Slurp Squad

Using frozen or dried noodles to craft authentic Japanese dishes isn't Jonathon Sawyer's style. Teaming up with a local source to get the job done fresh is. So as he prepared to open Noodlecat, Sawyer turned to Ohio City Pasta to handcraft fresh udon and ramen noodles and modify its existing soba recipe. "They do the best-quality, fresh noodle on that level of anybody," Sawyer says. He, his team and Ohio City Pasta owner Gary Thomas drew inspiration from noodle houses and chefs they admire. Sawyer even traveled to Japan to sample ramen at more than 40 shops, and he sent his chefs to New York City to do the same. The group perfected the udon recipe in two batches, and the soba only required tweaking. The ramen, however, took the team six batches to get right. "The ramen has a distinct chew, and it's based on its reaction of alkaline with flour," Sawyer says. "That took us the longest to nail down." He adds all the noodles are "slurpilicious," and the Ohio City udon and ramen will be available exclusively at Noodlecat until the new year. The noodle house's diverse menu offers 100-year-old dishes, American mash-ups and modern Tokyo favorites. 234 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-589-0007,

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