Come for the ramen, stay for the foie-stuffed chicken wings.
Getting to Mu Ramen, the noodle insta-hit from husband-and-wife team Joshua and Heidy Smookler, is a trek worthy of Tolkien, one of upturned umbrellas, wrong turns and two-hour waits.
Eating at Mu Ramen, however, is considerably easier. The warmly lit, brick-walled room is a scant 22 seats, but it’s an upgrade from the couple’s pop-up days, when they doled steaming bowls out of a nearby bagel shop.
The best seats in the house are at the bar overlooking the open kitchen, where the chefs operate with sushi-bar intimacy, cracking jokes while the missus pulls golden-crisp chicken from the fryer and the mister shakes pots of just-boiled noodles as easily as a tumbler-happy bartender.
Those strands are delicate but with an al dente spring, with a different variety showcased in each bowl: The poultry-packed Totally Chicken ($15) is all thin, kinky tangles, while the tonkotsu, bobbing here with hog jowl over the typical pork belly, comes webbed with skinny, straight noodles.
Most notable, though, is the flagship bowl ($18). Built on a broth of oxtail and bone marrow, the house ramen gets some extra-meaty oomph from melting cubes of brisket, which, paired with shredded cabbage and half-sour pickles, toes Jewish deli-novelty without succumbing to kitsch. It would be the city’s best new ramen if its temperature were cranked up to a soul-warming scorch. Instead, it loses steam halfway down the bowl.
The chefs’ careful hands extend to non-noodle plates like the U&I ($16). “Get everything in one go,” a sous chef instructs, and he’s right: A chopstick of warm rice spackled with butter-soft uni, briny, bursting salmon roe and luscious spicy maguro is a supremely composed bite.
Then there’s the tebasaki gyoza ($14), a deboned chicken wing crammed dumpling-style with creamy foie gras, soft brioche and quince compote. It’s a salty-sweet, creamy-crispy food anomaly that alone is worth the trip.
|Venue name:||Mu Ramen||Contact:|
12-09 Jackson Ave
|Cross street:||between 47th Rd and 48th Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed 5:30–10pm; Thu–Sat 5:30–11:30pm|
|Transport:||Subway: G to 21st St, 7 to Vernon Blvd–Jackson Ave|
|Price:||Average ramen: $15. Cash only.|
|Do you own this business?|