From NYC to OC: Acclaimed Chef Keizo Shimamoto Opens Ramen Shack
Ramen Shack, NYC’s cult-favorite ramen concept from Japanese-American chef Keizo Shimamoto, has opened in San Juan Capistrano. Widely regarded as one of the best ramen chefs in the U.S., Shimamoto uses fresh craft ramen noodles that he developed himself and the menu will feature several of the greatest hits from his longtime NYC ramenya, along with the eventual return of the Ramen Burger.
In the meantime, serious ramen heads can look forward to favorites like the Signature Shoyu, with classic chicken and dashi broth, soy sauce tare, pork chashu, spinach, menma, scallions, naruto and nori, along with Ganja-style Tsukemen, with thick Tonkotsu Gyokai Dipping Noodle, soy sauce tare, pork chashu, gyofun, menma, scallions, naruto and nori. Seeking more funk and flavor? Try the Dirty Shoyu, with classic chicken and dashi broth, dirty shoyu niboshi paste, pork chashu, spinach, menma, scallions, Naruto and nori.
A fan-favorite and must-try is The Quiet Storm, a 13-ingredient broth with soy sauce tare, pork chashu, gyofun, spinach, menma, scallions, naruto and nori. There’s also the Infamous Green Curry, made with Quiet Storm broth, green curry paste, soy sauce tare, chicken chashu, spinach, menma, scallions, red chili, and cilantro.
“I started my ramen journey right here in SoCal more than a decade ago, so it only makes sense that I return and continue pursuing my ramen dreams here,” said Shimamoto. “Opening in San Juan Capistrano was an opportunity I could not pass up, such a great community with so much history and it really feels like it’s on the cusp of becoming a true food lover’s destination, too.”
After quitting his job as a computer programmer in 2009, Shimamoto, a second-generation Japanese-American, moved to Japan to embark on what can only be described as an epic ramen quest. He rediscovered his cultural roots, ate his way through thousands of bowls, and learned the art of Japanese ramen from true ramen masters. That culinary odyssey eventually led him to New York City and to the creation of the uber-viral Ramen Burger—one of the “17 most influential burgers of all time” according to Time Magazine, along with coverage from Good Morning America, CNN, New York Times, Eater, Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Japan Times and Los Angeles Times – to name a few.
Ramen Shack, Shimamoto’s ramen shop concept in Queens, NY quickly became a mecca for ramen lovers everywhere and has inspired countless other home cooks and professional chefs within the industry. When he closed the 10-seat ramenya, Serious Eats lamented that it was “the most exciting ramen shop in the country.”
It was the pandemic that was the tipping point for Shimamoto, now a father to three with his wife, Junko. The family packed up and moved back west to be closer to family.
Ramen Shack is the latest highly anticipated, chef-driven restaurant to arrive to San Juan Capistrano, on the heels of other critically-beloved concepts that have opened in the last year such as Heritage Barbecue and Mayfield.
During its soft opening, Ramen Shack will be open with abbreviated hours:
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday + Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ramen Shack is located at 31761 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.