You know that I am a lover of themed things – food, parties, outfits, I don’t discriminate. So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the Ramen & Pho Pop-Up at the Beach Plum Restaurant on Mondays.
If you didn’t know, Chef Nathan Gould is back on Island, and he has joined Island Chef Josh Aronie Up-Island at the Beach Plum were some seriously fresh and delicious food is being created.
Nate used to be the Chef at the Harbor View Hotel. There he brought a lot of farm-to-table menu items along with his passion for creative flavors. He then travelled for quite a bit but is happy to be back, in a kitchen he can call home.
The Beach Plum Inn’s restaurant is the perfect platform for Nathan’s style of food. Basically all the farms are Up-Island, so getting the kind of local ingredients he wants is pretty easy. Also, he gets to go to many of the farms himself. It helps build an even closer relationship to the food he is creating.
Ok, so now that you have a brief refresher on Nathan, let’s talk noodles. Nate wanted to bring something good to the Island that you couldn’t find elsewhere. Since we don’t have a Japanese or Vietnamese restaurant, you don’t see much ramen or pho.
The Ramen & Pho Pop-Up happens on Mondays and will definitely be available during the rest of June. It’s pretty popular so there is a chance it might continue (fingers crossed), but I’d go sooner rather than later.
Driving to the Beach Plum is an adventure on it’s own. When I went on Monday, it was a cold, rainy night — perfect for something warm and comforting. What I didn’t anticipate was the beauty and lushness, and sheer enjoyment I got from the journey there from Oak Bluffs. Just stunning, pastoral, you know what I mean. What a gift to take a moment and take it all in.
Once we get to the restaurant, it is surprising full. I was glad I made a reservation. You’re always made to feel welcomed there, and we got a great table with a view. That view down into Menemsha is pretty awesome.
Each week, the menu has been different for the pop-up, meaning you can go back again and again. Also, how about the fact that it’s more than noodles. The menu is fresh and focused with just the right amount of choices.
You could get local razor clams in sriacha butter, Honeysuckle Oysters, Fluke Sashimi, Herb Rolls (fresh rolls), Dumplings with local lobster, crab and Bettlebung pork, Vietnamese crispy wings and more in addition to ramen and pho.
Clearly the menu was thoughtful and a wonderful combination of local ingredients with an Asian flair. With a packed dining room on a rainy Monday, I’d say the combination was working perfectly.
With a pop-up menu like this, you have to have appetizers don’t you think? It’s a time to go a little crazy and try as much as you can.
Before ordering, we were presented with freshly backed Chinese Five Spice bread. It was warm and has such good flavor, setting the tone for the meal to follow.
So, I love fresh rolls, so of course we got the Herb Rolls. Never before have a I tasted such fresh rolls, and never before had I had them with local ingredients.
The herbs were so lively and bright and like a nice little way to wake up your senses on a dreary day.
Of course I got the Dumplings with lobster and crab, I am a sucker for dumplings too. These were far more flavorful and even a bit more delicate than others. I liked the flavor trio, lobster, crab and pork. Oh and let’s not forget the broth (scrumptious) which I wiped out with the fresh baked bread.
There is a difference in ramen and pho. I’m not going to dive too much into, the noodles are a completely different texture. Ramen are thin wheat based noodles and pho has rice noodles in it.
Ramen traditionally has a darker broth, richer broth, made from boiling pork bones. Pho has a lighter feel to it because it’s lacking the gluten from the wheat and the broth is lighter, traditionally made from beef and the broth is simmered not boiled.
To pho or ramen. Luckily my husband ordered the Viet Pho Bo, so I got the ramen. His bowl was filled with rice noodles, shaved rib eye, waygu flap, serrano and a serving of side herbs to add as he liked. It was light and flavorful and full of fun textures. He loved it.
I got the Beetlebung Pork Tonkatsu Ramen. In my bowl, I had an abundance of curly ramen, a soft egg, pork head fritter (I didn’t think about that I just ate it because it was so damn good), scallions and tons of mustard greens. It was light yet hearty, comforting and satisfying.
The noodles made it fun to eat and the ingredients made it gourmet. Also, it was fun to see the chickens running around outside and knowing that’s where the egg came from.
This is definitely the first time I’ve head gourmet ramen. Bye bye microwave, hello delicious, sophisticated bowl of noodles. You have a fan, even if I don’t know what half of the ingredients are.
There were also dessert options, but we stuffed ourselves silly because it was so good, leaving no room for another course. This is one pop-up you should try. I love it when chefs have fun with their food creations and bring the locals something different.
When I talked to Nathan for a moment, he was pretty busy, he was really excited about doing this fun pop-up style menu. No one else is doing it and the food is so fresh and aromatic and beautiful. Creating menus and food like this for the Beach Plum is allowing him to really connect with local farms.
Knowing where the food comes from and cooking locally is part of what makes Nathan a happy chef and clearly a happy chef is a very good chef. Thank you to team at the Beach Plum for bringing us something so different and special.
Author’s note: I’d like to remind you that the restaurant is BYOB. Also, I brought my children as well along with a back-up stash of PP&J just incase.
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