WATCH: We sat down with the owners of Shalom Japan, who have combined a classic Jewish soup with a classic Japanese soup
"It's a dish that we conceived as a sort of way that we share each other's cultures. It's a little bit indicative of our philosophy behind the restaurant, being that it's a little bit Sawa and it's a little bit me," says Aaron Israel, from Long Island, who co-owns Shalom Japan with his wife Sawako Okochi, from Hiroshima. "Aaron's matzah ball soup is something that's amazing to me. So, it wasn't hard to think of this dish because adding ramen noodles to the soup is pretty easy," says Okochi.
The couple, who live upstairs from the restaurant with their son, met through mutual friends in the New York restaurant world. According to them, they knew their relationship would last when Israel ordered tako wasa, a wasabi-infused octopus dish, on a date at Ippudo in the East Village. "Aaron's like, 'I want tako wasa,' and I was like, 'really? You want tako wasa?' I was like, maybe I can take this guy to Japan," says Okochi.
The restaurant is located in South Williamsburg which has been the home for Brooklyn's Jewish community, particularly the Hasidic community, since the 1950's according to Slate, while it slowly been encroached on by Williamsburg's more arts-oriented, restaurant-loving, international crowd. Shalom Japan sits on that border, both geographically and culturally.
The Japanese-Jewish fusion does not stop at the matzah ball ramen: the menu also boasts a lox and rice bowl, a sake kasu challah, a weakfish sashimi salad, and a Japanese pancake with pastrami.
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