After a brief shutter and remodel, Hachi Ramen has replaced Artisan Bento at the corner of 5th and Laurel in Bankers Hill. While Artisan Bento was an ultra-casual Japanese concept, focusing on a quick-service bento boxes, bowls and buns, Hachi Ramen is a sleek new sit-down eatery with a fresh menu that specializes in traditional and more innovative ramen variations.
Owner Shihomi Borillo, who also owns Park West’s popular Azuki Sushi, has added more seating and a ramen bar to the space, which is now open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Although some plates from Artisan Bento remain, including the poke and chirashi sashimi bowl and a handful of Azuki Sushi’s most popular sushi rolls, Borillo has expanded the menu with new options that range from a multigrain rice bowl topped with farmer’s market vegetables to a chopped salad dressed with sesame vinaigrette, daily seafood crudo dishes that might include hamachi aguachile topped with lemon, cucumber, shishito pepper and shiso, and a charcuterie board of roasted duck, blue cheese and smoked skio-koji cream cheese.
But the new focus is on ramen, from classic tonkotsu and spicy tan tan chicken to roasted duck with foie gras oil, yuzu and chicken-soy broth and a seafood version with Hokkaido scallops, shrimp, corn, Brussel sprouts and brown butter. A vegan rendition, based on a savory soy milk broth, includes shiitake mushrooms, zucchini blossom and black garlic oil.
The bar program has also been enlarged, now ranging from craft beer, sake and sochu to wine from the Valle de Guadalupe and shochu-based cocktails including a mule variation made with premium sweet potato shochu. A daily 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour includes $4 hot sake, a $5 daily cocktail and deals on bites ranging from teriyaki pork buns to chicken and shiitake mushooms in spicy garlic ponzu.