A cooking class at Lan-Ramen-Ya Restaurant (formerly YUGA) in Coral Gables, given by award winning Chef Johnson recently and it was a scrumptious experience.

This was a fun new way to excite our taste buds and dive into a culinary adventure.   Chef Johnson explained that he was at the helm of the sushi revolution which exploded years ago in this popular Miami neighborhood.   Today Coral Gables has a vast variety of restaurants offering sushi and according to the chef; raw fish and rice are no longer an exotic dish for locals.  Besides the regular Japanese dishes on the menu clients can enjoy Ramen-Noodle-Soups such as the classic: tonkotsu white pork broth, pork belly chashu, with soft boiled seasoned egg, bamboo shoots, spinach, nori & scallions (14).

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, seven of us hungrily congregated in the comfy, elegant restaurant located in the heart of the fine dining area. Chef Johnson greeted each member of our group with a smile, a bow and offered us generously poured glasses of red or white wine.  His jovial attitude and encouraging manner assured us that we were in good hands for our 3-hour cooking/dining moment.  Actually the class was more of a culinary trip into understanding the importance of simple and healthy Asian dishes which was fine with all of us.  They say the good ones make it look easy.  He made everything look easy however we all know that it takes years of studies and hands-on work to become a top chef. Scott, one of our fearless guests learned the intricacies of making popstickers. Each popsticker is filled with a pork and chive raw mixture. Once the ‘pasta’ exterior envelopes the mixture, the popstickers are dipped into very hot boiling oil and finally taken out of the oil and pan fried for a crispy finish.

On the menu for our tasting group: Korean style tuna tartar, vegetarian spring rolls, Miso marinated salon, seafood Yellow curry vermicelli, garlic, beef tataki-seared served on baby spinach with a lemon soy broth and  Kimchee fried rice.  All available on the regular menu.

His sauces are simple, light and favorable.  His personal touches have delighted clients for over a decade.   He enjoys wandering into the dining room, greeting guests and asking about their encounter with his innovative Lan-Ramen-Ya tweaked Asian dishes.

They are closed on Sundays except for special events such as private cooking classes or scheduled parties.

Lan-Ramen-Ya Restaurant, 357 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables, Fl. 33134.  Details: 305.442.8600