The chefs of Chuko — Prospect Heights’ premier ramen shop — really know how to use their noodles.
Not content with having one of the best bowls of broth in the borough, Jamison Blankenship, David Koon, and James Sato are looking to create a real ramen community — bringing together the greatest minds (and most scrumptious suppliers) of Japanese cuisine in Brooklyn.
“In Manhattan, the world of ramen is incredibly secret and competitive; you don’t see any collaboration among restaurants or chefs at all,” Blankenship said. “Of course it doesn’t exist here yet, either, which is why we thought we’d give it a go.”
The Morimoto alums kicked off their tasty experiment on April 22 with the Brooklyn Ramen Event — the first in an series of cooperative dinners.
At $40 for four courses, patrons were not only able to taste off-menu Chuko items like a soft-shell crab bun with ramp tartar sauce and tzukemen dipping noodles with pork belly — but were introduced to a whole new style of brothless noodles known as mazemen ramen, recently popularized by Yuji Haraguchi of YUJIRamen in Williamsburg.
“In Japan, it takes people five seconds or less to eat the noodles out of a bowl of hot broth, but in America, it takes people 20 minutes on average,” Haraguchi said. “That’s why the mazemen style works so well here — it’s almost like pasta; a great way to experience the flavor of the broth and the noodles at the same time, without everything getting soggy.”
Future event attendees can almost certainly expect further ramen riffs from Haraguchi, as well as a tasting from Nakamura-san of Sun Noodle, sashimi from local sushi chefs, and perhaps a cameo or two from some decidedly untraditional collaborators.
“I’d like to ask the chef at Franny’s to come do a pasta course with ramen some time — it’s all about bringing a lot of talent in Brooklyn together and being a bit more creative, focusing on new styles and techniques, and just trying things out on people to see if they work and are fun,” Blankenship said. “These dinners might happen once or twice a month, or they just might turn into something larger than us and happen a lot.”
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