Lunch Squad. That’s the name this group came up with when we first met back in September over lunch at the new West Washington Avenue location of Madison’s Red sushi restaurant. We’ve gathered at a different location every month since, usually on the last Thursday and have sampled some of the city’s new and solid standbys.
This month I put out the call again on Facebook: I have a reservation for eight at Morris Ramen, just off the Capitol Square. If you’d like to check out this new restaurant with us, say “I’m in!” in the comments. You should come!
Every month familiar faces blend in with new around the table and every month the group hits it off. By the time our checks arrive, new friends are exchanging Instagram handles, websites and random foodie facts–last month, someone asked what the difference in taste was for fresh tumeric vs. dried.
In October we visited Ha Long Bay on the east side–a stand-out is always the feel-good Tom Kha. In November we went downtown to Osteria Papavero (owner/chef Francesco Mangano’s Pasta al Forno that day was a tower of pasta, sauce, meat, cheese and peas–I ate that and followed it up with his That’s-so-damn-good! creamy and caramelly budino).
We went a bit farther east Madison in December to Om Indian Fusion. One look at the Galab Jamun at the buffet had us all eager to head back up for those fried pastry balls in cardamon syrup with cocoa and coconut.
Last month, we met back downtown and down the steps to cozy Layla’s Persian restaurant. I am still dreaming of the lamb shank I ordered that Laila Borokhim, owner/chef, served over fragrant butterful rice.
I can’t wait to share more about the Lunch Squad and what we eat next month. If you’re in Madison and we’re friends on FB, you too should come!
In the meantime, if you go to Morris Ramen and you should, here’s some helpful info.
- Name: Morris Ramen
- It’s about: fresh ramen noodle bowls from chefs/husband & wife: Matt Morris (who spent the last eight years at Shinji Muramoto’s Restaurant Muramoto–now Muramoto Downtown–and several months in Japan, immersing himself in the food and culture) and Francesca Hong, who gets props for being one of the youngest female executive chefs while at Shinji’s 43 North. And Shinji Muramoto himself (Muramoto Downtown, Muramoto Hilldale, 43 North) is also in this kitchen rounding out one hell of a ramen team.
- And eat the: pork bun with pickle, hoisin and Hong’s chicken wings with kimchi ranch, pickled daikon
- Open since: December 2016
- Helpful Hint: Got long locks? Bring a hair tie and tie it up for maximum noodle slurpidge.
- Location: in the former Red sushi restaurant just off the Capitol Square on King St. And before that, Muramoto’s first restaurant location.
- Address: 106 King St., Madison
- Hours: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 am -2 pm; Dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10pm
- Website: http://morrisramen.com/