Ramen Kazama is an immaculate labor of love

Like any good soul food, which is how Ramen Kazama chef and co-owner Matthew Kazama thinks of ramen, this is the kind of dish that is more than just sustenance. It's comfort, it's culture, it's warmth. It's also inexpensive and fast, and it's a trend that's likely here to stay. Which is not to say it's easy. Kazama arrives at the south Minneapolis restaurant every morning to start a pot of broth big enough for him to climb into. "You could take a bath in it or something," he assesses. The broth alone calls for about eight to nine hours of coddling. Then, he tinkers with this batch to derive a handful of variations: Pork bone marrow, spicy miso, chicken, and curry ramens all require separate, specific care. This is to say nothing of the additions of pork belly and soft-cooked eggs and the collection of other traditional garnishes. And then there are the delicate scratch-made gyoza (potstickers), the textbook-perfect karaage (Japanese fried chicken), and a host of other small starters. Despite its simple accessibility, this cuisine is a laborious one. All of this for a man who never meant to make ramen in the first place. The odyssey chose him, not the other way around. Read our full review here. Photos by GRF.