Ramen, once associated with the easy-to-cook dorm room staple Cup Noodles is now synonymous with hip Japanese food culture and can be found in cities across the globe. The ramen-only restaurant is now a viable business, and ramen can even launch empires (Momofuku, anyone?). If you haven’t tried ramen in a restaurant yet, the variety, not to mention the size, will blow away that old styrofoam cup.
So where’s the ramen in Greenpoint? If you look far and wide, you’ll see ramen is on the menu and more ramen-focused shops are a-coming. Find out all the places you can sit or stand and slurp that soothing soup after the jump.
When we say ramen, we mean noodles, soup and seasoning. The disciples of ramen, yes people write books about this stuff, define ramen as noodles (made from wheat flour, salt, water and baking soda-infused water) + soup broth (made by simmering some combination of meat, seafood and vegetables) + seasoning (usually available in four flavors – salt (shio), fermented soybean paste (miso), soy sauce (shoyu) or pork bones (tonkatsu)).
There are several Japanese/fusion restaurants serving ramen in Greenpoint. Arguably the most critically acclaimed option (and the most expensive) can be found at Baoburg (614 Manhattan Ave). There’s only one option: short rib ramen. It includes 2-3 tender, fall-of-the-bone pieces of meat with a sensational booth that’s strangely sweet.
For bit more variety, try Amami (57 Nassau Ave). They have four different selections including Miso, Tonkotsu, Chicken and Vegetarian Miso Ramen. The soups are rich and savory, and it’s an overall lovely experience in the sleek reclaimed wood dining room.
You can also find conventional ramen on the menu at two other Greenpoint Japanese restaurants. Sapporo Ichiban (622 Manhattan Ave) has ramen noodle soup with pork, vegetable and egg in three different varieties miso, tonkatsu (pork bone) and soyu (soy sauce). Sakura 6 (837 Manhattan Ave) offers ramen noodles in a soup with chicken, beef, shrimp, seafood, vegetable or tempura udon.
If you are looking for ramen on the go, swing by the McCarren Natural deli (57 Nassau Ave). They make their ramen fresh each day and offer three different options: vegetable, tofu and chicken. For a similar experience and variety, check out Vivi Bubble Tea, which offers pork or beef ramen soup base in the miso, shoyu or tonkatsu.
Speaking of ramen on the move, Daniel Birnbaum of Ramen Railroad has finished his 3-days-a-week stint at Budin (114 Greenpoint Ave). He will continue to live up to the namesake of his place, opening a pop up at The Diamond (43 Franklin St) on May 10th and “hopefully another at a Troost“ according to Birnbaum. He highlighted his appreciation for the Ramen sub-culture noting, “people love talking about the process of making it and really enjoy hearing about all the craft and ingredients that go into creating each bowl.” He’s open to any other venue ideas and as of now he’s the only game in town in the specialty ramen-shop variety.
Ramen Mafia (208 Franklin), Ramen Spot (760 Manhattan Ave) and Wanpakubk (621 Manhattan Ave) have all been under construction for several months. Ramen Mafia “is waiting on national grid to install our gas meter . . . hope to have it installed within the next two weeks.” The other two spots are decidedly covert. We were unable to get any additional information despite multiple attempts.
So as old man winter refuses to leave Greenpoint and we continue to yearn for some soul-warming ramen remember you have a choice for your fix. That’s something to noodle on…