When it comes to food holidays, National Ramen Day is undoubtedly one of the slurpiest on the calendar.
To celebrate a chopsticks-forward April 4, Dan Coughlin, chef and owner of 8 East in Circa (with assistance from Chef AJ) gave a late-morning demonstration of how the restaurant assembles its visually striking ramen bowl ($18).
The key to a great ramen — beyond chewy noodles and an abundance of savory toppings — is the broth. And in Coughlin’s recipe, this means lots of beef bones.
“We have 60, 70 pounds of bones that we roast for three or four hours. Then we take those bones and throw them in a pot right before we close,” said Coughlin at the beginning of the kitchen exhibition. The roasted bones with all their caramelized goodness are then paired with aromatics — onion, garlic, ginger and more — and covered with water. From there, it’s low flame time.
“It simmers all night,” he said of the mélange while stirring a portion of today’s finished broth in a saucepan.
In the mornings, more soupy sorcery happens with those simmered beef bones. “Then we strain [the broth], blend it with some miso paste, some fish sauce, a little bit of soy sauce and a little bit of sugar just to balance it,” said
There’s also an extra ingredient: the kitchen staff scoops marrow from the bones and adds the luscious substance to the bullion. It makes for a silky mouthfeel and a rich taste.
“We get a nice creamy broth. We think it’s fantastic — a lot of flavor from the bone marrow,” said Coughlin.
There’s only one ramen bowl available on 8 East’s pan-Asian menu, but it’s a delectable doozy with thin-sliced beef filet, sliced wild mushrooms, halved soft-boiled egg, bok choi leaves, a sheet of nori (seaweed) and chopped scallions on top. And don’t forget a dusting of fried garlic for good measure.
It all makes for one of the most beautiful and flavorful bowls of soup in Southern Nevada. Good thing it’s available 365 — not just on National Ramen Day.