Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
Yuji Ramen has been getting a lot of buzz in the food world lately. Japanese chef Yuji Haraguhi’s unusual ramen dishes have been a popular option at Smorgasburg since last year; the chef is serving a sold-out tasting menu at Whole Foods through the summer; and the word is a permanent location will be opening up in Williamsburg in the next few months.
All of this excitement made me curious about the noodles. When I found myself at Smorgasburg this past Sunday, the last thing I was craving was ramen soup. It was one of the warmer days of the year and I could have done ice cream, oysters, even a huge BBQ sandwich. But ramen wasn’t on my mind.
Yet I saw that Yuji Ramen’s stand had virtually no line and I thought this would be my opportunity to see what all the hype was about – ramen craving or no ramen craving.
Turns out the ramen that Yuji is serving is not the ramen I was expecting. All of his wacky concoctions are brothless mazemen-style ramen, more similar to a rich Italian pasta dish (but with no vodka sauce in sight). So I wasn’t going to have to sweat in this heat.
While the bacon, egg, and cheese ramen sounded intriguingly weird, I chose the Squid Tan Tan. Sure, the portion was small for $10, but the flavors were big. The springy noodles soaked up the light sweet/spicy flavors of shiso, garlic, and seaweed. On top of the noodles sat the mind-boggingly delicious squid ragu, which featured chunks of tender squid in an Italian-style ragu sauce. This was one strange but refreshingly delicate ramen dish.
This brief taste makes me want to march out to Yuji Ramen’s special omakase meal at Whole Foods and to start eating more ramen in the summertime. Bring on the sweats!
|Available at Smorgasburg:
Saturdays: East River State Park (90 Kent Avenue), Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sundays: Tobacco Warehouse (30 Water Street), Dumbo, Brooklyn
Follow on Twitter: @YUJIRAMEN