Bergamo native and chef Michele Belotti, who has been at SF’s ~RISTOBAR~ since 2011, left the restaurant a couple of weeks ago and will be opening his own project in Rockridge, BELOTTI. It’s going to be a combination restaurant and pasta shop, where you can come by for his incredible housemade pastas (have you ever had his agnolotti?), sauces, and more, to eat there or bring home. It’s going to be 35 seats and open for lunch, dinner, and brunch. He’s aiming to open at the end of January, we’ll keep you posted! Belotti is moving into the former I Squared Kabobery/Homespun Fare space, FYI. 5403 College Ave. at Hudson, Oakland.
In the meantime, Ristobar is looking for a chef to take his place, and will be making some changes to the overall concept as well. Stand by for more.
In other noodle news, the ramen scene continues to bubble. Eater ran an update of Kyle Itani of Hopscotch’s upcoming project, ITANI RAMEN, and here are some of the latest details. The project will open in January, and Itani plans to offer a range of ramen that celebrates the different styles of regions throughout Japan. He’s brought on chef Brian Ikenoyama (the pair worked with Sho Kamio at Yoshi’s together) to run the kitchen day to day, and they have some interesting things planned.
The exploration of regional versions of ramen will be paramount, and Itani looks forward to trying new and experimental things. As he says, ramen is not necessarily a rigidly traditional dish in Japan: “ramen broths, noodles, and toppings continue to evolve from generation to generation and prefecture to prefecture.” To this end, there will be a rotating regional ramen bowl on the menu, as well as signature dishes including a light, Northern-style broth, a rich, Southern-style one, a vegetarian choice, and a cold noodle salad, plus gyoza and donburi. To drink, there will be sake, shochu, and beer, with shots of cold shochu served out of a refurbished and modified Jaeger machine. There will also be an in-restaurant vending machine with Japanese desserts, including monaka ice cream sandwiches (with azuki bean), red bean ice cream bars, and Pocky—so, yeah, this place should be fun. 1736 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland.
In Emeryville’s Public Market, SHIBA RAMEN is now open and serving their ramen, which seeks to strike a balance between accessibility and authenticity. Shiba comes from a pair of married former chemists, Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura, who traveled to Japan and did extensive research (including measuring the salinity of ramen broth) before opening the project. Berkeleyside Nosh has lots of details on how much research has gone into the project and reports that they are serving five different types of ramen, all with English names (they don’t want ramen newbies to feel intimidated). The space is casual, with counter service, quick service, and not a lot of toppings or other options. The space is currently softly open, with a limited menu, and a grand opening with a full menu is coming in January. Emeryville Public Market Kiosk 10, 5959 Shellmound St. at 59th St., no phone.
Michele Belotti’s agnolotti at Ristobar. Yelp photo by Joyce C.