The first summer I moved back to Brooklyn from San Francisco back in 2010, ramen joints had taken the city by storm. In the three years that I was gone, places like Ippudo, Hide-Chan, Toto Ramen, and Rai Rai Ken (just to name a few) had sprouted around town. Having recently traveled to Tokyo, I was ecstatic that I wouldn't be missing those very tasty noodles. The only problem? The restaurants were all in Manhattan and required a subway trek (and in the case of Ippudo, a two-hour wait.)
So I'm pretty thrilled with the new ramen shops popping up around Brooklyn these days. Dassara on Smith Street is a go-to-spot. Chuko and Ramen Yebisu are on the next-up list. And Ganso in Downtown Brooklyn has just become a new favorite. Even before the restaurant opened, it had already received a good amount of press. (One of the owners, Harris Salat, is a cookbook author and blogger at The Japanese Food Report.) And after, well, plentyofdining critics plus a whole bunch of friends on Instagram were thrilled that it lived up to the hype.
I've stopped by for lunch a few times this past month. I usually zero in on the Ganso ramen, with its soy-based broth, seasonal greens, and perfectly cooked noodles. The pork shoulder and pork belly practically melt in your mouth (clichéd, sure, but there's no other way to describe it.) As a slightly lighter meal, the spicy vegetarian Tan Tan Ramen just might be the best vegetarian ramen I've ever had.
And even though it's not super close to my apartment, I can still easily amble home fully satisfied and maybe burn off some pork belly to boot.