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.
We also shared Rio’s Wings ($9), which included 6 Bonchon-esque wings. Legit tasted like Bonchon. Continue reading
N 11 St & Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
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!
238 E 14th St
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
I can’t believe they make everyone who orders this combo say, “Straight Frush.” Must be hilarious for the waitress/cashier to see everyone speak with an Asian accent.
I chose the Haus Bao (hanger steak, crushed peanut, cilantro, relish, taiwanese red sugar), Birdhaus Bao (chicken brined overnight and fried to order, spicy seasoning, salt, cilantro, crushed peanuts), and the Chairman Bao (braised Berkshire pork belly, crushed peanut, cilantro, relish, Taiwanese red sugar). Continue reading