Dry ramen? I was intrigued. I was even more intrigued that Yuji is only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. It’s a pop-up restaurant that shares the space behind a bar with another restaurant that operates on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The vibe is very hip, even more hip than Williamsburg itself because it is tucked away from Bedford Ave in a garage that is also an art gallery. So hip.
The space is very small. We were lucky enough to secure the back long table against the cool Asian mural (K.C. – it is Asian!!). The menu changes constantly. The uni ramen that so many Yelpers yelped about was no longer on the menu when I got there. I imagine they are doing their market research and rotating items to see which ones are the best so they know which ones to implement when they open their real deal.
I ordered the Chilled Tomato and Clam ($11) while everyone else ordered the Summer Crab ($12). The benefit to dry ramen is that the noodles stay al dente throughout your gastronomic journey, unlike traditional soupy ramen. There is no broth to weaken the chewiness. My chilled ramen was perfect for the hot summer night (no air conditioning at this venue!). The tomato and clam sauce made it taste almost like an Italian pasta sauce over Japanese noodles. Clams were barely present but definitely added to the flavor of the fresh tomato paste. My only qualm about the dish is that the portion was way too small. It seemed more like an appetizer portion. It would be a perfect bar snack though… Maybe that’s what it is intended to be. In that case, lower your prices, please!