After gaining a cult following during its two-year run as an exclusive, invite-only pop-up, pastaRAMEN is debuting its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Montclair, N.J., in early February.
The first-ever Italian ramen shop perfectly marries Japanese and Italian cuisines in a style called “Wafu-Italian,” which blends ingredients, textures and techniques from both worlds. Co-founder and chef-partner, Robbie Felice develops deep, umami-rich flavors to captivate guests and create a modern culinary adventure for the new age of fine dining.
“The response we received from our pop-ups in Montclair, Jersey City, Miami and Los Angeles was overwhelmingly positive, so when it became clear that there was an appetite for pastaRAMEN and this new type of cuisine, we knew we wanted to give the restaurant a permanent home in New Jersey,” says Felice. “As a chef, it’s incredibly rewarding to get to be creative and give people a dining experience they’ve never had before. Just imagine walking into an Italian ramen shop. That’s pastaRAMEN.”
At the forefront of the developing Wafu-Italian movement – which directly translates to “in the style of Japanese and Italian” – Felice’s expertise is showcased through an à la carte menu of decadent dishes such as cacio e pepe gyoza, a hand-folded, deep-fried dumpling filled with imported parmigiano Reggiano and fresh cracked black pepper; mochi ramen carbonara tsukemen, a signature pastaRAMEN standout delicately balanced with limone, sesame, togarashi, parmigiano and egg yolk; tonkotsu ramen with porchetta and the crowd-favorite udon alla amatriciana which combines guanciale, tomato, miso, black pepper, chili, scallion and pecorino romano. For beverage pairings, pastaRAMEN offers an extensive craft mocktail list. For those looking to imbibe, the restaurant is BYOB with no corkage fee, taking on a “dinner party” feel and inviting guests to bring their favorite beverages, gather around the table and celebrate any occasion.
MEET THE TEAM
pastaRAMEN is part of Montclair Hospitality Group – the chef driven, global hospitality company focused on curating unique restaurant brands and experiences. The elevated dining concept is a partnership between James Beard Rising Star Chef semifinalist Robbie Felice, chef-owner of the critically acclaimed Viaggio Ristorante and Osteria Crescendo, and Luck Sarabhayavanija, MHG’s Founder who recently announced new additions, bringing on new CEO Joey Simons and a who’s who of the culinary world. Chef Robbie and Luck are two longtime friends that came up with the idea for pastaRAMEN in 2020 as a way to support restaurant staff during the pandemic and maintain the ability to dine in an intimate setting. The concept combines a love of Japanese and Italian food to define a new culinary category. Felice, who has worked in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens across the globe, helms the kitchen of pastaRAMEN, while Founder Sarabhayavanija and , with almost two decades of experience in hospitality, heads operations.
Located about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan in downtown Montclair, the town’s epicenter for art, culture and entertainment, pastaRAMEN seats up to 65 guests in an 1800 square foot space. Envisioned by local design firm Gidich + Sepulveda Architecture the restaurant’s edgy interior brings a modern feel to the otherwise historic building. Walking through the wood-paneled entrance, guests are greeted by a vibrant, pop-art graffitied wall by local artist Victoria Poplaski, with playful nods to the team’s other restaurant concepts woven throughout its imagery. A second eye-catching mural, by Juan David Henao, pays homage to the streets of Tokyo, setting the scene for diners to be fully immersed during their meal. Black leather booths, natural wood textures, dim-lit ambiance and an open kitchen create dimension while staying true to pastaRAMEN’s speakeasy-style roots.
pastaRAMEN will be Monday to Thursday from 5PM -10PM and on Friday and Saturday, the restaurant will be open until 11pm. 4pm to 9pm on Sundays. Reservations can be made through Resy, and private event inquires can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (973) 337-6965 to inquire.