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The most expensive ramen in Brooklyn

David Koons (left) and Jamison Blankenship will soon open Chuko, the most-anticipated ramen restaurant opening in Brooklyn in, well, ever.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Call it top-shelf ramen.

For just two nights next week, Brooklynites will get a chance to taste the new priciest Japanese noodles in the borough when the owners of a popular Oakland, Calif. ramen shop put on a dinner at the Wythe Hotel’s Reynard restaurant. The cost of the highly vaunted visitor’s eats shatters the Brooklyn ramen price ceiling, with one serving setting slurpers back $17. But before you lose your noodle, the event’s organizer says, know that this is no ordinary bowl of broth.

“This is a restaurant that’s based in Oakland, so unless you fly to Oakland you can’t really experience what these guys do,” said Wythe Hotel owner Andrew Tarlow of the ongoing chef collaboration series that has been running at the eatery. “What we’ve been trying to do is transport experiences from other places. Like I go to Paris once or twice a year, but can we bring Paris to New York?”

Oakland’s Ramen Shop, created by a trio of alumni from pioneering Berkley locavore restaurant Chez Panisse in early 2013, infuses traditional Japanese ramen with less-than-traditional seasonal California produce, explained Tarlow. For example, the menu for the “Winter Ramen Party” at Reynard includes a smoked black cod miso ramen with nori from Mendocino, and a Meyer lemon shoyu ramen, made with vegetables such as wild mushrooms, wild nettles, and butternut squash.

Use your noodle: This handy graph illustrates how the prices of Brooklyn's ramen options stack up against that of the upcoming Winter Ramen Party.

In Brooklyn, the chefs will be sourcing most of their ingredients locally, but they will FedEx in noodles made at their restaurant back in California.

All that, said Tarlow, is worth $17.

“I think the price point is pretty much standard for all the ramen shops in the city at this point,” he said. “It’s not Cup Noodles.”

Cup Noodles it is not, but seventeen dollars is actually pricier than any other ramen in the borough (see chart above) — though there is no doubt that restaurant ramen is no longer confused with the 40-cent instant noodles many grew-up eating. And Brooklynites are willing to pay good money for authentic and creative renditions of the popular Japanese dish. Cobble Hill’s Dassara charges $12 for all its bowls, while Ganso in Downtown will slug you $13-$15.

Soupy second: Ganso ramen may be pricey at 15 bucks a bowl, but it has got nothing on this special Oakland batch.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Regardless, Tarlow said, the price of these dishes will merely cover costs.

“This is not a money-making venture,” the restaurant impresario said of the event, which will also showcase sour beers, special cocktails, and coffee from San Francisco’s Four Barrel. “We’re FedExing noodles, letting chefs stay in our rooms. This is about fun and having a good time.”

“Winter Ramen Party” at Reynard [80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th St. in Williamsburg, (718) 460–8004, www.reynardnyc.com]. Feb. 11 and 12 from 6 pm.

Bowled over: Zuzu ramen is $15, too.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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