A great restaurant is more than the sum of its parts. It’s not just about the food, the atmosphere and the service but how all of those aspects work together to create something amazing, and that is what Nosu Ramen in Golden is all about. Owner Brandon Bortles of Abejas and Noah Heaney of Miners Saloon were able to create a concept that ties traditional Japanese cuisine with a fun, playful atmosphere to not only delight your tastebuds but spark your curiosity.
Upon walking into Nosu you’ll notice the unique artwork and thoughtful decor. The restaurant was designed by the same artist who designed Abjeas and you’ll recognize discrete touches that tie the two restaurants together. “The atmosphere is contingent upon things you find out as you experience the restaurant,” stated Heaney. The pergola – the wooden structure that the booths in the middle of the restaurant are attached to – is traditionally an element of outdoor design but was brought inside as an ode to the Golden outdoor scene. It complements the large mural on the back wall that was inspired by artist Marcos Chin and created by a friend of Bortles. The mural depicts an outdoor scene of a woman on a swing surrounded by an apiary made up of small Japanese structures. If you look closely you can see small bees buzzing around – another small nod to Abejas. In the spirit of sustainability, Bortles and Heaney upcycled the stools and the large shelf behind the bar from other restaurants that recently closed in the area.
As Bortles and Heaney built out the restaurant some of the aspects grew much bigger than anticipated. One of these aspects is the bar program. “Noah and I just kept snowballing ideas back and forth and it became a lot bigger than we originally thought,” stated Bortles. Nosu currently has three cocktails on draft – the Yuzu Vodka Collins ($9), Pomegranate Gin Fizz ($9) and Ginger Pineapple Tequila Daisy ($9) – along with three traditional house cocktails including a grapefruit shiso daiquiri ($9), Paper Plane ($10) and Nosu old fashioned ($10). It also offers an extensive beer and wine list as well as six types of sake by the glass or can in addition to more by the bottle.
“Sake is usually an afterthought for restaurants but it’s an amazing component to the Japanese dining experience that we want to highlight,” said Bortles, “and it comes in such fun formats now.” The duo is also working with Coda Brewing in Golden to create an exclusive beer brewed with jasmine rice that will serve as the house lager.
Nosu’s menu offers much more than ramen, too. Chef Tommy Kummer –previously executive sous chef of Colt & Gray – blends his experience in fine dining with traditional Japanese techniques learned from consulting chef Ryan Gorby of ChoLon to create an intentional menu that is simple yet sophisticated. The small plates showcase some amazing Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques. Items include a shrimp gyoza ($9) that is handmade inhouse each morning and miso cod ($14) that is charred to perfection and served alongside a seaweed salad with seven types of seaweed.
The ramen bowls include a vegan miso bowl ($14), pork tonkotsu ($15), fried chicken ($15), duck ($17), and kimchi shrimp ($16) that are all garnished beautifully and will warm you right up on a cold evening. If you’re not too full after that, the desserts include three options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Coconut sticky rice ($7), fluffy cheesecake ($7) and a scoop of Alchemy ice cream ($3) – that will eventually be available in green tea, chocolate and a vegan sorbet – round out the menu.
Bortles and Heaney strive to make Nosu Ramen the go-to ramen spot on the west side of town. Located in downtown Golden it’s the perfect spot to stop on the way back into town from the mountains and the restaurant alone is reason enough to visit the quickly growing suburb.
Nosu Ramen is located at 700 N. 12th St., Golden. Open daily from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.