Late Night Ramen and Cocktails Rule at Noraneko
Noraneko, the spin-off ramen shop of Biwa, opened in mid-March. Nestled under the Hawthorne bridge, the restaurant’s name translates to "alley cat." It joins the list of Industrial District hot spots, such as Olympia Provisions, Clark Lewis, le Bistro Montage and Boke Bowl. It’s the latter of these, the well established and popular ramen spot, that Noraneko will have to prove itself against and will undoubtedly be compared to in coming months.
The noodle shop, like a number of other recent places in town, concentrates on small menus, counter service, late hours and craft drinks. The main focus is on four ramen options, priced at $8 each: shio, shoyu, miso and vegetarian. Also available are a few appetizers, including gyoza and boneless fried chicken, as well as add-ons for the ramen; The pork belly chasyu is worth the $2 charge to add, as is the extra garlic, which is priced at $0 on the menu, and comes with three bulbs of raw garlic and a garlic press for patrons to garnish as liberally as they desire.
Open until 2 AM every day, the restaurant is clearly aiming for a late-night bar crowd, which may set it apart from Boke, which closes at 9 PM.
The environment is casual and bright, with an appropriate South-East Asian flair. Seats and booths spill out into an industrial hallway to make room for crowds. While there may be a decent line to the counter, food and drinks are promptly served almost as soon as guests find a table.
There is some steep competition, but a strong start and the prior success of its parent shop, Biwa, are auspicious signs for Noraneko’s future. This might be your newest casual date spot or the best spot to satisfy your late-night craving for ramen.
Photos by Alexander Frane
Tags: Cocktails, Food