Saturday, February 7, 2015

nykeiko eats: Innovative broth at Mu Ramen! [LIC, NYC]

Last Friday, I get a text from Dave friday shortly after 3 pm. 
"I got reservations at Mu Ramen tonight for 4 at 8:30 pm!" 
I reply: "Great! Who are we inviting?" 

Mu Ramen currently has the hottest seats in town and to get reservations, it takes most people about a dozen calls before getting through when the phone line opens at 3 p.m. And when you do get through, there are high chances you are told that the only available seating is after 9 p.m. or none at all (The restaurant seats about 22 people and is open for only 4.5 hours.) Dave had tried calling few times to make reservations but no luck getting seats at a decent time. I asked him to reserve extra seats if he gets through just in case others wanted join us. You're allowed up to reserve up to 4 people maximum. Well, he finally got seats at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night which is decent. Unfortunately it seemed like it was too last minute for most folks we thought of so we changed our reservations from 4 to 2 people. It was just too much of a hassle to continue finding two people with no plans on a Friday night! 

Since Dave planned to make reservations that day, I had an early lunch just in case he gets through. I skipped my usual 4 o'clock snack time and "starved myself". My plans to work until 7:30 p.m. and head directly to Long Island city backfired when I realize that I am indeed non-functional at work when my stomach is rumbling. I decided to head back home to freshen up and meet Dave there. I also snatched my SLR (because, food) and had time to put on a little makeup because a little makeup on a Friday night can't hurt nobody.

We arrived about 20 minutes early and were told to wait. It was frigid cold outside but we decided to take a brisk walk around the corner and check out what's new on Vernon blvd. Long Island City was once a place we had considered purchasing an apartment back in 2011 and the food scene in the area has changed considerably since then. Before my toes started freezing, we were back at Mu again and more eager to warm up with a bowl of ramen. We were told to wait some more. At 8:45 pm, we were still not seated. What's up?There were about a dozen free seats in the 22-seat restaurant and we were trying to figure out their seating pattern. It seemed like they were trying to stagger the reservations not to overwhelm the kitchen with orders. 
There were exactly 5 staff members so everything needed to flow efficiently. Two chefs (the owners themselves, Joshua and Heidy), a kitchen helper, one hostess/waitress and another waitress. Finally, we were seated shortly before 9 p.m. and we asked to be seated at the bar. Being seated at the bar also gave us the benefit to stare at Joshua and Heidy work their magic and being their cute coupley-selves. 

The menu...

We looked at the menu and knew exactly what we wanted to try. We both wanted to the Mu Ramen. Yes, $18 but it is bone marrow and oxtail-based broth! We also wanted to try the treats: Tebasaki Gyoza (fried chicken wings stuffed with foie gras and brioche!) and the U&I (sushi rice topped with nori, spicy yellowfin tuna, ikura and a big chunk of fresh sea urchin). However, to my dismay, while we sat there, we saw the LAST order of U&I being served as they ran out of rice. Buuuut....keep reading!

While waiting for our food, I took plenty of pics of Joshua and Heidy workin' it.  

Dipping the chicken gyozas into the fryer

First up, our Tebasaki gyoza. 

The Fried chicken Tebasaki Gyoza is original and super crispy. Don't be afraid to dig in with your hands. 

Joshua preparing okonomiyaki

Our ramen finally arrived. Dave got extra pork jowl which was super fatty and fantastic. 

The Mu Ramen with oxtail and bone marrow based broth. 
The Mu Ramen broth was really rich. The toppings included two pieces of incredibly tender brisket, bamboo shoots, marinated cucumber, kamaboko, seaweed, black fungus and scallions. The toppings cooled the broth a little but mixing everything together warmed it all up again. I would have preferred no cucumbers but that's my preference and it doesn't really matter what I like versus what a ex-Per Se chef thinks is best..

Joshua and Heidy must have seen the disappointment in my eyes (or whole face) when they told me they ran out of the U&I. However, it turns out they just needed to make more rice but didn't want to tell me. Joshua prepared more rice and asked if I could wait 30 minutes. Hell yes! (okay, I just said 'yes' really enthusiastically) . Well, it was worth the wait. The U&I was all I imagined it to be. I'm hyping it up but if you know me, these rice bowls are my most favorite dish ever! Ikura, tuna and sea urchin alone on anything alone I will love so all three put together was cherry on top of a cherry on top of a cherry...oh and there's fresh wasabi too. Why do people use the powdered green stuff ever?

The U&I at Mu Ramen
I'm curious now to try their Tonkatsu 2.0. and the Spicy Miso ramen so I can compare them to the other ramens I have already tried in the city. I lost count but we have probably already tried about a dozen ramen joints. There's Ippudo, all three Totto Ramen locations, Hide Chen, Santouka (Mitsuwa market), Naruto ramen, Rai Rai ken, Ramen Setagaya, Ramen-Ya and more. Hmm, maybe I should start making a list. And to think my favorite ramen used to be a $7 bowl of Tonkatsu ramen from Oh!Taisho and thought it was the best! I was such an amateur...

Hungry yet?
Thanks for stopping by xx

1 comment:

  1. Yum! The extra pork jowl looked clutch! I wasn't a huge fan of the meat that came with the Mu Ramen. Thought the apps here were great and the ramen just okay, but not sure if it's worth making the trek out to LIC for me, and we somehow ended up spending ~$70 per person...yikes!