Dinner for 2: $68.00
The ramen craze has pretty much passed by the part of Brooklyn where I live, until now. When I learned that a noodle bar had opened up within walking distance of my apartment I absolutely had to check it out. No matter that it was a hot and sunny day.
Zuzu is a cute little spot occupying a lonely corner on 4th avenue in what real estate agents would probably call Park Slope but which really isn’t. 4th avenue is not a particularly attractive area with four lanes of commercial traffic whizzing by. It is generally a street you cross quickly to get to Park Slope on the eastern side or Gowanus/Carroll Gardens to the west. Nevertheless the restaurant was quite busy on a Friday night and its a good thing we arrived on the early side as people were waiting for tables by the time our food arrived.
You sit on tall stools around tiny tables, or if you’re on your own you can sit at the bar and watch the action in the open kitchen. The open kitchen would be good entertainment for a single diner because there is simply not enough light to read by unless you get seated at one of the larger tables by the window (unlikely if you are on your own).
Our friendly waitress – who had some incredible multicolored thing going on with her eyelashes – recommended a Ramune soft drink which she described as having a hint of bubblegum. Not normally a flavor I seek out in a beverage but the fact that you have to pop a glass marble into the bottle to get the carbonation going was enough to sucker me in for a try. It did indeed have a hint, a perfume perhaps, of bubblegum but was actually quite nice.
To start we split an order of mini pork buns. I was expecting a standard chinese style bun but what they delivered was more like a sandwich using steamed bun dough as the bread.
The pork with the pickled cucumber and chili sauce go together very well though the sandwich configuration makes it one hell of a mess to eat. Do not order this if you are wearing pastels.
The menu described the signature Zuzu ramen as having a smokey dashi broth. I’ve never seen a dashi broth described as smokey so of course I had to give it a try.
The photo here doesn’t really do the soup justice but the light was so low that I needed to use the flash in order to get anything other than shadows. The charsiu was good, not great though. The noodles were nice and fresh and there was a generous helping. Smokey turned out to be an apt description of the broth. It was quite unusual and enjoyable. The broth really elevated the ramen from ok to really good.
All in all it was a good solid bowl of ramen. I prefer Minca in Manhattan but the next time I feel like noodles and I am loathe to hop on the subway I will drop in again.
173 4th. Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217