In musical terminology, “andante” means moderately slow tempo. In the ramen world, “andante” can be used to describe how the broth is cooked, at a slow tempo for 24 hours to maximize flavor.
Andante is also the name of a ramen restaurant that opened this February in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and it’s no surprise that it has a musical name. Andante’s owner/chef is Shigeto Kamada, a jazz musician who fell in love with regional styles of ramen during his travels through his home country of Japan while in his early twenties. When Kamada moved to New York City in 1981, he immediately missed the authentic taste of Japanese ramen. Sixteen years later he returned to Japan on a tour with his jazz band, and he made it a point to visit as many ramen shops as possible, dubbing it his “Gourmet Ramen Tour.” Not only did he spend time eating ramen, but he taught himself how to make it as well.
After the devastating terror attacks on September 11, 2001, Kamada decided it was time to pursue his true passion and perfect his own ramen recipes. Drawing on inspiration from the ramen he loved in Japan, Kamada opened Minca in the East Village in 2004, followed by Kambi Ramen House four years later.
In 2004 The New York Times featured Kamada in an article about the city’s ramen boom. He was quoted as saying,” I only started making ramen here because I needed some to eat. I can’t live without it.”
The ramen boom continues to this day, and Kamada is still in the thick of it.
The third jewel in Kamada’s ramen crown, Andante is a small and tidy restaurant that serves what Kamada refers to as “authentic Japanese soul food ramen.” There are several styles, including shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso, chicken, spicy, and veggie. Kamada has adapted his recipes to suit Western palates, so there is something for everyone here. His flavorful broth is the result of his years of practice and the influences of the ramen he savored in Kumamoto, Hokkaido, Fukuoka, and Tokyo. The noodles are the standard wheat flour with a nice texture and chewiness, but gluten-free bean noodles are available as well.
You’ll hear classic rock during your meal at Andante – think Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and The Who – combining Kamada’s moderately slow-tempo musical world with his ramen world.
Andante is located at 130 Grand Street in Brooklyn, between Berry and Grand Streets, and is open seven days a week from noon until 10:45 p.m. Contact them at 929.397.0010. Visit their website at http://newyorkramen.com/andante/.