Detroit’s Corktown Ima restaurant reopens with new location and menu

The wait is over for udon noodle fans.

Ima, the Japanese-inspired noodle spot in Detroit’s Corktown, has completed its move to new digs and is open.

The move wasn’t far, just across the street on Michigan Avenue and west of the first Ima location, which opened in late 2016.

Now called Ima Izakaya, the spot opened last Friday in the former Gold Cash Gold space.

My new spot in Corktown is in the former Gold Cash Gold space.

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Ima Izakaya is three times the space of the old location with a larger dining room as well as a kitchen space. There is also a full bar.

“The progression and timing was perfect because it allowed us to gradually grow and adapt to this sizeable space,” said chef-owner Mike Ransom.

The new, larger space, Ransom said, allows him and his team to explore and be more creative with new techniques and ingredients. Ransom said the move to the new spot was a “natural progression that made a lot of sense because the premiere allowed us to learn in a more manageable space.”

Inside the new Ima Izakaya in Corktown.

“In order to continue exploring new experiences for our customers, we needed more space,” Ransom said.

Its new expanded menu includes around 40% of the items taken from and inspired by Ima’s original menu, plus a few additions.

“We’ve tweaked those items and the remaining 60% are also brand new shareable items and items from our yakitori grill and fried items,” Ransom said.

On the menu are udon noodle soups, pan-fried yaki udon, rice bowls, pho and more.

Cold and hot plates are a variety of items ($6 to $14) and enough to share, depending on the menu. Cold dishes include Ima’s homemade pickles, Hamachi crudo, chilled yuzu prawns, beef tartare, and chilled udon noodles.

On the hot menu are pan-fried shishito peppers and karaage chicken — lightly breaded, karaage-fried chicken pieces. A vegan maitake mushroom dumpling joins Ima’s original shrimp and scallion dumpling.

Shishito peppers with tamari, chili-lime sea salt served with lemon wedges.

Skewers and grills ($6 each) from a Robata grill, served only after 4 p.m., are a new addition.

The new Robata is a grill designed for high temperature cooking, reaching temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees.

“It allows you to grill on skewers at a rate that allows you to keep up with demand,” Ransom said. “It seals in the juices of the food you grill, scorching on the outside so it’s juicy in the center.”

There are half a dozen offerings, including a vegan option of smoked asparagus and trumpet mushrooms, Kawahagi Triggerfish jerky, mini Kurobuta pork sausages, and chicken Tsukune dumplings.

Chicken Karaage with furikake kewpie and lemon.

“The Robata grill menu was set so that we could encompass more than just chicken,” Ransom said. “This menu will build and evolve into some really fun bites that you can share with a group. Stuff that’s good with a beer or a saki and to share.”

Much of Ima’s beloved udon noodle soups and pan-fried yaki udon menu items ($15-$17) have moved to the new location with a few additions.

Udon soups with thick udon noodles in a savory broth include soft-boiled egg, scallions, wakame, crispy garlic, shallots, and chili threads, according to its menu.

Its pan-fried Yaki udons without broth are still on the menu with the addition of a teriyaki version and spicy Yaki kimchi. Yaki udon includes market greens, shiitake, green onions, crispy shallot, chili threads, lemon and nori. With all udon you can add an optional protein.

“We refined our broth recipe and added miso yuzu broth udon as well as golden bonito dashi broth udon,” Ransom said.

Adding to Ima’s line of rice bowls is a pork belly with kimchi and Japanese barbecue glaze. There’s also a Japanese-style eggplant steak with Japanese barbecue glaze over rice with avocado, kimchi, and radish.

Ima’s head chef is Kiyokazu Miura who, according to Ransom, brings Ima extensive experience in preparing raw fish.

“He brings his techniques to the team and some of his inspired designs are on the menu as well,” Ransom said.

Ima’s new full bar and cocktail menu includes sake, wines, bubbles (champagne and sparkling wines), beers, and low ABV cocktails and mocktails.

There’s also a cold appetizer station at the bar that will offer chilled seafood, crudos, tuna, and beef tartare during dinner service.

There are over 80 seats, including seats at the bar. There are another 40 seats on the covered outdoor patio along Wabash side street and I-75 service, which Ransom says should be used for all four seasons.

Ima Izakaya outdoor patio

Ima has locations in Madison Heights and Midtown. In 2019, Ima was named Detroit Free Press Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Restaurant of the Year. Ransom also owns SuperCrisp, a Midtown sandwich shop that’s been around for about 6 months, featuring karaage fried chicken sandwiches and burgers, and its Oki fries seasoned with lime chili and sea salt, topped with of its Oki sauce, sliced ​​ginger, green onion, nori and kewpie.

New to Ima is booking through Tock.

Ima Izayaka, 2100 Michigan Avenue, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press food editor, and send food and restaurant news to: [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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