After a quick reimagining (more colorful Japan-inspired overtones, way more Japanese whiskey), the former home of Josh Henderson's Bar Noroeste is reborn as a ramen shop.
Kiki Ramen opens softly on Wednesday, March 1, in Amazon's Doppler building near Seventh and Westlake, the neighborhood reclaiming its long-dormant Regrade moniker. "We're not trying to be all cheffy about it," Henderson said earlier this year when discussing the pivot from Noroeste's avant garde tacos. But his Huxley Wallace Collective's restaurant group did bring in Jason Harris—who ran the kitchen at the former Showa izakaya, thus no stranger to good ramen, and was proprietor of the lovely but short-lived Bloom restaurant in Ballard—to oversee a lineup of five familiar ramen styles (shio, shoyu, tonkotsu, veggie miso and spicy miso) plus a riff on mazemen, a no-broth style of ramen, inspired by Sichuan's mapo tofu. It's a concept aimed straight at the preferences of the surrounding office lunch crowd, though the "small bites" menu definitely has a happy hour persona—okonomiyaki, gyoza, a tater tot variation made with rice cooked in dashi then fried in panko crumbs.
Hours will be 11–9 Monday through Saturday, and 11–8 on Sunday. The Kiki Ramen website should have menus and details soon.