Photo by Thomas James Spravka
Mihoko Obunai, a chef who came to local prominence after opening the now-defunct Repast with then-husband Joe Truex, will begin making ramen at So Ba in East Atlanta the second week in September. Obunai’s most recent gig was a short-lived stint as executive chef at Joli Kobe Bakery & Cafe.
She says her decision to leave Joli Kobe was a result of the restaurant ceasing dinner service (due to financial constraints).
“They asked me to commit for two to three years and then they started changing things,” she says.
With her schedule unexpectedly open, Obunai and sous chef Andy Tran chose to join chef Nhan Lee at So Ba, a Vietnamese noodle house, where they will expand on the ramen pop-up they once offered at Joli Kobe.
“It will be a small, simple, cheap menu,” Obunai says, adding that she will include pork-based, chicken-based, and vegetable-based ramen options. “Right now ramen is so happening—and I know how to do it right.”
They will serve a seasonally changing menu of ramen and yakitori for lunch Monday through Friday. Depending on how it goes, they may add ramen to the Saturday lunch menu or offer pop-ups in the evening.
“Ramen is my culture, my soul food that I want to share with people,” says the Japanese chef.
Meanwhile, Obunai is on the hunt for a space for her own ramen and yakitori restaurant. She’s considering Decatur as well as the Krog Street Market, but nothing has been solidified yet.