25 Bond St
(between Livingston St & Fulton St)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
ANOTHER ramen place I needed to try. I needed to try it so badly I was willing to trek all the way into Brooklyn for it, and not Williamsburg I tell you, DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN. So far, I have tried Totto, Ippudo, Minca, Kambi, Hide Chan, Rai Rai Ken, and Yuji, all hyped up ramen places that battle every year to be the best (let me add that Totto doesn’t get as much love as I think it deserves). Ganso is now added to that list. It is rated 4 stars on Yelp with 84 reviews, most of which rave about the “perfectly al dente noodles” and “solid ramen” bowls. One even described the the ramen as “transcendent.” Go figure.
I came with V.P. and J.W. for a Sunday lunch. We shared the Buta Kimchi Buns ($9), which came with two buns stuffed with 9 braised pork belly, jalapeño kimichi, and spicy mayo. It only cost $4 for an extra bun (I was expecting $5). I wasn’t expecting too much from this almost conventional “pan-asian” bun filled with korean kimchi, chinese pork belly, and mexican jalapeños. Given the whole mexican korean food truck craze and the general korean-chinese mix, the concept (A.W.) of the bun seemed ordinary. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised. The pork belly had a perfect 2:3 fat to non-fat ratio. It was thickly sliced and mouth-wateringly succulent. Flavors were just right; a little sweetness and saltiness from the pork with no extra sauce (aka. actually flavored meat) and a little acidity and spice from the jalapeño kimchi. The mayo wrapped everything up in a nice creamy explosion of flavors. I really enjoyed this.
Both J.W. and V.P. ordered the Spicy Miso noodles ($13), which was a bowl of vInaka miso broth, slow-braised pork shoulder and pork belly, ajitama egg, and seasonal greens. As J.W. mentioned about ten times throughout our meal, there was no spice at all. The soup was watered down, salty, and not the least bit spicy.
I went “all out” and ordered the Stamina noodles ($14), which was a bowl of chicken-soy-sauce-chili broth, shrimp paste, chicken chashu, onion, napa cabbage, and garlic chives. The soup tasted just like the Spicy Miso noodle soup – bland, watered down, and salty. This is very strange since miso should have quite a distinct flavor..
Noodles were pretty decent though barely memorable. Definitely not as al dente as Totto makes it.
I ordered their Hojicha tea ($3), which is a loose leaf roasted green tea from Ujitawara, Japan. The bowl and tea strainer contraption was cute and the tea was pretty fragrant. They even gave it to me for free because they ran out of hot water when I initially ordered it. The tea still tasted good after its third run.