Friday, June 27, 2014

[Ramen Adventure #4] Ramen.Co By Keizo Shimamoto: Dream Come True


In January, I found out through a customer at work that Keizo Shimamoto, creator of Ramen Burger, is opening a ramen shop in the Financial District. I saw that coming ever since they debut their burger of summer 2013 at Smorgasburg: thousands of people are willing to wait in line every weekend just to have a taste of the original Ramen Burger, even until now. With Keizo's background and his influence in the ramen community, his new restaurant is going to be a strong newcomer in the city.

Keizo and his staff at soft-opening week
Ramen Burger with chips
This new ramen shop, named Ramen.Co, was finally opened in April and is now opened daily until 8pm. A majority of the customers come for the Ramen Burger, but I'm more excited to try the ramen. Keizo truly loves ramen and has always had a ramen dream (watch the video here). Knowing his love and dedication to this Japanese comfort food, his ramen won't disappoint us.


And it didn't. During their soft opening, I came into the restaurant 30 minutes before they close at 2pm and still saw crowds lingering inside the restaurant. The place is like a food court: you order up front, and cooks (including Keizo himself) will cook your food at each mini food stations. Not many seats are available: there are roughly 4 little tables near the entrance then a bar that fits about 10 people. I was worried if I had to get my food to go, but luckily one customer by the bar left right after I got my food so I rushed over, took his seat, and was ready to enjoy my bowl of Brooklyn Blend Ramen.

Brooklyn Blend Ramen, $12
Broth: tonkotsu shoyu soy sauce broth
Noodles: straight
Toppings: 2 pieces of pork or chicken, onion, scallion slices, seaweed


Said to be inspired by the art in Brooklyn, this ramen features a tonkotsu soup base with a blend of black garlic oil. The presentation looks strikingly similar to Bassanova's ramen, which I'm not surprised due to Keizo's previous work experience at Japan's Bassanova.


I always taste the soup first because it's kind of like the best thing about ramen. The soup is smooth and moderately rich. Not greasy or overwhelming at all. Al dente straight noodles are topped with 4 slices of tender pork belly, kikurage mushroom, fried garlic, and scallion.  Pork is cold, so you must soak it into the hot soup. I guess not many places grill their pork prior placing them in the bowl. Overall I was really satisfied and can't wait to try the other two ramen on the menu, Wakayama Shoyu and Hakata Shio.

Overall
You won't get the typical restaurant vibe at Ramen.Co., but it's the food that matters after all. Everything is organized and well cleaned so far. Not to mention Keizo is a very down to earth man who is driven to educate authentic ramen culture to the world. His story is inspiring and I'm glad to see his ramen dream come true! Can't wait to return to Ramen.Co!

FYI: After a series of testing, Keizo is currently selling hiyashi chuka (cold ramen) at Ramen.Co. For more information, you can check out this review here.

Location
100 Maiden Ln New York, NY 10038

(Theme picture is from Keizo Shimamoto)

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