A fast casual restaurant called U:Don Fresh Japanese Noodle Station plans to open its doors in the University District in mid-December. Much to the surprise of nobody, it will serve…udon. The traditional Japanese wheat noodle, slightly thicker than a ramen noodle, will be made fresh in the open kitchen, says owner Tak Kurachi, on equipment brought over from Japan.
Much of the udon we experience in America is premade and even precooked, says Kurachi, who says his cooking experience includes I Love Sushi and Wann izakaya. He promises “there’s just no comparison” with a housemade version and describes the noodle as “a comfort food in Japan that’s not really represented in America.”
U:Don will follow a format similar to Chipotle, says Kurachi. Diners start with a bowl of noodles and make their way along the counter, specifying their desired toppings, from scallions to tempura. The menu will include eight to 10 udon dishes, both hot and cold and costing between $3.75 and $5 a bowl. Seriously. Kurachi is also quick to tout his udon as a decently low fat meal. Unless, of course, you go crazy with the tempura.
The prices alone are enough to make U:Don a hit with the student crowd. The restaurant, located in the former Pita Pit location at 4515 University Way NE, will be open for lunch, and Kurachi’s still finalizing his dinner schedule.