The cauldrons of broth are finally bubbling behind the ramen bar at Shibumi as Eric Stapelman opened his Japanese eatery this week at 12th and Pine. The restaurant is the latest addition to the newly constructed Collins on Pine building, a big change for Stapelman who ran his previous Santa Fe ramen joint from a 19th century-built structure.
Shibumi features two bars, one for ramen and one for booze, and plenty of table seating. The vaulted ceilings and blue steel finishes give a slick overtone to some old-world elements, like the hand-burned wood panels to surround the ramen bar.
“A touch of modern with old world,” Stapelman said.
In September, CHS first reported on the Capitol Hill arrival of the “notorious” and “provocative” restauranteur.
Shibumi’s base is traditional ramen pork broth, which takes two and a half days to prepare. Stapelman said he starts with 100 quarts of stock, reduces it to 60, brings it back up to 100 through adding more bones, reduces it to 60 again, then a final reduction to 18 quarts.
“You want a consistency that makes your lips stick together,” he said. “It’s been a challenge to find great ramen soup.”
In preparation for opening day, Stapelman said he put 80 cases of bones in storage — a supply that will only last a few weeks.
Japanese appetizers, small plates, and three types of Wagyu beef sold by the ounce round out the rest of the food menu. Shibumi also offers an impressive sake menu, but Stapelman said Shibumi’s substance is in the soup.
“We don’t want to become a craft cocktail bar, there are plenty of people doing it well already,” he said. “We’re focusing on old school Japanese food and country cooking.”
Shibumi is located at 1222 E Pine. The izakaya is open 5 to 10 PM on Monday through Wednesday, 5 to 11 PM Thursday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays. You can learn more at shibumiseattle.com.