After meeting Dassara Brooklyn Ramen owners Justin DeSpirito and his wife Lana at the , and sampling some of , Carroll Gardens Patch was hungry to know more about the soon-to-open noodle house at 271 Smith Street. We bet you are too, so here's a taste.
5 Things You Don't Know About Dassara Brooklyn Ramen
1. Dassara is Japanese for Pulling a Jerry Maguire
"Dassara is a contraction of the Japanese phrase datsusara," said DeSpirito, "which is loosely translated as 'leaving your salaried job to follow your dream.' In the context we found the phrase, the dream is to make ramen." The original use, DeSpirito shared, appears to come from a Japanese comic about a junior executive in a Japanese trading company who secretly, and against company policy, moonlights selling ramen at night. "The story/phrase just stuck with us," he said.
2. Chestnut Gave Them Their Blessing
"Lana and I have been going to Chestnut [ at 271 Smith Street] for years—including our last wedding anniversary," said DeSpirito. "We were having drinks and dinner with friends at Chestnut in early spring when we learned from Daniel, the chef and owner, that he and his co-owner Michael were sadly looking to close the restaurant." DeSpirito and his wife had always loved the Chestnut space, and jumped at the idea of turning it into a restaurant of our own. "Over the next couple of months, we got to know Daniel better, discussing food and our concept," he said. "And we eventually came to an agreement to take over the space."
3. The Concept Emerged A Year Ago, But the Dream Has Been Lifelong
"About a year-and-a-half ago Lana and I went to a ramen lecture at the Japan Society and we left wishing we had a great ramen restaurant in our neighborhood," he said. "Then it struck us that we shouldn't wait for someone else to do it when we could try to partner up with someone and do it ourselves." The couple then met now-business partner Josh Kaplan, a fellow ramen obsessive. "I've always had a dream of opening a restaurant," said DeSpirito. "To me a good restaurant is one of the few small businesses that can have an immediate and big positive impact on a community."
3. Yes, They Live in the 'Hood
"Lana and I live right between Downtown Brooklyn and Cobble Hill," said DeSpirito. "Josh, our co-owner and general manager, lives near Prospect Park."
5. They've Done Their Research... in the Mother Country
"We've always loved ramen as the ultimate comfort food," said DeSpirito. "At its best, it is prepared with a level of expertise and ingredients that rival the quality and nuance of any food in the world without being pretentious.
"We also loved the energetic atmosphere of ramen and noodle houses we visited in Japan, and the obsessive way ramen fanatics taste and judge the food, and we wanted to bring that energy and food to our neighborhood," he continued. "Of course, it's nervewracking knowing that our food is going to be judged by people who know what great ramen should taste like. But we are obsessive about this ourselves, so we are looking forward to the challenge."
Dassara Brooklyn Ramen is due to open on or about August 7.