Shimo (formerly Shimo Modern Steak) is the latest creation from two-star Michelin chef Doug Keane. Keane is the chef/co-owner of the top end and elegant Cyrus and the lower priced local burger emporium, the Healdsburg Bar & Grill. Keane's first iteration of Shimo turned out to be a disaster when the locals loved the free $195 steaks at the soft opening, but couldn't afford to go back when paying full freight. To be fair, there were several lower priced beef choices, but the combination of steaks, sides, and an overpriced wine list was not for Wednesday night casual dining. So now we have a try at the other end of the price spectrum (sort of) with a $7.95 bowl of noodles. Included in the price is, you guess it, a bowl of noodles (either ramen or soba) with your choice of four broths, a few sliced canned bamboo shoots, two thin sheets of nori (pressed seaweed), and a sprinkling of green onions. You can, however, add some protein, ranging from $2.50 for five pieces of tofu, three chunks of fatty pork belly for $4.50, on up to some Wagyu beef for $20 per oz. Vegetable options are also available. Service was friendly and an interesting touch was that a couple of the young chefs served the bowls in their white cooking jackets, one of whose sleeves were nicely rolled up to show off his tattooed artwork which completely covering his lower arms. This would probably be OK in a waterfront dive in some port city, but not the most appetizing sight for lunch in trendy downtown Healdsburg. Also interesting was that the chefs put their thumbs in the large bowls as they served them, no doubt testing to see that the broth temperature was just right. As to the quality of the four broths, all we could say was the kitchen was in desperate need of a good Japanese grandmother to show them how it was done. When the check came, we agreed that there was no real reason to go back to this version of Shimo. Instead, like the Rocky movies, wait for Episode Three.
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