The new brick-and-mortar home of Keizo Shimamoto's Ramen Burger quietly opened last Friday in its new Financial District digs at Pearl and Cedar Streets. Gothamist's Jen Chung scoped out the lunch scene today, trying out not only the famed burger but also some bowls of ramen and bento boxes.
First up, bowls of Shimamoto's ramen, which are all tonkotsu (Kurobuta pork)-based and customizable with pork belly, chicken, beef or an egg. The Wakayama Shoyu ($11), inspired by the city of the same name, mixes the tonkotsu with soy sauce and tops the noodles and broth with scallion, fried onion and kikurage mushrooms. The special Brooklyn Blend ($12) begins the same but gets a funky kick from black garlic oil, which gives it that distinctive dark color. The noodles are thin and toothsome, the broth rich and flavorful; all told, a solid bowl of noodle soup.
Ramen Burgers get a bit more customizable than their Smorgasburg origins. The Original ($8) begins with an angus beef patty topped with arugula, shoyu sauce and scallion while the Yakitori ($8) trades out the beef for seasoned chicken. There's also a special off-menu version topped with bacon and cheese, a nod to the most traditional of burger toppings. Considering the dainty burgers don't come with any kind of side, the $8 price tag skews a tad high for the neighborhood, where $12 usually gets you a burger twice the size with a side of fries. Still, it's unique, and we can confirm that the bacon and cheese version is excellent.
Finally, the restaurant's Bento Boxes, which can be ordered with everything from Japanese Meatballs to Pork Ginger to tasty Tofu Steak, two ground patties of soy product mixed with seaweed and spices. All bentos boxes come with brown rice, potato salad, homemade pickles, salad and special sauce; at $10 each, they're one of the better deals on the menu.
Operations manager Marcos Polanco told us the opening process has been great so far and "every day we're learning something." There's no set "official" opening day yet, but they'll open the shop on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the foreseeable future. Despite paper up on the windows—which makes the restaurant difficult to find—there was a steady crowd coming in by noon. Would-be diners are encouraged to go now before the word gets out in earnest.
Ramen.Co is located on Pearl Street at Cedar Street (actual address 100 Maiden Lane) between the Roti place and Chipotle. For now, look for the paper on the doors and windows!