Mondays just became a little less hellish, thanks to a new treat from Sarasota's State Street Eating House + Cocktails. While the restaurant section of the establishment is shut down on Mondays, the bar stays open, and three weeks ago the boozy half of the business began serving up bowls of ramen flavored with a pick of vegetables and proteins like pork and duck.
On a recent Monday evening, my wife and I dipped into the bar to try out the new special. Word of the new noodles has certainly gotten out. Almost every customer bellied up at the bar was hunched over a big white bowl, fiddling with chopsticks and slurping broth. The restaurant offers a steady menu that includes a traditional bowl with pork, eggs, green onions, watercress and soy sauce ($15.99); a miso bowl with bean sprouts, corn, pork and eggs ($15.99); a pork belly bowl ($17.99) with eggs, mushrooms, Little Smokies and kimchi accompanying the pig meat; and a vegetarian bowl with chickpea tofu, kimchi, bean sprouts and watercress ($15.99). But there's also a bowl-of-the-week, and tonight it's duck sausage, which we're unable to resist.
The noodles are crafted by State Street's Noriko Tamaru, who incorporates baking soda into the mix and kneads the dough aggressively to achieve the correct texture. Her noodles are fortified enough to stand up to the variety of broths that fill the bowls. The broth in the duck bowl is creamy and subtly sweet; the pork belly one a bit lighter, with a peppery pop. The vegetables in both are cooked way down. The mushrooms in the pork bowl are particular standouts. Each order comes with a small appetizer: either a trio of pork dumplings or a room-temp cucumber salad seasoned with salted plums.
Altogether? Good enough to make you wish State Street served this every night.
State Street Eating House + Cocktails is located at 1533 State St., Sarasota, and serves ramen in the bar 5-8 p.m. every Monday. For more info, call (941) 951-1533 or visit the restaurant's website.