Scottsdale’s POSH Restaurant, opened by chef owner Josh Hebert in 2008, has received high (and well-deserved) accolades since Day One. Its unique “improvisational cuisine” allows you to literally choose your own dining adventure, which begins when you sit down, either at a table or at the Chef’s Dining Counter—literally a “bar” that wraps around the open kitchen, affording a truly interactive experience (definitely my preference!). You’ll be given a simple paper “menu,” which contains a list of the evening’s main ingredients. You simply check off your likes/dislikes, allergies, dietary restrictions, and the like, and then it’s whisked away to Josh and his team, who create a unique tasting menu created exclusively for you.
The first time I dined there, the meal was nothing short of exquisite (and fascinating), and it was then I had probably the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten to this day: Uni Panne Cotta. Words simply cannot describe how velvety rich and delectable this was; you’ll have to trust me on this one! But each dish, one after the other, was a culinary work of mouth-watering art. It was a dining experience like nothing I’d ever had before.
But then there’s POSH’s other side. Usually once a month on a Wednesday, late at night (from 10 pm to midnight), Josh turns his unique restaurant into a haven for lovers of Japanese “street food”—ramen and okonomiyaki. Now, before you cringe like I initially did, naively thinking ramen equated to the disgusting, sodium-laden packet of dried noodles sitting in my pantry, left over from my now adult daughter’s school days—this is TRUE ramen: wheat noodles served in a deeply flavorful meat- or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy or miso, served with a variety of toppings like sliced pork, dried seaweed (nori), green onions, hard-boiled egg, and so on.
Okonomiyaki is a sort of Japanese “pancake,” essentially made with an egg-based batter and cabbage, topped with bacon (yes, BACON!), okonomiyaki sauce (Worchestershire-based), a mayo sauce, and dried bonito flakes, which do a delightful “dance” as the dish reaches you, reacting to the heat of the pancake.
POSH’s “Ramen Night” (the next of which is TONIGHT, folks!) has developed a large and loyal cult following, often frequented by food industry types or just those who love this stuff. Josh, whose impressive resume includes a stint as chef at a five-star American fusion restaurant in Japan, found he was craving these dishes when he came back to America. “I had to learn how to make it to satisfy my craving,” he says. “It’s the one thing about Japanese food that I can’t believe hasn’t caught on faster than sushi.”
For late-night eats, this can’t be beaten, both for atmosphere and deliciousness. Expect it to be busy, fun, and hectic in the kitchen (Josh insists each bowl of ramen and each okonomiyaki is made to order, and everyone tends to arrive at the same time–be patient; it’s worth it!). The menu is simple and extremely reasonable. A bowl of ramen will only set you back $10; there are at least five types to choose from: shoyu (soy sauce), goma (sesame), miso, vegetarian, and shrimp. So far I’ve tried the shrimp and shoyu varieties (both fantastic); the shoyu is made of garlic, shallots, ginger, soy, mirin sake, pork stock, dashi stock, sprouts, leeks, scallions, pickled bamboo, pickled ginger, a hard-boiled egg, nori, and char sui pork (belly the time I had it), and, of course, noodles. The equally tasty okonomiyaki is $12; Japanese beer will also be available.
For those of you who just can’t fathom going out to eat after 10 at night (trust me, I had to take a nap first, but it is WELL worth it!), take heart: Josh says he’s working on opening a Japanese street food/ramen shop, but it’s “hard to say” when that might happen (“People who just throw money at you are hard to find!” he quips).
In the meantime, follow POSH on Facebook to be alerted to their popular Ramen Nights … or by all means venture in to experience their awesome tasting menu one evening!
7167 E. Rancho Vista Dr., Suite 111 (street level, parking underground)
Scottsdale AZ 85251
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m.