Ima, located on Michigan Ave, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Motor City Wine, opened its doors in late December of last year. Chef Michael Ransom’s Michigan roots and his passion for Japanese comfort food and is what started the udon (thick wheat flour noodle served hot in soup) themed restaurant. The space is small, but is full of big flavors. With a seasonal menu offering a variety of noodle soups including Spicy Pork Udon and rice bowls like the Golden Curry, Ima brings together Japanese cuisine with home cooked feel good food.
Steamed edamame: Chilis, lemon, olive oil, sea salt. I really liked the bright, spicy, seasonings. This normally yummy snack was amped up with flavor. I couldn’t get enough.
Unagi-don Rice Bowl: BBQ glazed eel, pickled cucumber, slaw, pickled ginger, radish sprout. I am a huge eel sushi fan so when I saw this on the menu, I had to order it. I was worried that the eel would be fatty and when it came out, my suspicions were confirmed. This required me to put in a little work, but once I did, it was slightly sweet from the eel sauce and satisfactory. The pickled veggies were slightly acidic, but cut through the rich eel. I added a fried egg and boy, am I glad I did. The yolk created a sauce that added a bright color to the rice bowl.
Golden Curry Rice Bowl: Silky curry sauce, root veggies, ginger pickle, soft boiled egg. When I spotted the bok choy, I was thrilled because it’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I don’t get to eat it too often. The curry flavor was bold, without being overwhelmingly spicy. The scallions added a mild onion flavor and a nice bright crunch.
Spicy Pork Udon: Toasted chili broth, smoked pork loin, soft boiled egg, garlic oil. This bowl brings the heat! The pork was tender, juicy, and sliced thin. The broth was seriously spicy with a hint of smoky. It was almost hard to eat because of how hot it was, but the broth had good flavor. This would’ve been better if they toned it down just a tad.
Curry Udon: Silky curry broth, soft egg, ginger pickle. Be prepared, because you will definitely slurp with this bowl! I recommend cutting the noodles into smaller pieces to make eating this less messy. The curry broth was savory, subtle. and not super spicy which I liked. The ginger pickle added texture and the sour flavor complimented the curry.
Service was really good and I was impressed with how accommodating and friendly the staff was. The tables are set up as shared seating which I always like because I get a good view at what my neighbors are enjoying. If you know me, I hate menu’s because I can never decide. I want it all! So being able to see the options in the flesh helps me make a dinner decision. I was bummed out that Ima doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages, but hopefully they will have their liquor license soon. I will definitely be back to try the Ima tacos and Mexican Coke. Ima offers gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Join Ima for dinner, they are open Tuesday-Saturday, 5pm-10pm.
Thanks for an awesome time, ladies! Can’t wait for our next adventure.