Yebisu Ramen


Address: 126 North 6th Street, Brooklyn NY

Phone: 718-782-1444

The city's ramen craze has finally caught on in our neighboorhood, Williamsburg. The weekend late night only ramen special at 1or8, the Kinfolk Studio pop-up "mazemen" place at Yuji Ramen and not to mention the often rotating ramen stalls at the Smorgasburg. Yebisu ramen had finally arrived and it had already become the extension of our dining room. As the maitre'd, Masa-san, said to me the other day to me, "This is your home". In the past few months, Gan and I have been getting our Saturday brunch ramen fix at the Smorgasburg Yebisu Ramen stall. In fact, we were such loyal customers that the trio: Akira, Masa, and Reiko had started calling us their favorite customers (though I think they're more amused with Gan's obsession on eating ramen, cold dry version or even piping hot ramen broth in the middle of the hot NY summer).

Yebisu Ramen had finally opened their brick and mortar restaurant this week a block away from Bedford Ave on North 6th St, a couple of blocks down from our apartment. Gan and I have been back twice, and have tried almost all the ramen offered on their menu! It's a no frills menu, with hardly any appetizer (one option: chicken salad) and no deserts. The main focus is on the ramen and they do have a few options: Miso Ramen, Shio Ramen, Shoyu Ramen, Yebisu Ramen (seafood broth) or Abura Soba that are just as good as the ones at Totto Ramen or Ippudo in Manhattan. It's hard to pick our favorite here, but we both agreed that the rich porky miso ramen stood out the most. The noodles are springy and the miso+pork+seafood broth are made to order and heated up in the wok with onions and bean sprouts. It was heavenly. The yebisu ramen (seafood ramen) on the other hand is lighter and comes with generous servings of crab legs, shrimp and mussels. Not that cheap at $17 a bowl, but I'd say it's the ultimate ramen for seafood lovers. Our you-can-only-get-it-here yaokui recommendation is to add on the really delicious soft boiled egg and char siu to go with your ramen.

So what's the secret to yebisu ramen being so amazing? Its the team! Ramen chef Akira hailed from Yakitori Totto where he used to work at as the head chef. Yebisu Ramen is actually a collaboration between the Totto group and the Chai Thai restaurant next door. I'm already plotting to convince Yebisu to serve yakitori as appetizers one day, to fully utilize chef Akira's talent! Masa-san mentioned chef Akira also makes killer desert... I think there's room in the menu to include that as well!

So to all you ramen lovers who have asked, is yebisu ramen good? The yaokuis think it is. And as our fellow yaokui friend YH accurately puts it, "Totto equivalent with no wait must be sweet"... and we couldn't have sum it up better!!

Shio Ramen 

Miso Ramen 

Yebisu Ramen (Seafood) 

Ramen Yebisu on Urbanspoon

Paul Qui @ City Grit, New York City


The first thing I told Chef Paul Qui when I had a chance to speak with him at City Grit for his one week cooking event was "I knew you were going to be the winner of top chef since episode one!" I think I may have made him blush a little, but my praises were sincere and true. Having been to Uchi in Austin, I know how exciting the food at Uchi/Uchiko is, and Paul Qui is said to be one of the most talented and creative chef in the Uchi empire. He also impressed the judges and tv audiences with his cooking on Top Chef Texas, taking the Top Chef title, and later on winning Best Chef: Southwest for James Beard award! After months of speculations as to where the chef will open his first brick and mortar restaurant (with New York city being one of the contenders), chef Qui announced that it will be Austin. It is his home after all. Since I was also promoting my neighborhood Williamsburg shamelessly at City Grit dinner, I hope he remembers Brooklyn when he is looking to expand to NYC next time!

City Grit, is a NYC supper club founded by chef Sarah Simmons that hosts a series of dinners weekly, prepared by chef all over the world. For one week only, chef Qui prepares a 7 course menu including a dessert for $95 per person at City Grit. The tasting menu is not entirely cheap but it's considered a pretty good deal for New York City standard. Starting from the first course, tuna jamon (tuna wrapped in jamon drizzled with olive oil and melon) to the lightly caramelized pork jowl served with corn, coriander and black lime, to the rice milk with coconut, panda and parsnip dessert, Chef Qui showed us why he was the Top Chef Texas winner and James Beard Best Southwest Chef award winner.

tomato water with mussel, celery and basil

The refreshing and delicious tomato water also reminded me of the one we had at the one Michelin star Alkimia restaurant in Barcelona and the sunchoke dashi with uni, squash and crime fraiche soup was "lick-your-plate" good.  Quail dish with beer, miso and strawberry was cooked and seasoned perfectly, absolutely fantastic!

Perhaps it was the lightly smoked trout that reflects his recent visit to Copenhagen. According to the chef, he was inspired by the new nordic cuisine and techniques learned while he was there, and realized that he still has so much to learn/change for his new restaurant's menu. But everyone knows that Chef Paul Qui is a genius when it comes to making something better -- like how he made a better and more creative version of the pork buns at his East Side King food truck in Austin after tasting David Chang's famous pork bun at Momofuku restaurant; and like how his mentor Tyson Cole admitted on Top Chef that what makes Paul Qui great is his ability to make a dish better than Tyson's own creation/original ideas. After finally having the chance to taste Paul Qui's cooking at City Grit, we have to say that he is definitely the chef to watch, and we are big fans. 
sunchoke dashi with uni, squash, creme fraiche
quail with beer, miso and strawberry
pork jowl with corn, coriander and black lime