Photo by Shinmai Yelp.com
With its sleek nightclub appeal and menu mixing snappy izakaya (Japanese small plates) with classic ramen, Shinmai hits Uptown Oakland’s sweet spot: It’s a hive for connection, pleasure, and nourishment. Co-owners Yingji Huang—the man behind Montclair’s Kakui—and chef Andy Liu—who recently returned from a years-long immersion in Japan’s
ramen culture—have partnered to create this flourishing neighborhood’s latest venture. On our visit, intriguing snacks from the robata grill included caramelized pork belly, blistered shishito peppers, and charred corn, each flavored with subtle and complex Asian accents. The best dish was thick slices of ocean trout lightly piquant with lime and sumac. The tonkatsu ramen featuring hearty noodles, luscious pork, and wood-ear mushrooms in a rich and earthy broth brought a comforting conclusion. 1825-3 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, (510) 271-1888, shinmaioakland.com. Dinner Wed.–Mon.