that he bought on eBay, as well as a boilermaker of Suzume shochu and Asahi beer.
Itani Ramen is now open daily for dinner, Monday through Sunday from 6:00 p.m. - Midnight; lunch will be available in the coming months.