Photo by Shane Harms
Kasu Ramen - grilled pork belly in a sake lees, chicken, and pork broth with shiitake mushrooms and shaved leeks.

Kasu Ramen booms with umami goodness at Bloom Restaurant

By Christy Wolyniak

Tucked away in Ballard is a new joint blooming with tantalizing possibilities that might surprise even the most skeptical of palettes.

What began with a Bento Box has now blossomed into Bloom Restaurant, which has been bustling with business since its August 16 opening.

Farm-to-table-inspired Japanese cuisine uses fresh ingredients from local farms with a menu that changes daily, depending on what produce is available at Farmer’s Markets.

A small black sign stands at the front of the restaurant advertising its Ramen bowls and specials. At first glance, it appears so dim inside that one might be tempted to do some window peering. However, behind these doors a variety of tasteful Japanese pleasantries and handcrafted cocktails lures diners in by the handfuls.

This quaint restaurant holds a number of tables inside and a cozy bar top that offers a variety of libations. Delicate glass lanterns hang from nearly invisible posts, creating a floating, muted atmosphere.

Bloom offers draft beers such as Georgetown 9 lb Porter, Sapporo, and Odin’s Gift from Odin Brewing Company. The Bloom crew also makes a few batches of fresh berry cordials using fresh berries from the market.

Handmade blackberry and blueberry cordials sip strong and offer the heat sensation of liquor, yet mixed with soda water and ice, transform into a refreshingly friendly libation. To heat things up, Bloom also serves Nigori Sake from Seattle’s first sake brewery, Cedar River, located in Greenwood.

An art in itself, Bloom presents its fare beautifully rich in both color and flavor.

Delicious small plates start cheap ($5 - $10), with Kumamoto Oysters on the half-shell (when in season), Miso soup, and a favorite: Lazy Devils – soft-boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce and served on dollops of kewpie mayo topped with crunchy flakes. These devils were so tasty, one might easily consume a dozen eggs if they are not careful.

Large plate menu items include a marinated Koji Chicken ($15) served with rice and pickled cucumber, Nibuta Donabe- niman ranch pork shoulder that is braised and served with maitake mushrooms, and a favorite: Kasu Ramen - grilled pork belly in a sake lees, chicken, and pork broth with shiitake mushrooms and shaved leeks.

On a cold, dreary wear-extra-socks-kind-of-day, Bloom’s Ramen can heat up any cold soul with cooked vegetables such as tomatoes and mushrooms over a generous helping of noodles swimming in vegetable or chicken broth and the option of meat. The light taste has a hint of miso, and is filling -- becoming a favorite of many.

Next up its sleeve, Bloom will host a pop-up brunch by Kiss My Grits on February 9. The food truck will feature South Carolina fare in a mouthwatering three-course meal including Hoppin’ John Black Eyed Pea and Rice Cakes, Shrimp n’ Grits and ‘Nana Puddin’. Tickets are $25 for the 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. seatings. http://kissmygrits.brownpapertickets.com/

For more information about what Bloom Restaurant is up to, visit http://www.bloombento.com/.

Bloom is located at 5410 17th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

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