Origami Asian Grill is slated to open at 4801 Folsom Blvd. sometime July 16-18, the co-owners and co-executive chefs said. It's a long-awaited horizon after months of creating more than 50 variations of noodles in a test kitchen and finding meats, vegetables and sauces to fill out the counter.
Origami customers will build their own ramen, rice or poke bowls or banh mi sandwiches from a list of ingredients like a "Chipotle of Asian cuisine," as Ostrander described it. Other menu items include fried chicken and pickled cucumber salad, plus daily specials such as gyoza or short-rib tacos as well as beer, wine and sake.
"We never like repeating ourselves if possible, which is why I think we like (having) the option to change all the proteins all the time," Ostrander said. "Keeping it changing all the time will hopefully bring in more people to try things."
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Chipotle has a reputation for being relatively small farmer-friendly for a business its size, and Origami wants that label as well. Ostrander and Dipierro will supplement Produce Express shipments with Szechuan peppercorns, baby bok choy, lettuce, berries and apricots from Del Rio Botanical in West Sacramento as well as assorted fruits and vegetables from Sacramento farmer's markets.
Ostrander and Dipierro were also initially planning to list pork baos as a special. After selling out at pop-up events over the last two month, they've permanently added them to the weekend late-night menu sold out of accordion windows on the building's west end.
Food offerings are sparse for bar-hoppers headed down Folsom Boulevard into East Sacramento and beyond after a night out, Ostrander said, and the drive-through lines at a nearby McDonald's and Taco Bell regularly pile up past midnight. Origami is counting on boozy passengers being willing to drop $10-$15 on a higher-quality option — say, handmade noodles with tri-tip smoked right out front.
Ostrander grew up in East Sacramento, while Dipierro was raised in Fair Oaks and attended Rio Americano High School. They worked together at Esquire Grill and the revived Paragary's before opening the Inn at Park Winters in 2015. Ostrander was in a 3-Michelin-Star kitchen in Chicago prior to coming home, and DiPierro earned his stripes in The Kitchen and the prestigious Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena.
Opening Origami doesn't mean they'll fully ditch fine dining, though. Beer dinners are being floated as an occasional possibility on Sundays, a day when the restaurant will typically go dark. It'll otherwise be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week with counter service until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
More concretely, Dipierro and Ostrander plan to open an exclusive "chef's counter" with a build-your-own tasting menu of 10-15 items that will host just 6-12 people per Friday and Saturday night.
"That'll be more of our passion project where we kind of get to play around and have some fun with a lot of different ingredients that we don't necessarily get to use (everyday)," Dipierro said.
The Bee's Benjy Egel is launching a new effort to cover Sacramento's dining and beer scene. Please send tips and story ideas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BenjyEgel or by phone at (916) 321-1052.