Many remember Jesus Garcia from his time as Head Chef at Little Lily Sushi on Camp Bowie. He turned out some great sushi, but soon it was upstaged by his appealing ramen, which quickly became one of his star dishes. The 28-year-old Houston native was noticed by food critics far and wide and his creations appeared on numerous Best of Lists.
Garcia left his post at Little Lily and headed to Seattle two years ago, with only one goal − to learn everything he could about making quality, authentic ramen and running a ramen restaurant.
“I don’t remember the first time I had authentic ramen, but I know I couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “To me, eating soup was natural. Whether it’s the caldo de pollo, menudo, or pozole that I grew up eating, or gumbo, chicken noodle soup, tortilla soup, or the many more that I tried in culinary school and out in restaurants, soups always made me feel at home.”
Ramen has long been the “everyman’s food” of Japan, with a ramen shop or two located in every neighborhood and near every train station. Garcia’s move to the Pacific Northwest gave him a front row seat to the bourgeoning ramen restaurant trend in America.
He upped his knowledge of traditional methods and construction, like how to create flavorful broth, and the right texture of good ramen (because you have to know the rules before you can break them). Garcia worked at two of the most famous ramen restaurants in the world (Santouka Ramen and Kukai Ramen –– now known as Kizuki). He also toured Japan taking culinary classes on the art of ramen.
Then the owners of Sushi Axiom called on Garcia to collaborate on a restaurant concept back in Fort Worth. Together, they are rolling the dice on the West Seventh location that has had an unexplainable amount of turnover in recent years, most recently the short-lived Kin Urban Thai.
At Oni Ramen, which is set to open in August, Garcia’s menu will feature two kinds of broth: a clear, light broth that uses a combination of Japanese and French techniques; and a creamy, rich broth that draws from elements of the French demi-glace and Mexican pozole.
According to a press release, “The seasoning for the soups will be more traditional. Garcia will use a mix of Japanese sea salt and Oregon sea salts mixed with dry, fermented fish from Japan. The soy will be a mix of artisanal soy sauce from Shodoshima, light soy from Osaka, and Kentucky bourbon barrel soy sauce mash mixed with the same dry, fermented fish from Japan. The miso will be a mix of white miso from Nagoya and rice and barley misos from Osaka.”
You can choose mild to flaming hot spice to customize your bowl. In fact, Oni will specialize in hot and spicy ramen. “The “mild” spice comes in the form of chili bean paste mixed with a few chili powders; the “hot” includes all of the mild spices with the addition of habanero peppers; the “fire” features all of the above and ghost peppers; and the “Oni” spice includes the addition of 7-pot, scorpion, and Carolina Reaper peppers,” the release goes on to say.
Customers will be treated to different noodle varieties as well: thin, hard noodles, thick, curly noodles, whole wheat, and even gluten-free noodles made from yam. Community toppings include: pork belly, chicken thighs, soft or hard-boiled eggs, steamed leafy greens, bean sprouts, parmesan buttered corn on the cob or kernels, bamboo shoots, shredded leeks, and woodear mushrooms.
2801 W. Seventh St.
Fort Worth 76107