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Mu Ramen, the noodle insta-hit from husband-and-wife team Joshua and Heidy Smookler, is a warmly lit, brick-walled room with 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 pulling golden-crisp chicken from the fryer and shaking pots of just-boiled noodles as easily as tumbler-happy bartenders.
Those strands are delicate but with an al dente spring, and there's a different variety showcased in each bowl. Most notable, though, is the flagship ramen. Built on a broth of oxtail and bone marrow, the house bowl 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.
The chefs’ careful hands extend to non-noodle plates like the U&I. “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, 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.
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12-09 Jackson Ave
|Cross street:||between 47th Rd and 48th Ave|
|Transport:||Subway: G to 21st St, 7 to Vernon Blvd–Jackson Ave|
|Price:||Average ramen: $18. Cash only.|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu, Sun 5–10pm; Fri, Sat 5–10:30pm|
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