.Pop-Up Ramen

New Sebastopol noodle house takes up former Forchetta space

Sebastopol’s excellent Ramen Gaijin opened the doors to its new home Friday. The restaurant now occupies the space formerly held by the Forchetta half of Forchetta/Bastoni, a combo Italian and Southeast Asian restaurant. The Italian side of the restaurant never quite caught fire, so now it’s a combo Japanese and Southeast Asian restaurant.

Ramen Gaijin owners Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman moved from Woodfour Brewing Co. where they ran a once-a-month pop-up restaurant. Ramen Gaijin is still a pop-up, but it feels more permanent with the art they’ve hung from the ceiling, a community board that lists all their Sonoma County suppliers and other touches. And they’re open four days a week. West County is a better place for it.

The “Sonoma County–style” ramen is as delicious as ever. The infinitely deep flavors of the soup in the shoyu ramen ($14, a combination of chicken and dashi broth) are coaxed from hours of slow simmering in big pots. Add springy house-made rye noodles and outstanding toppings like wood ear mushrooms, pork belly, half a soft boiled mirin- and soy-sauce-marinated egg, and bamboo shoots, and you’ve got a great meal in bowl. While the menu will change, currently there is also a vegetarian sesame- and miso-based ramen, and a fiery “tan tan” ramen on the menu. Other options include albacore tataki ($11), karaage chicken ($9), a winter vegetable salad ($6) and an excellent black sesame ice cream ($7).

There’s also a great lineup of beverages: Japanese and local brews, Japanese whiskey and short list of sake chosen by master sake sommelier Stewart Morris.

Ramen Gaijin is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday-Saturday. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 707.827.3609. www.facebook.com/RamenGaijin.


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