TNT Diner

Tacoma's first ramen restaurant has set its opening day for next month

Tacoma diners will soon be able to eat housemade ramen noodles from Moshi Moshi Bar + Ramen when it opens
Tacoma diners will soon be able to eat housemade ramen noodles from Moshi Moshi Bar + Ramen when it opens Shutterstock

Tacoma’s first ramen restaurant has set an opening date.

If all goes as planned, Moshi Moshi Bar + Ramen will officially open to the public April 16.

The restaurant is a joint venture between chef Aaron Grissom and husband-and-wife team Buoy Ngov and Yu Nanakornphanom, who own neighboring Indo Asian Street Eatery.

While Indo is a restaurant serving a broad range of Asian street food, Moshi Moshi will be known for its ramen, yakitori skewers grilled over charcoal and various small plates of Japanese nibbles.

While the structure of the menu is Japanese, flavors and ingredients will be brushed with Northwest influences.

“We’re going to break the mold of what people think bar food is, but we’ll be approachable at the same time. I also want to showcase Pacific Northwest ingredients but in a Japanese style,” said Grissom last year.

Families with kids are welcome until 9 p.m., Grissom said, but later in the evening the focus will turn to the cocktail menu, which will feature craft cocktails alongside sake, Japanese whiskey and other Japanese spirits.

The restaurant’s name is a nod to the informal Japanese greeting, moshi moshi. Like that greeting, the restaurant will be casual and approachable.

The menu will lean more upscale with a focus on handmade ingredients. While most restaurants outsource miso, tofu, shoyu, vinegar and ramen noodles, Grissom and Nanakornphanom intend to make all of those in house.

Grissom’s recipe development has included making pickles from scratch, all the way down to the vinegar. To pickle them, he’s making the vinegar out of beer from local breweries Engine House No. 9 and 7 Seas. It takes three months to get the right acidity, he said.

Noodles include one for vegans and one for meat eaters. Grissom said to expect the house ramen noodles to be just slightly thicker than what might be expected.

As he says, “The ramen noodles for the tonkotsu broth will be on the thicker side rather than a typical tonkotsu noodle, which is a little thinner, which doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t put elbow macaroni in a bolognese. Give me something big, like a rigatoni to soak up that broth.”

He said the noodles won’t be all that noticeably larger, but his plan is to make them a bit broader to soak up the broth he’s going to great lengths to make from scratch.

The house broth will be tonkotsu, which traditionally is a milky colored broth made from pork bones. Grissom is broadening his interpretation. He calls it a Northwest-infused recipe with the addition of fish and chicken in the base.

That tonkotsu will be the foundation for several of the ramens, such as the bacon-and-egg served with house-cured pork belly smoked over local alderword. The tonkotsu broth also will be the base of a spicy ramen layered with several styles of peppers, including bird’s eye chiles and sansho, which is from the Sichuan family of peppercorns.

“It has a beautiful citrus quality to it,” said Grissom of the sansho.

Grissom also described more handmade accompaniments, such as shoyu fermented in house and mayonnaise made with house-cured egg yolks.

Gluten-free diners will get their own gluten-free noodles made from spiralized vegetables and shoyu that is gluten-free.

Beyond ramen, yakitori and small plates comprise the rest of the menu. Yakitori skewers will be charcoal grilled over traditional binchotan charcoal. Grissom also described small plates of handmade dumplings, chicken karaage and bacon fried rice made with riced cauliflower.

Seating will be for 59 and the restaurant will look modern, like its neighboring counterpart, but with a focus on Japanese pop cultural elements.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270, @tntdiner

Moshi Moshi Bar + Ramen

Where: 110-B N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma


Opening: April 16, if all goes as planned