Mondays at Sushi Hana are “$1 Not Just Sushi Night,” ideal for sushi lovers like myself, but also for sushi skeptics who can try tempura sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms and broccoli before working their way up to chicken egg rolls, unagi (barbecued eel) or spicy yellowtail maki (three pieces for a dollar!) without breaking the bank. Which could explain why the place is so packed.
Sushi Hana originally opened off Reserve Street in 1998, but has since changed locations and owners. Now it’s run by Japanese native Yuriko Hagen, a Sushi Hana dishwasher-turned-chef. And she’s dishing out something new since taking over the place two years ago: housemade ramen. If you’re like most people, the last time you had ramen was in college when you were also shooting tequila, eating mangos off makeshift Frisbee plates and possibly making other poor choices. That ramen is not this ramen. Order Sushi Hana’s handmade, meatier, nuttier, flavorful ramen dishes, like Miso Butter (which comes in regular or spicy), Tonkotsu or Ginger Soy. It’ll set you back $11 or $12, depending on which option you choose, but trust me, those two slices of braised pork belly that come with the dish are worth their weight in gold. Also included: half a soft-boiled egg, snow peas, onion and a pat of butter added to the broth to enhance all the flavors. The broth is built around a “legit Japanese 5-spice from Japan,” although there’s also definitely a whisper of Sriracha.
“You can make it vegetarian or vegan, but we’re trying to keep things as authentically Japanese as possible here,” says Matt Maddox, ramen aficionado and the Indy readers’ Best Waiter of 2017. “So, if you don’t like noodles, this is not the dish for you.”