Yuji Ramen, the pop-up restaurant in the Kinfolk Studio space on Thursday through Saturday nights, opened in January and is now making waves. Chef Yuji Haraguchi is introducing New Yorkers to mazemen, dry mixed noodles, not the soupy ramen that we’re accustomed to and love. Yuji uses a handmade ramen noodle by Sun Noodles. He explains that this particular type of noodle is thick and wavy, and the unevenness picks up the tare (sauce) and toppings perfectly. The menu is short with a daily changing sashimi appetizer ranging from bonito to fluke to sockeye salmon, as well as pork and shrimp buns. Then there are four mazemen options: a seasonally changing seafood noodle (last month it was sea urchin miso mazemen, and right now it’s summer crab using blue crab meat), a vegetarian option of tororo (sticky mountain yam), bacon and egg (think Japanese carbonara) and spicy tuna. Each noodle has its own tare using a base of shio, miso or shoyu mixed with other ingredients like cheese or crab to create a more robust flavor. Yuji hails from a seafood sales background, hence the focus on local seafood. We’re looking forward to his brick-and-mortar location, which he’s looking into, so that we can access mazemen the rest of the week, too.
Yuji Ramen is no longer at Kinfolk Studios but at two Whole Foods Market locations: Bowery and Gowanus.