Monday, September 5, 2011

Chuko 09-03-2011

Location: 552 Vanderbilt Ave. BK
Time: 5:30pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: We arrived at Prospect Heights at 5pm. Since Chuko, Brooklyn's newest ramen shop didn't open until 5:30, we decided to relax at a charming French cafe a couple doors down, Le Gamin. We ordered a couple of coffees and crepe with apples. Everything was delicious, and the service was impeccable. It is no wonder CK put up a fuss when leaving. Or perhaps he was trying to warn us what was to come.

The expectation of Chuko was high. Former chefs from Morimoto, using local and organic ingredients to cook ramen--could it possibly be any better than this? Despite the narrow space and the restaurant full of toddlers and babies, the service was flawless. (They do not have high chairs, and this space is far from baby friendly.) They were still waiting on their liquor license, so they did not have any beer which is a bit hard to fathom at a ramen shop, but they had wine and sake as well as a kitschy selection, UCC canned coffee ($3). I know that the chefs and owners were not from Japan, and this place is certainly Americanized, but I appreciated that they brought in a bit of playfulness by serving UCC while showing a bit of Japanese authenticity.

Perhaps we hit them on the bad night. A couple next to us sent back their ramen twice, and the restaurant comped their meal. Our appetizers, shishito peppers ($6) and fried green tomato bun ($5) were greasy and on a salty side, and overall they looked sloppy. I expected a delicate flavoring with a simple yet interesting presentation, so this was a big surprise. My soy broth ramen ($12) did not taste like soy at all, and the noodles were under-cooked and tasted a bit like playdough. It was disappointing since each ingredient was fresh and tasty, but altogether, it did not make a hearty, soulful bowl of ramen. I certainly hope this was a part of growing pains that comes with a newly opened restaurant. Otherwise, I would be quite upset that kids in Prospect Heights would grow up thinking that this is ramen.

CK usually enjoys restaurant outings and trying out different flavors and textures, but he did not want to stay in the restaurant for another minute or have a bite--Is he a ramen medium, perhaps?


kim said...

I loved Le Gamin when it was still in the East Village (and I wasn't a vegan then). Looove their savory and of course, sweet crepes and that big 'bowl' of mocha. :)

Guess give Chuko some time to iron things out. $5 for a tomato 'burger' is kind of hefty.

Ugh, I'm so tired of this rain...

Yosh. O said...

Yeah I really hope Chuko will get better (or who knows maybe it was just a really bad night).