—Robbie Felice’s much anticipated culinary adventure is finally open to the public. With it comes a dining concept completely new to many.
You are probably tired of hearing about Chef Robbie Felice, but the truth is, the acclaimed chef continues to push the boundary of what is possible in New Jersey dining. Over a year ago, Felice teamed up with Luck Sarabhayavanija of Ani Ramen to put forth a traveling, luxury-tasting menu concept deemed Pasta Ramen. The elegant display of culinary excellence popped up around the country, including stints in Jersey City, Miami and Los Angeles.
The idea centered around a cuisine Felice calls Wafu Italian—which blends the flavors of Japanese cooking with the techniques of Italian cuisine, or sometimes, vice versa. Who better to team up with for this idea than Ani Ramen? The titans of ramen in New Jersey. These dinners were extravagant, complete with A5 wagyu beef, Hokkaido uni, truffles and much more.
Now, Felice and Sarabhayavanija finally open the doors to the long awaited brick and mortar by the same name. Pasta Ramen in Montclair brings Wafu Italian fare in a much more approachable manner. The duo aims to bring Italian-inspired ramen to the streets of Montclair. Take for example the ramen noodles with kurobuta sausage ragu and broccolini—Felice’s play on a classic cavatelli with sausage and broccoli.
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What Felice does is take a dish that’s either Japanese or Italian and figures out how he can infuse pieces of the other cuisine within it. This can mean anything from cacio e pepe gyoza to ramen noodles in a carbonara-inspired sauce. There is seemingly no limit to what Felice can do with food.
Felice began brainstorming this idea all the way back in 2020, when he started doing pop-up dinners at his critically acclaimed restaurant: Viaggio in Wayne, NJ. Here, he would present guests with a tasting menu that was stippled with a Japanese flare. As the concept continued, he got more obsessed with the idea of this style of cooking. Eventually, as he developed the concept into something more concrete, he realized just how popular this cuisine could be.
Pasta Ramen’s first standalone location opens Saturday, January 28, 2023. For Felice—who owns restaurants in both Wayne and Westwood—it is his entry into Montclair, a city known for its food. With Sarabhayavanija’s long tenure in Montclair, he is a valuable partner for this venture. Together, the duo has big expectations to live up to. Something tells me that won’t be an issue.
Reservations can be made now here.
About the Author/s
Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for food journalism midway through his schooling and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. Peter never stops learning and he is always in the weeds.