Eat This

Top Knot's Summer Series, Uncommon Ramen, Continues to Raise the Ramen Bar

At Monday night's Top Knot Uncommon Ramen dinner, chef John Tesar and the Top Knot team cooked up Kinoko Iwana ramen and Oi-munchim Japadogs.
At Monday night's Top Knot Uncommon Ramen dinner, chef John Tesar and the Top Knot team cooked up Kinoko Iwana ramen and Oi-munchim Japadogs. Kathy Tran
Top Knot’s Uncommon Ramen dinner series reared its delicious head again Monday night, this time featuring the flavors and expertise of chef John Tesar.

The main ramen dish was a mushroom flavor explosion. Its official term is Kinoko Iwana ramen, which roughly translates to "mushroom and char ramen." The char came in the form of arctic char, and the mushroom from three different sources: a mushroom dashi base, a roasted shiitake and a pickled hon-shimeji resting comfortably on the top of the broth. The ramen was served with thinly sliced radish, a “63-degree egg” (a sous-vide egg cooked at 145.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and, of course, fresh noodles. A small plastic baggie of crushed seaweed, sesame and other spices was provided alongside to garnish and give a subtle head-nod to the ramen spice packets from our college days.

The inspiration for the ramen came from a mushroom consomme Tesar made while working at his previous restaurant, Spoon. His goal? Make the ramen light, delicate and fish-forward. His success in all three was apparent by the symphony of slurping heard throughout Top Knot.

click to enlarge Top Knot's noodle R&D is serious business. - KATHY TRAN
Top Knot's noodle R&D is serious business.
Kathy Tran
The dinner also served an Oi-munchim Japadog, a spicy Lao-style Vietnamese sausage placed in a toasted split roll, along with cilantro, a cucumber kimchi (the Oi-munchim part of the Japadog) and a dynamite sauce that was similar to a Japanese-style mayo and Sriracha sauce. A special beer pairing from Deep Ellum Brewery, a sour pale ale called The Playdate with citrus and date flavors that kept guests going back and forth between all the dishes, accompanied the meal.

A portion of the proceeds from the Uncommon Ramen dinner went to the Promise of Peace Gardens, a nonprofit organization providing community outreach through local horticulture and gardening opportunities.
The next (and last, at least for this year) Uncommon Ramen dinner series at Top Knot will be Aug. 28 with Top Chef winner Mei Lin. The menu has yet to be decided but will undoubtedly be delicious. Be sure to get your reservation in advance because if it is to be anything like this month’s dinner, the flavors will draw crowds.
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Daniel Rockey