Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 01/14/2015
Courtesy, Mu Ramen
12-09 Jackson Ave., 917-868-8903, Long Island City, Queens
Media-wise, Mu Ramen is a white-hot reason to head to Long Island City. Food-wise, it's magic, living up to the hype. Take the "tonkotsu 2.0" ramen, a creamy, opaque, soulful broth that's been bubbling for 20 hours or so, topped with pork jowl as meltingly soft as foie gras, kikurage mushrooms, menma (dried, fermented bamboo shoots) and scallions. It's as far away from dorm-room ramen as you can get. Husband and wife owners Joshua and Heidy Smookler (Per Se, Bouley and Buddakan between them) have assembled a friendly, talented team to handle the crowd and get the food out fast. Some of the cooks double as servers, which means they have first-hand knowledge in describing the deep-fried, boneless chicken wings stuffed with foie gras and brioche and the okonomiyaki pancake sweetened with maple syrup and topped with smoked trout, crunchy tobiko and shaved bonito. Seating is limited, with communal tables and a few stools overlooking the open, white-tiled kitchen. The food is so excellent (for example, the uni starter called "U & I") that it's quickly consumed, making room for the next lucky guest.