940 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43201
Recently opened in the Short North, Ampersand Asian Supper Club takes advantage of one of the Midwest’s hottest neighborhoods to draw people to one of its trendiest cuisines today. Yes, ramen has become much more familiar from the once-simple convenience food to a much better understood Japanese street food dish in Midwestern cities like this. As it does, it takes an ambiance and a peaceful kind of feeling that combines with the modern and upscale of the neighborhood.
The menu is short but each item was put together with thought and complexity. Don’t forget the free green tea! Some of the things I liked:
- Smoky Shoyu Ramen: This thin broth has some soy, dashi and chicken and is filled with a braised pork belly, scapes, shishito, nori, and a few other veggies.
- Shio Ramen: Mush fisher than your average ramen, this thin broth has a fish sauce-inspired broth, squid ink noodles, octopus, wakame, bok choy and generally a much saltier dish. The nice texture of the octopus kind of evens out the rest of the dish.
- Miso Ramen: Soy and sesame broth deepen the flavor of this one, filled with bok choy, roasted corn, plenty of kimchi, some shrimp, cilantro and some sesame seeds. This one is strong on the salty, umami flavor.
- Fries: Pretty straightforward, this one. A little sea salt and shaved nori, and topped with a little red chili mayo on the side. These are nice to crunch on while waiting for the main course, but definitely best when shared by two or three.
- Kyoto Warrior Cocktail: Roku gin, habanero-infused Dolin Blanc vermouth, Thai basil-infused simple syrup, lime, matcha and egg white. Light and spry and a little froth.
The restaurant has a nice low-key ambiance, with a modern twist. It’s best when enjoyed either by a couple – at a small and intimate setting – or as a group enjoying that scenic large round table evoking a seiza eating style for groups.
Ramen is a pretty complex dish, and the wider set of options available to people in town means competition is fierce. This take on ramen offers a more complex set of ingredients, a higher price point but still more of a luxury feel to it. Which I like, because it just needs an upper-scale take. It’s worth at least a try.
- The bar has a short menu but what’s here is complex. Good for an adventurous eater and certainly one who appreciates Japanese food.
- A good date night, and probably a quick one as food here is very fast.
- Consider the smoky shoyu ramen the best thing to try first, though tonkotsu is also very popular.