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Zuzu Ramen on 4th Ave. - open yet?

Does anyone know if this ramen-ya has opened up yet? The phone number just rings, but that doesn't mean anything really if they're not doing lunch yet. So ... any word?

BTW, they have a website up, but no menu yet.


Zuzu Ramen
173 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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  1. not as of last night.

    incidentally, i did a little research and found out its being opened by the same people who opened sheep station.

    1. Yes, it's the Sheep Station people (I love Sheep Station.)
      I asked -- they're waiting on permits or inspections or something.

      In the meantime, there's been really good specials there (at Sheepie) - seafood stew, a skate po'boy with delicious chicken soup served with a pork wonton. I love the lamb sandwich, and lamb chops, but I love that they are opening up the menu with daily specials.

      1. sign on the door says they open today.

        i'm excited to try their mini pork buns.

        1. I tried a preview of the green curry soup ramen - very promising.
          I wish they had the menu up on that website - it just says Opening Tuesday March 10.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pitu

            My wife and I swung by last night at around 7:30. It was crowded, but not packed at that time. It filled up about a half hour later, but probably only one or two parties waiting.

            The menu is pretty small (as it should be) - 4 ramens, 2 noodle dishes, 2 rice dishes, and about 5 apps. Of the ramens, two are Thai influenced (green curry and a lemongrass version), a vegetarian one, and a traditional tonkotsu ramen. The rice and noodle dishes are essentially the same - either beef curry or charsiu as the toppings. The apps included the aforementioned mini pork buns, dumplings, edamame, and a salad. A small Japanese beer list (Sapporo draft, 3 bottles) and sake list (maybe 6 options) round out the offerings.

            We started with the mini pork buns ($8), which are of the Momofuku variety. They were pretty tasty - not as good as Momofuku, and served with a rather thin dipping sauce, but still of good quality.

            I had the green curry ramen ($10) as I'm a bit under the weather and wanted something spicy and flavorful, which it didn't disappoint on. It was a tasty broth, lots of garlic, and a really nice spice. The ramen was well cooked, and it had a couple of pieces of charsiu in it. My main complaint would be that the egg was coddled and fairly raw still - the white broke apart easily (I prefer a hard cooked egg in my ramen). It's also a bit light on anything besides ramen.

            My wife chose the beef curry over rice ($13) and, while flavorful, it only had 3-4 tiny pieces of beef in it, which was quite disappointing for the price. It was sweet and fruity in the traditional Japanese way with curries, but a bit of a let down in terms of quantity. (The beef is very good, slow cooked and very tender.)

            All in all it was a promising first meal there. Hopefully they'll tweak their formula for a while and emerge one of the premier outer borough ramen-ya. It's not as good as Ippudo, but it's a quality restaurant and the first of its kind in the area. It's nice to have decent ramen within walking distance.

          2. What's the layout / seating like? Is it counter seating with high stools? Or do they have tables with normal chairs?

            1 Reply
            1. re: oolah

              Both. There's a counter surrounding a glassed-in kitchen, and maybe about 15 2-tops along the front and side walls. (Some at the front could be combined, but 2 is the magic number for party sizes at this place.) All seating is at high stools.

            2. Am thinking of trying this out this weekend - anyone know how late they are open (it's not on the website yet). Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. We went last night...tout du ramen monde of park slope wandering by. But just after 7 on a Friday, we had no trouble getting a seat.

                It's pretty great - they cook the noodles just right, and there's two nice long delicious slabs of pork belly in the soups that have pork.
                It's fun to sit at the counter and watch them assemble - steam the buns, blowtorch the pork.

                The veg dumplings are good -- green thin skins, juicy. All the dipping sauces are nice, shiso seeds in the one for veg dumplings. The momofuku style pork buns don't do it for me, but I'm not crazy about them at Momofuku either. You either like steamed bread or not I guess.
                There's a beef curry stew over rice I'm keen to try, but I really wanted ramen this visit. That green curry miso version is nicely richly spicy. The Zuzu special ramen is very smokey. All very good.

                The high stools are really comfortable - curved and very wide.
                They have 6 or 7 sake options, Hitachino beer in bottles, and Sapporo on draft. (No cheap beer options.)

                1. Went this past weekend. My friend had the soy-garlic ramen in vegetable broth; it was good, very salty. I had the namesake "Zuzu" ramen in a lighter dashi broth. Pretty tasty. Two very flavorful, moist slices of pork, and, as noted above, a very soft, very lightly cooked egg (I, too, prefer a somewhat better done egg, as you would get at, say, Setagaya or Minca). I quite liked the pork buns, actually. Really good slices of braised pork in the steamed buns, with a mostly sweet sauce (with a hint of spiciness). All in all, not as delicious as Setagaya (where I think the flavor of the broth borders on magical and the texture of the noodles is just right), but very promising. And I'll really appreciate not having to schlep out of Brooklyn and into the East Village whenever I get a ramen craving. I hope ramen lovers of South Brooklyn and environs come out and support this place--there aren't any other ramen bars currently in the vicinity, right?

                  1. I went on Sunday. I had the soy-garlic-bok choy ramen. The broth was tasty, but my noodles were a too al dente (sticking to the teeth =raw=stomach ache) and aside from the noodles there wasn't much in there; only two tiny pieces of bok choy. The egg was too raw. Momofuku it is not.
                    I thought the stools were too high for the tables. I found it uncomfortable.
                    i will go back though, the quality was great and the look of the place is nice.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: iheartbklyn

                      They need to cook those eggs - I'm not an expert, but I've eaten different ramen styles in several cities in Japan (including the ramen museum in Yokohama) and never had such a raw egg.

                      1. re: lambretta76

                        weird...mine was fully soft-poached. lucky me!
                        the green curry ramen is still my favorite thing on the menu, I've been back a couple of times. still have not tried the beef curry stew over rice . . .

                        I sat in the window last time, and thought the same thing about the seating height - stool itself was cozy, but wrong height for me at the table.

                        speaking of momofuko, I was there too recently. there is phenomenal no soup spicy ramen with sausage and candied cashews. o.my.god.delicious.

                    2. Ate at Zuzu the other night and had the house standard ramen. Noodles were tasty, broth was lighter than I like but had a nice flavor. Comes with a soft boiled egg (I prefer hard boiled in my ramen). We also ordered the pork dumplings and they were awful. The flavor of the dumplings was like those at any local chinese restaurant and the outside was doughy. I wish they would just do a great, simple gyoza. We also ordered the pork buns. They were average, but annoyed me. Zuzu came off as trying to be a Momofuku copy. And nobody likes a hack. I read that chef Akihiro Moroto worked at Lespinasse and Jean Georges. He's clearly a talented chef, so why copy Momofuku's Pork Bun lead? I wonder if it was the owners' idea. If you're going to copy something as good as Momofuku, you better do a great job, otherwise just stick to the basics. I would go back for the ramen if I were too lazy to hit up setagaya or ippudo or Minca, but I wouldn't order anything but the basic ramen at Zuzu. Seriously Zuzu, lose the pork buns, they make you look so unoriginal. And fix the pork dumplings, they suck. Why can't they just be a great local ramen shop with great gyoza?? And if they're going to branch out, at least be original.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: FoodieParkSlope

                        Agree about the dumplings, but I think the ramen's better than Minca or Setagaya.

                        1. re: FoodieParkSlope

                          the pork buns werent invented by Momofuku. David Chang probably ate them in Yokohama, Nagasaki, or Kobe when he worked in Japan for a month trying to learn how to make mediocre ramen.

                          1. re: Ricky

                            I know Chang didn't invent pork buns, but the pairing of pork buns and ramen isn't something I ever encountered in my years based in Japan. There was no japanese ramen/pork bun connection in NYC until Chang opened Momofuku. Now Zuzu is throwing out ramen and pork buns too. Zuzu is clearly following in Momofuku's footsteps and personally, I wish they would either just do the basics and do them really well, or do something completely different. I just want some killer ramen and gyoza. Is that too much to ask for?

                              1. re: Peter Cuce

                                "but I think the ramen's better than Minca or Setagaya" ...
                                noodle and/or base (stock) ... additions? ...(I likr my egg near raw).
                                Not impressed by Ippuddo ... Setagaya *can* have it on (lacks consistency).
                                Zuzu's (limited) menu seems to sprawl (not necessarily bad).
                                Which ramen did you order?

                                1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                                  Minca and Setagaya are real ramen places (by NYC standards). Minca used to be quite good, but quality dropped a while ago. I'm really a Setagaya partisan--the flavor/saltiness of the broth is usually exactly what I want, and I like the chewiness level of the noodles. Haven't made it to Ippudo yet, but assume it's at least worth trying.

                                  But Momofuku? I can't understand why anyone would use that as a benchmark. And since when did Chang hold the patent on alternate uses of pork? Some customers over-think restaurant menus. I'd rather over-eat. But that's one reason I don't live in Park Slope.

                                  If you're not into keeping score about which American chef decided to serve what in his New York ramen bar, you'll probably be fine with Zuzu. Not worth traveling to if you're equidistant or closer to the E. Village, but a solid neighborhood spot.

                                  Peter, if you're still reading this thread, which broth did you order? To me, the Zuzu broth was nice and light, but lacked the character of Setagaya's, although I need to return for another round soon.

                                  1. re: hhhippo

                                    I used to like Setagaya, but the last few visits were pretty disappointing, with dry pork and overly salty broth. I'm happy to hear that you're having good experiences there -- I'll give it another shot. Minca, as you say, was good in the beginning, but got a lot worse. I tried the Thai-flavored Zuzu one -- non-standard, but good chewy noodles and overall good flavor. If you're in the Slope, it's worth a visit, but I wouldn't travel for it. I just got back from Tokyo, where almost any random 600 yen ramen shop is way better than any options we have, except possibly Ippudo. However, NY ramen seems to be on the upswing, so I have hope.

                                    1. re: Peter Cuce

                                      Setagaya does serve a shio broth, I believe, which is very salty by definition. I'm not the biggest fan of saltiness, so I kind of shy away from that. (I tend to like tonkotsu the most, or the untraditional combination of that and a miso broth.)

                                      Now if only someone could serve a proper tsukemen here like the one I remember from Taishoken in Nakano (Tokyo).

                                    2. re: hhhippo

                                      I gave the "Zuzu ramen" a whirl ... I agree, a better than "decent" neighborhood place but no destination (not unlike Taro sushi-wise).

                                      Quite strange ... though the base was anemic and the ramen a bit too package-y ... the "char shu" and egg stood head over shoulders (IMHO) among other offerings in town.

                                      What's the skinny on the mystery joint in Greenpoint?

                            1. re: FoodieParkSlope

                              Allright, Momofuku's buns use pork belly with a hoisin sauce, and Zuzu's appears to be braised shoulder (a lot of it) -- certainly not belly -- with a richer, spicer sauce. Yeah they're similar but certainly not copies.

                              Secondly, I found the egg in my Zuzu ramen perfectly cooked, and exactly the same as I've had at Momofuku Noodle Bar. I do like them soft but different it was not.

                              Lastly, I found the pork dumplings as crispy as could be and quite tasty.

                              Great addition to a neighborhood that hasn't seen a serious new spot in a while.

                            2. I went last night and really liked this place - I'm no ramen expert, but I thought the broth for the "zuzu ramen" was really unique and nicely smokey. Also, I love the way they torch the pork belly, it adds great flavor. The eggs are very runny, but that's how I prefer them. It's definitely no momofuku, but its own unique thing, and I love having this place in the slope! Oh, and agree with others who say that the pork buns are skippable - I wish I'd gotten some dumplings instead.

                              1. i went for the first time this week and was definitely disappointed. first service was a bit odd. just kind of gruff and not particularly friendly, and it seems that they had reserved the entire front part of the restaurant for a party and so were sending everyone else to the small, dark back. the decor is also not so great. big air conditioning units everywhere though i did like the wood tables and stools.

                                we got the pork buns which i really though were super disappointing, and it is true that i love momofuku's buns but even if i try to separate that from this they were not good. first the meat and what few vegetables were there completely overwhelmed the bun and it was way too saucy. then i got the green curry ramen and my husband got the basic broth. i thought they were fine. the soups tasted pretty good (mine was a bit spicy) but i was very underwhelmed with the pork belly (just seemed dry and just a small amount) and the eggs seemed undercooked (not quite sure what was wrong with them) and then there were so few veggies in there it was sad. although i am super happy to have a ramen place in the neighborhood which we definitely need, i just wish the product were a lot better. also they had a pretty slim selection of beers and they should definitely improve on that.