Big Bites at Kimchi Smoke Barbecue

If you’re hungry and anywhere near the Bowery today or tomorrow (Tuesday February 3rd and Wednesday February 4th) between 4 and 10 PM, you HAVE to give Robert Cho’s Kimchi Smoke Barbecue pop-up a taste! Located on 10 Kenmare street, Kimchi Smoke is offering meaty delicacies that qualify as both decadent and ginormous, and from what I’ve sampled of the menu, I can say it’s a must-try!

Kimchi Smoke Logo

The “Big as Godzilla Kalbi” certainly lives up to its name. For $30, you get a delicious slab of meat large enough to feed a small family (I thought it was a hunk of mastodon or something when I first saw it-) that doesn’t sacrifice any flavor. Prepare for a smoky, spicy, charcoal-grilled rampage on your tastebuds!

I'm not kidding. This thing is bigger than my head and I have a really big head!

I’m not kidding. This thing is bigger than my head and I have a really big head!

I also adored the Chonut, a new addition to the menu that I find easy to love yet difficult to describe. Eggs, bacon, and cheese on powdered sugar brioche suggest a breakfast sandwich, but a hearty helping of brisket makes this an epic sandwich for any occasion–a veritable explosion of gooey, umami flavors with the slightest hint of sweet.

This is what you get if dinner and breakfast had a passionate, beautiful love affair at a Korean barbecue

This is what you get if dinner and breakfast had a passionate, beautiful love affair at a Korean barbecue

Robert Cho operates his own pop-ups and food trucks around the New York-New Jersey, and I look forward to seeing what else his culinary imagination concocts. I hear he does a fried chicken ramen…. and my devoted readers know just how much I love fried chicken and ramen!

Thanks Chef Robert!

Thanks Chef Robert!

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kimchismoke

Advertisements

Yuji Ramen: The Little Test Kitchen That Could

A Little Rant

Ramen, like sushi, is a Japanese dish that has nestled itself into America’s eating consciousness, though this isn’t always a positive thing. Ask a typical American college student what they think of ramen and you might get a groan or a chuckle and maybe a story about “that one week I couldn’t leave my dorm” or an anecdote about the dangers of a high sodium diet. Like several actors’ careers (I’m looking at you Adam Sandler), ramen appears to get by due to its ease of preparation, availability, and overall infamy–people are willing to overlook just how cheap and terrible for their life it might because it’s a familiar, reliable poison. However, I digress. Most of these grievances are reserved for the microwave and instant variants of ramen. Put simply, there is good, gourmet ramen out there, just not at most grocery stores. . . Whole Foods on the Bowery, however, is a game changer!

Revolutionary Ramen

Located in the form of a counter on the second floor of an ordinary-looking Whole Foods, Yuji Ramen is an extraordinary eatery that takes one’s assumptions about ramen and flambes them into sweet, delicious oblivion. Starting off as a Smorgasburg vendor then a Whole Foods-sponsored pop up shop, Yuji’s popularity has earned it a permanent placement upstairs and a large, loyal following. After eating countless bowl upon bowl of noodle-filled Nirvana, I have to say this positive reception is completely deserved.

Most people might doubt that a ramen-based restaurant could succeed in catering to different clients and tastes, but Yuji offers customers two radically different types of ramen.

The “Daily Shoyu” is your typical meat broth-based ramen but comes with the added twist of being different just about every day. Using fresh cuts of meat from the Whole Foods butcher, Yuji ensures a uniquely delicious experience every day of the week. From blue fish to tuna to mussels to pork to turkey, the shoyu is a favorite for carnivores and a delight on a cold winter day.

Daily Shoyu with Blue and Lamb

Daily Shoyu with Bluefish and Lamb

The second type of ramen is the “mazeman” a newer variant that is made without broth and cooked by an open flame. Using a profusion of savory oils, fresh ingredients that alternate between crunchy and gooey, and perfectly firm and textured noodles, Yuji’s mazeman is a refined kind of ramen that one might liken to an al-dente pasta dish. Instead of your standard pork or chicken, Yuji brings customers original and dazzling concoctions like Smokey Bacon and Poached Egg with Kale or Salmon and Cheese. Spicy Tuna and Uni Miso (Sea Urchin) also have their own mazeman on the menu. For vegetarians, there’s also a Miso Roasted Vegetable mazeman, though I admit I have never sampled it because of my love for the meat and seafood selections.

Smokey Bacon and Poached Egg Mazeman on the left, Uni Miso cooked in Sake on the right.

Smokey Bacon and Poached Egg Mazeman on the left, Uni Miso cooked in Sake on the right.

At roughly $9 a pop, Yuji’s prices are reasonable for an up and coming business, and certainly for the quality of the ramen you get. I typically find that one Shoyu leaves me stuffed. However, when it comes to the mazeman, I usually try to make room for two–they’re just THAT yummy. For $12 you can get the combo with cold barley tea and pickled vegetables on the side. Starting this year, Yuji is offering a small selection of desserts.  Additionally, every month, Yuji offers a full seven-course Omakase (Chef’s Choice) Dinner. I plan on sampling it and presenting my findings later this year.

If you like creamy things, meat or fish, or noodles of any kind, then I highly recommend you give Yuji a visit soon–you’ll probably run into me sometime!

Yuji Ramen

Address: 95 E. Houston Street, 2nd floor. 

Phone Number: 212-420-1320, extension. 281

Website: http://yujiramen.com

Open all week from 11 AM to 9:30 PM.

Artistic Rendering of Yuji's Mazeman Selection

Artistic Rendering of Yuji’s Mazeman Selection