Zen Box Izakaya to throw big-time ramen bash

Ready your bellies for Ramen Attack!
Ready your bellies for Ramen Attack!
Sasha Landskov

The traditional second anniversary gift might be cotton, but Zen Box Izakaya, the lively Japanese restaurant and pub, will be giving ramen! The noodle that inspires all sorts of obsession will be celebrated in several ways. They're shutting down the block, flying in ramen-making celebrity chefs, and bringing in entertainment, all to throw the end-all, be-all noodle-slurping bash. We've got all the delicious details.

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The event will take place Sunday, September 29, beginning at noon and running until 6 pm. They'll be shutting down part of Portland Avenue for the event.

Zen Box Izakaya's owners, John Ng and Lina Goh, explained to us the idea behind Ramen Attacks: "We want to promote more knowledge about ramen. It's the same thing as when someone has a burger. It all depends on what your experience is, [as to] what makes the best burger."

They have two chefs who will be flying in to make ramen. Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura is considered one of the "Four Ramen Devas" -- literally, the gods of the cuisine. He's the author of several cookbooks, has competed with the chef of Ippudo (arguably, the best ramen restaurant in the country), been recognized by Ferran Adria of the famed El Bulli, and appeared on Food Network's Chopped

The other celebrity chef is Mihoko Obunai, a Japanese native who was trained at the French Culinary Institute. She's appeared in Bon Appetit and Food & Wine and also competed on Chopped.

Chef Ng came to Minnesota from San Francisco. He and his wife Goh opened Zen Box, a skyway eatery in downtown Minneapolis. The two love sharing Japanese culture through food with their new neighbors.

The three chefs will serve three different kinds of ramen: a New York style, a Tokyo style, and a Minnesota style (we've been assured there will be no lutefisk). Eaters can expect to find bowls of rich broth with long, wiggly noodles topped with braised beef. Ng is still tweaking his recipe. There will also be a "dry" style ramen, where there isn't a whole lot of broth; instead the noodles will convey the flavors.

They'll be charging just $2 for a wristband for adults (kids under 16 can get in free). Food and drinks will be sold via tickets. Tickets will be cash only. They'll be pouring Surly Cynic and Underrated along with sake, Asahi beer on tap, wine, and more. 

There will be a special appearance by members of the Minnesota United FC soccer team and there will be a Mu Daiko performance (those really cool, big drums).

It's going to be a gangbusters, slurping good time! For more information, follow the Zen Box Izakaya Facebook page.
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Zen Box Izakaya

602 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455



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