Chef Hideki Harada — formerly co-owner and chef at Kaze OTR — and his wife Yuko are slated to open Japanese gastropub Kiki in College Hill at the end of May/beginning of June.
To get people a lil' amped up for the menu of Asian bar food — which will include items like Japanese fried chicken, okonomiyaki, gyoza and Yuko’s special curry donuts — Harada has been hosting a Monday night ramen pop-up at Northside Yacht Club since December.
“I already love this bar, so having an option to have the same kind of clientele I want at the restaurant, it’s a nice segue,” Harada says.
Returning at 4 p.m. Jan. 8 after a holiday hiatus, the menu features both a classic and a vegetarian bowl of ramen. In December, the options were tonkotsu ramen (creamy pork broth, tea-marinated egg, spicy bean sprouts, green onion and black mayu) or veggie-friendly mushroom ramen (mushroom broth, soy-butter braised mixed mushrooms, bean sprouts, tea-marinated egg, green onions and black mayu), for $11 each. This month, Harada says he’ll be experimenting with a chicken broth ramen with pork belly and a veggie version with homemade kimchi.
December ramen nights were selling out quickly, so the Northside Yacht Club has upped their servings from 150 to 250 — still, fair warning to get their early.
The 65-seat Kiki will be located in a former bank at 5932 Hamilton Ave. in the College Hill business district and will have a liquor license.
“My wife and I are co-chefing,” says Harada.”We met in culinary school in Japan and we both kind of know the kitchen pretty well and it has always been a dream for us. It’s exciting and it’s actually going to happen.”
In addition to the gastropub menu, Harada says Kiki will also feature some raw fish items, “more like sashimi, plated with maybe some sauces and crudo salad, ceviche salad.”
“We will do sushi on Sunday, so it will be a once-a-week deal,” he says. "I think it will create a nice buzz, kind of like this ramen pop up.”
Chef Hideki Harada’s ramen pop-up continues 4 p.m. Mondays through January 29 at the Northside Yacht Club (4231 Spring Grove Ave., Northside). Kiki will be located at 5932 Hamilton Ave., College Hill. Find updates and more information at facebook.com/kikicollegehill.