A cool new Asian restaurant combining some of the hottest trends in dining is about to open in Plano. Yatai Ramen Izakaya will open on September 15, in a space on Coit Road that was previously home to a juice bar.
Yatai, which in Japan is a food stall or shop, has: ramen, an izakaya component, a vegan option, a ramen with bacon, and it's in Plano, the hot new foodie city. Are we missing anything? The restaurant comes from husband and wife Ken Lin and Jasmine Kim, and some of their family members, who also own Sushi Haruya in West Plano.
Lin says that their goal is to offer different experiences depending on when you visit.
"We have ramen but also a number of Japanese tapas-style side dishes, some of which are unique," he says. "At lunch time, we emphasize ramen, but at dinnertime, that will change into more of a bar atmosphere, where people can have drinks and a few side dishes. We have a large sake program and anticipate a more glamorous ambience at night."
The menu is extensive and intriguing. It begins with small plates such as fried chicken, pork and vegetable dumplings, shishito peppers, and fried tofu. There are potato croquettes; chashu roasted pork; and a cool dish called corn cheese, which has corn topped with melted cheese.
A section dedicated to tempura offers the usual shrimp and mixed vegetables but also fried oysters and a bacon-wrapped portabella mushroom. Noodle and rice dishes include udon noodle soup, cold soba noodles, and kimchi fried rice.
And there are larger plates and entrées that range from conventional options such as salmon to more unusual dishes like steamed buttered clam soup; Japanese crisp sausages; and two kinds of savory pancakes — one Japanese-style and the other Korean-style, topped with seafood.
Meanwhile, a “yaki” grilled snacks menu runs cheap, with items such as chicken liver, scallops, and meatballs ranging from $2 to $3 each.
Last but not least, there is ramen — 14 kinds — including tonkotsu with pork bone broth; two kinds of miso, one regular, one spicy; tan tan men with sesame-flavored broth; tsukemen with the broth in a separate bowl; a “kimchi bacon” ramen; a curry ramen; and a vegan ramen. Yay for vegan everything these days.
Kim says they're going for a balance. "We have traditional and common food, but at the same time, we try to balance it with new experiences," she says.