Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Ki Ramen Coming to Pittsburgh This Year

Chefs Domenic Branduzzi and Roger Li to partner on a Lawrenceville noodle house.

photos by fine humans

A 70-seat ramen restaurant called Ki Ramen will open this year Lawrenceville.

The noodle shop is a partnership between chefs Domenic Branduzzi of Piccolo Forno and Roger Li of Umami. “Before Umami opened, I did a ramen pop-up at Grapperia (Branduzzi’s grappa and amaro bar located around the corner from Piccolo Forno). There were lines down the block. So Dom and I sat down and decided to partner up on a ramen shop,” Li says.

Ki Ramen has thrown three pop-up events since then. Lines began forming early at Market Street Grocery in October, the Livermore in November and the former Salt of the Earth Space (dubbed “shio,” the Japanese word for salt) in December. I was particularly taken by the warm savoriness of the curry ramen on the December menu.

Classic ramen styles such as tonkatsu and shio will be offered, but diners shouldn’t expect a traditional ramen shop from Li and Branduzzi. "We're not doing 100% Japanese ramen. We're taking influences on both him and me,” Li says, adding that “It's not a fusion place, though. We're doing food we like to cook.”

The menu will be a collaboration between the two chefs, but Li largely will handle the broths and Branduzzi the toppings. The menu will focus almost entirely on ramen, though Li says that some smaller dishes such as soup dumplings likely will be offered.  

Li says that the two chefs ate a lot of ramen in several cities — especially Philadelphia and Washington D.C. —  to prepare for Ki Ramen’s opening. They found a common thread in their travels. "Ramen shops tend to use noodles bought from Sun Noodles. So everywhere has noodles that basically taste the same,” he says.

Better ramen shops tend to craft their noodles in-house. Branduzzi has used the Piccolo Forno pasta machine for Ki Ramen pop-ups, but that isn’t a practical solution for day-to-day restaurant operations. To that end, the duo recently purchased a high-end Yamato ramen noodle machine, a device that will allow them to produce the low-moisture alkaline noodles that are part of what makes ramen so seductive. The machine also can produce a variety of other noodles, plus gyoza wrappers and soup-dumpling skins.

Li anticipates that Ki Ramen will open in March, though unanticipated delays, particularly the permitting and inspection holdups that increasingly have become common in Pittsburgh, could push back the opening. Expect the monthly pop-ups to continue until then. The next one is scheduled for January 23 at DiAnoia’s Eatery in the Strip.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Mobile Service To Connect Hungry Pitt Students to Free Food

PittGrub app will send folks in need to events with leftovers.

What's It Like When You Go from Laborer to Being The Boss?

Pitt's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence has been teaching business strategies to startups and century-old companies for 25 years.

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Richard DeShantz steps it up with a move from Downtown to Lawrenceville and shows Pittsburgh how to make French dining fun.

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialties, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG Paints Arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.