In this solo dining adventure, Gary has some ramen at Zuzu Ramen before taking in a concert at Prospect Park.
In the colder months of the year, I don’t think there’s any meal that satisfies me quite the way that a good bowl of ramen does. A good hot and salty broth combined with fresh(ish) noodles never fails to put a smile on my face, as well as starting a roaring fire in my tummy so I can soldier forth into the cold. Normally, I try to avoid ramen in the summer months since it always raises my body temperature to unbearable heights (not a fever but the last thing one wants in the dog days of summer is to be a sweaty mess). But, presented with few options for a meal before a concert at Prospect Park, my friends Dave and Jess suggested we try Zuzu Ramen over on 4th Avenue, a quick cab ride away from the park. It’d been some time since last I’d had ramen (this was August and the last time I’d had ramen might have been in February) so Zuzu it was.
There are only four choices of ramen on the menu and, of the four, the Green Curry-Miso Ramen appealed to me the most. It’s a green curry and miso based broth with charshu, a slow cooked egg, and seasonal vegetables. The broth isn’t as spicy as you think but, then, green curry isn’t really all that spicy compared to some other colors – it’s essentially a curry-tinged miso broth. It is, however, served piping hot and, as you can see from the photo at the top of the post, there was plenty of sunlight filtering into the place. Yes indeed, I was a hot, sweaty mess as I slurped through my ramen and I was damned happy about it. The noodles here are solid – not great but they have a sturdy chewiness that I like in my ramen noodles. The charshu here is really nice with a good mix of meat and fat, all with a slight char on it. Of course, I’m a sucker for a slow cooked egg and, as I broke the yolk and let it mix into the broth, I was absolutely delighted.
The pork buns here are filled with braised pork shoulder, scallions, cucumber, and some fried onion-like veggies. They were okay but these buns are a study in excess with just too much going on. The beauty of the Momofuku pork buns are in their simplicity – bun, pork, cucumber, hoisin sauce. These were just a mess – a somewhat tasty mess but a mess nonetheless.
Zuzu Ramen can be summed up quite simply – if you don’t live in Brooklyn or within a 10-15 minute train ride from here, it’s probably not worth the trip as you can do better with most places in the East Village. If you live in Park Slope, however, this place is a solid choice to satisfy your ramen need. The prices here aren’t cheap but I’d say it’s just about on par with Ramen Setagaya and certainly cheaper than Ippudo or Momofuku Noodle Bar. Just do yourself a favor and try not to sit in direct sunlight – you’ll thank me later.