Chef Justin Holt gained a following in Oak Cliff and elsewhere with his ramen pop-ups around town, starting in about 2012. Holt already was working at five-star restaurant Lucia by then, making charcuterie and handmade pastas by night and serving up scrumptious ramen by later night.
Salaryman is a tiny Japanese pub that offers ramen, yakitori and Japanese whisky in varying flavor profiles and price points. It’s also one of the few places in Dallas that serves shochu, a distilled beverage with lower alcohol content than other liquors. Salaryman uses it to make cocktails that won’t get you hammered.
Order yakitori by the cut of chicken — tender, breast, skin, etc. — for $3-$5 per plate. Holt says heart ventricle and knee cartilage have been harder sells, but they’re crunchy and delicious.
When they try it, “people really like it,” he says.
Don’t forget to order some pickles to cut the fat and spice of the chicken. There are several varieties on the menu.
Salaryman typically offers two ramen choices every night, with chicken or pork broth. There’s also the $36 “steak Hamburg,” an American take on a Japanese version of American food. It’s Salisbury steak made with wagyu beef, chanterelle mushrooms and truffles.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations. It’s first-come, first-served, and Holt says they’ve found that diners are patient. The wait gives them an excuse to wander around Bishop Arts, he says.
It’s artful food, and there’s even art in the serving dishes at Salaryman.
Oak Cliff-based ceramicist Your House or Mine made the plates and stick holders. Oak Cliff artist James Olney made all the ramen bowls and shochu cups. Holt and friends made all the wooden plates.
“The textures and colors really bring everything together,” he says.
Hours: 6-10:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday,
6 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday,
Sunday and Monday