Noodle news! Morimoto brain trust to open ramen shop in Prospect Heights

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about top ramen.

Two members of the culinary team behind Manhattan’s ultimate Japanese super-eatery, Morimoto, will open an equally exciting — though infinitely more casual — noodle house in Prospect Heights later this month.

Jamison Blankenship and David Koon, who were, respectively, chef de cuisine and executive sous chef at the 10th Avenue palace of Asian cuisine, promise that their restaurant, Chuko, will serve up pork gyoza, baked bun sandwiches, fried oysters, and of course, luxuriously simple bowls of ramen of an infinitely higher pedigree than everyone’s favorite college friend, Cup O’ Noodles.

“Each broth will be long-simmered, using antibiotic and hormone-free meat,” said Koon. “We’ve even had noodles specially designed for us, a different one for each broth, to ensure maximum chewiness, contrast, and flavor. It may seem unnecessary, but when you only have three things in a bowl, the details really matter.”

Commitment to such quality doesn’t mean rock bottom prices — soups will hover around the $12 mark — but the means justify the end.

“We could use a cheap egg, and put out a $9 bowl, but we want the good egg, the heritage pork, the scallions from Japan,” said Blankenship. “Some people think nothing of spending $12 on a cocktail. Why not on a big, beautiful, filling bowl of ramen, that we’ve put our heart and soul into?”

Sounds like Morimoto would approve.

“I threw up an hour before we told him that we were leaving,” remembered Blankenship, who lives next door to the restaurant. “But he was very proud of us; he knows opening your own place is the greatest goal for a chef. And if it wasn’t for him, and learning how to make ramen through him, we’d never be where we are now.”

Chuko [552 Vanderbilt Ave. near Dean Street in Prospect Heights, (718) 576-6701].

Updated 5:25 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

jj from Brooklyn says:
Wow. This is almost as important a story as the missing Beanie Baby!
Aug. 10, 2011, 8:43 am
brent from windsor terrace says:
it's important to me, I've been saying we need a descent ramen restaurant in the hood for years!

Aug. 10, 2011, 9:11 am
O2 from Wburg says:
$12 ramen? i ll buy my own, add onions, sardines, & a sliced hard-boiled egg for ~ 3 bucks.
Aug. 10, 2011, 10:28 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
I can get four cups for $1 at the Dollar Store. Anyone who pays $12 for a bowl isn't a gourmet, remember "A fool and his money are easily parted?"
Aug. 10, 2011, 2:47 pm
James from GP says:
Some of you guys are ridiculous. It's like saying that I'd rather eat a $2 hot pocket than $12 brick oven pizza.

In Japan, ramen isn't what you eat here in those instant cups. The instant stuff is utter sh*t that's fried, overly MSG'd, artificial, and entirely made with a "tastes like" but really isnt kind of mentality. Real japanese ramen is closer to getting fresh pasta and finely crafted broth from really fresh ingredients. And when they say that something tastes like pork, it's because they actually used pork to make it and not a pork flavor powder substitute.

Don't comment on something you clearly don't know anything about.
Aug. 10, 2011, 4:52 pm
Saul from Les says:
James ,you are wrong I mean dead wrong
Aug. 10, 2011, 7:38 pm
Yujin from Brooklyn says:
Saul, make sure you know what you are talking about before you make any comments other people’s comments, please.

The instant ramen packages you get in the US are utter crap compared to real ramen. James’ pizza comparison is spot on. Instant ramen has a place in American culture, but it is no reflection of what ramen in Japan is like. If this is what it is supposed to be, then $12 might be worth it. You get the same at places in Manhattan, and if it is just as good, it would be worthy of the price.

With comments from the likes of Saul and Mike, it might be more appropriate to ask if Brooklyn (at least around Prospect Heights) is ready and willing for the real stuff. And Chuko is willing to give it a shot. I wish them luck.
Aug. 10, 2011, 11:56 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
James from GP: "Real japanese ramen is closer to getting fresh pasta and finely crafted broth from really fresh ingredients." SPARE ME! You're the type who'd gladly hand over $12 for a bottle of "hand crafted beer."

Yujin from Brooklyn: DOUBLE SPARE ME!! With enough mystique and marketing I'm sure I could convince people to spend $12 for a cup of coffee made with organic beans that came out of a cat's ass.

What a minute...maybe you two are right! Would you be willing to finance my "Beer & Rear" shop? With people gladly spending a month's salary to rent cuble- sized apartments and a day's wages to eat a meal in the newest trendy restaurant, maybe we can convince them to fork over $36 for a bowl of ramen, glass of beer and cup of coffee. Kah-ching!!
Aug. 11, 2011, 10:10 am
Matt from Wburg says:

Are Mike and Saul saying Maruchan bowl noodle is as good as a real bowl of fresh ramen with real noodles and real broth and real meat?

That's kinda silly but to each his own.
Aug. 11, 2011, 12:15 pm
Allen from Prospect Heights says:
This place sound good but do you really need to IMPORT SCALLIONS from JAPAN? Kinda flies in the face of the eat-local movement which is, correctly, all the rage these days.
Aug. 11, 2011, 1:53 pm
jollyjack from brooklyn says:
Stop your whining! These two guys are willing to invest in the neighborhood and bring great food at a reasonable price. These guys are creative and know what they're doing, and you can bet the food will be great. I can't wait for Chuko to open!!
Aug. 11, 2011, 5:37 pm
Alicia from Park Slope says:
I completely agree with Allen. I would actually prefer to have scallions that were not imported from Japan. Scallions can be grown locally, and there is no reason that they should have such a large carbon footprint. I'm sure the difference in taste is minimal...
Aug. 11, 2011, 8:19 pm
Ken says:
All the haters can hate but at least these guys are following their passion. Maybe you guys are jealous that they are enjoying what they are doing? Chuko will be great.
Aug. 12, 2011, 8:52 pm
Cartman from S. Park says:
God I hate you guys.
Aug. 12, 2011, 10:46 pm
Hungry Man from Prospect Height says:
Consider Duane Reade sells ham sandwiches for $8, these guys are making things from scratch. Give them some support, its not easy.

If you jerks are so damn smart, open a restaurant that's of good quality in nyc, and you'll see how hard it is to make money and survive.
Aug. 21, 2011, 6:38 pm
edk from slope central says:
man, i love me some good ramen. the average folk probably won't understand. After visiting japan, I've been searching for something as good. seems like a simple soup, but the great ones are far better than what i know in ny. Hopefully they do it right!

I do like both ramen places in park slope, but still not like japan... I want that black egg!!

btw, scallions from Japan? not sure i want that. After the disaster in March there should be concern over radioactive contamination.
Aug. 25, 2011, 1:16 am
Weinerschnitzel from Prospect Heights says:
Mike from Bay Ridge, thanks for your vitriol. Now I see what living in Bay Ridge does to the human mind. Remember, you do not have to come to Prospect Heights if our pricey soup and small apartments bother you so.
Sept. 2, 2011, 7:27 pm

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