Since chef Sarah Gavigan opened Otaku Ramen this past winter, the sparsely designed space has had a line out the door most days. The draw is not only the noodles, which come from the open kitchen in steaming bowls of long-simmered bone broth—the Tennessee tonkatsu, a pork bone broth, is a crowd-pleaser—but also the adjacent whiskey bar. There, in a dark-lit, cozy space that’s more relaxed than the quick-service dining room up front, bar consultant Ben Clemons (No. 308, Old Glory) has pulled together an extensive selection of Japanese whiskeys that includes Hakushu 12 year and Iwai, which he’s using to craft beverages that pair with the food, rather than competing against it. The Wabi-Sabi, for instance, is a mix of Akashi white oak whiskey and hot barley tea that gets an aromatic twist of smoked lemongrass to meld with the pork dumplings and lemon ponzu.
1104 Division St., Nashville, Tennessee
This story appears in the print issue of June 2016.
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