Try This: Reaper Ramen, if you dare
2801 W. 7th St. | oniramen.com
Oni means "demon" in Japanese, and you'll swear you've bitten into one upon your first taste of Jesus Garcia's fire-breathing Reaper ramen, a dish made for those who prefer their spice levels cranked up to 11. But rest assured: Garcia offers several types of the popular Japanese noodle soup at his swank ramen spot in Crockett Row at West 7th, and most do not require tongues of steel.
The former Little Lilly Sushi chef spent two years in Seattle studying the art of ramen-making, an education you can taste within the depths and complexities of his housemade broths. The magnificently rich tonkotsu, a pork-on-pork soup featuring pork broth spiked with pork belly, is a good place for newcomers to start.
Those who gravitate toward the light should happily slurp down the Assari, made with chicken broth and steamed greens. A full-on veggie option is comprised of a cabbage-soy broth topped with bean sprouts, greens, kernels of corn, green onions and wood ear.
Non-soup options include excellent poke bowls, pork belly buns and terrific octopus-studded wheat balls known as takoyaki.
Oni is one of the few restaurants on West 7th to stay open late. On Friday, it's open until 4 a.m. and on Saturday until 3 a.m. A second location recently opened in Dallas’ Deep Ellum.