Ima, the Japanese inspired noodle spot opened it’s third and largest location in December of 2019. Ima moved into the space where Sweet Loraine’s once was on the corner of Cass and Warren, in the heart of Midtown Detroit. Ima Midtown brings the comforting broths and bowls we all love, plus an expanded menu featuring the Spicy Chicken Sandwich that created lines around the block. Don’t worry, there’s a vegetarian version with fried tofu and it’s amazing! Additionally, Ima offers more unique appetizers that are bringing the flavor such as fried Japanese yam and yaki udon noodles which are served with no broth and meant to be a saucy comfort food.
Spicy Karaage Fried Tofu
Crispy tofu cutlet, house chili oil, cabbage slaw & house pickles, furikake kewpie (see below for definition), brioche roll, lemon.
This sandwich exceeded my expectations! First, I want to point out that the tofu was lightly breaded and well seasoned. The breading didn’t fall apart or break away from the tofu, which happens and, take it from me, it’s not good. Now, on to that spice. I asked our server how spicy this sandwich actually was and she said it was hot, but really good for someone who likes heat. She wasn’t kidding! The fried tofu is placed on a layer of cabbage slaw that adds texture and served up on a soft buttery brioche bun. This sandwich has a great chili flavor, but is very spicy! The kind of spice that burns so good and makes your nose run. It was delicious and after I was done, I wanted another. My only suggestion would be for more of those house made pickles (the sandwich came with three slices). These babies added a nice vinegary crunch to the spicy fried tofu.
Side note: What is furikake kewpie, you ask?
Let’s break it down, shall we? Furikake is a dry Japanese seasoning. Kewpie is a creamier mayo made with rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. Combine the two and you get what I refer to as a Japanese aioli that serves to counter the heat from the spicy chili oil.
Also, love that the sandwich is served with a bag of Better Made chips! Support local!
Curry Yaki Udon
Pan-fried udon, silky curry sauce, bean sprouts, cauliflower, celery, pickled ginger, pickled red fresno pepper. The Curry Udon from the Corktown location is my favorite so I was really excited to try the Yaki Udon version. This dish brings that rich, delicious curry flavor that I love, as a thick, creamy sauce. I really liked the addition of the celery and cauliflower. The pickled fresnos added a slight kick to balance the curry.
Tip: Don’t wear white! The silky curry sauce will slap you in the face as you suck up every udon noodle. It’s delicious, but it will end up all over your shirt. Hey, that’s half the fun, right?!
Miso veggie broth, soft egg, roasted tofu, smoked trumpet mushrooms, sesame garlic oil. The roasted tofu was my favorite! It was packed with so much flavor. One of the many things that Ima is good at is layering flavors and that really comes through in their veggie broth. It takes over ten hours to make so that the flavors really come together and you can tell. This miso broth was so good, yet so simple. This was the perfect bowl of ramen on a snowy Detroit day! I am definitely getting extra roasted tofu next time.
Most of Ima’s menu starts as vegan/vegetarian and can be customized by adding the protein of choice or other add ons. With the space for a bar, Ima offers cocktails (cleverly named after Mortal Kombat characters), beer, wine, sake, and an array of non alcoholic beverages including some creative mocktails. And if drinks aren’t your thing, satisfy your sweet tooth with one of Ima’s rotating vegan soft serve flavors which will include some fun and innovative ingredients.
Catch my podcast episode with my interview with Ima Owner and Chef, Mike Ransom. The episode will be released soon! Make sure you sign up for email notifications and follow the Bite Tonight on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss out on all the excitement to come!