This article was originally written for the Detroit Jewish News Nosh Section and was published on November 1 2018.
Ima Noodle Bar – Pronounced Ema like mom in Hebrew.
Situated on Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s oldest and historic neighborhood Corktown you will find the little gem of a modern style Japanese noodle bar called ima. Causal in its demeanor and unassuming in its exterior appearance, you may accidently drive by it the first time you go. Keep an eye out for the sign adhered to the building at the corner of Michigan Avenue & Vermont Street.
It’s totally one of those chef-driven restaurants with a boat load of soul & flavor stuffed into a 900 SF space. Chef Mike Ransom puts a creative spin on serve signature udon noodle soups, rice bowls, curries and small plates. His recipes are foul-proof and provide you the consistency of your favorite new neighborhood joint. The menu is friendly to the spicy friends, vegetarian or vegan friends, and even the gluten free friends. Divided up by sections such as Snack + Share, Noodles, Rices and Add-Ons. If you are a picky plain person you could have a heyday of a meal just by choosing several add-on options.
Let’s get straight down to it – the must- haves include the Jicama shell [Ima] tacos & Lobster Udon, and Golden Curry with Tofu. Inside the ima tacos your lips will be graced with wakeme slaw, green chili hot sauce, toasted corn, shiso, and the added protein of your choosing (spicy shrimp, roasted tofu, garlic chicken, smoked pork loin, or avocado). Even the obligatory green salad is elevated and is known as “goddess greens” aka baby romaine, radish, jicama, avocado, furikake, with miso goddess dressing. The noodle dishes will have you slurping for joy! The silky savory broths are made over night for a period of 12-14 hours. You can literally sense all of good vibes and energy that were put into making the broth. The golden curry dish makes you go MHMM at first bite as the silky warm curry delights you from the outside in. The golden curry dish is bright and colorful with in-house pickled and root vegetables surrounding your protein of choice on top a mountain of steamed rice with nori and hemp seeds . Don’t be disappointed that the boombap does not have a hot stone bowl beneath it – it will be delicious!
Whether you are first or last to order, you can guarantee the flavors and quality will remain. There is street parking available on Michigan Avenue. Ima is a wallet-friendly restaurant where you don’t have to sacrifice a high price for a highbrow flavor. Open 7 days a week Monday through Thursday 11AM to 10PM, Friday and Saturday 11AM to 11PM, and Sunday Noon to 10PM.
It’s a walk in style restaurant but you are able to make reservations for parties of 6 or more by calling. Get ready to make new friends because this spot hosts communal tables supported by industrial chic chairs as well as window seating with high top bar seats. I would recommend to go with a smaller group of people. The popular restaurant is busting at the seams with customers since the day it opened in 2007. Ima Noodle Bar expanded to include an all seasons patio with picnic tables. Recently Chef Mike Ransom announced he will be opening a 2nd location in Metro – Detroit’s Madison Heights. Go get out of the house and get yourself a bowl of noodles at Ima!
Detroit is my hometown and I gotta rep – come and visit and you won’t regret ! xx Linz