Last week, it was revealed that noodle master Keizo Shimamoto would be introducing his Ramen Burger—yes, a burger with ramen noodle "buns"—at Smorgasburg on Saturday.
The soft debut is part of Shimamoto's efforts to start a Ramen Burger restaurant, and the chef said the burgers would only be available to the first 100 customers. Scott Lynch got to Smorgasburg at 10:30 a.m., a half hour before the Sun Noodle booth opens. Lynch reports:
There were about 40 people already there, the first guy on line having arrived at 9:00 a.m. It was raining, and would continue to do so, off and on, for the next 95 minutes before I actually had my Ramen Burger in hand. Line slowness was due almost entirely to the limited cooking space at the booth; they can fry only four ramen "buns", or two burgers worth, at a time. None of the above—the rain, the creeping pace—seem to discourage anyone, and when I left there were people who had been on line for two hours, and were still nowhere close to the front. No way they limited it to only the first 100 customers.
As for the Ramen Burger itself, it tastes (and mouth-feels) exactly as you would expect: plain ramen, slightly crunchy but mostly soft and noodle-y, sealed together for hand-holding, but then it all comes apart pleasantly in your mouth, a nifty trick; good burger, cooked medium rare, juicy and rich; "secret sauce" which brings both sweetness and salt to the party.
Lynch adds that it "could definitely use some jacking up, some fire and heat, like if they used red chili ramen or something, but for a soft opening, first time out, with the limitations they have in their 'kitchen', I'd say Keizo and crew totally pulled it off."