• 1209 Jackson Avenue
• Long Island City, NY 11101
• (917) 868-8903 •

Ramen. Ah, Ramen. Eating ramen is my good friend Mr. Dogz's absolute favorite thing in the world to do immediately behind swiping right on Tinder or Bumble. The time that passed between me saying "wanna get some ramen tonight?" and "YES!" was somewhere between zero and negative three seconds. Had I known how close this place was to the E train, I might not have driven, but we found a spot a few blocks away and made our way to the almost-hidden restaurant. Actually, we passed it once without even knowing.

The second we walked into Mu Ramen, the Michelin-recognized soup spot from ex-Per Se chef Joshua Smookler that used to be a pop-up spot, we knew that we were in for a wait. The benches lining the walls were full and every one of the maybe 20 seats at both the bar and single long communal table was taken. It was 7-ish.  Dogz and I had about a forty minute wait ahead of us, and we spent it down the block at the huge beer hall, Bierocracy. The group of three that walked in at the same time that we did were told by the hostess that they'd be waiting around two hours. I assume that they either followed us next door or took a nap on the sidewalk. There really wasn't a third option.

As I said, everyone sits at a long table. If you have any thoughts of a private conversation, banish them or accept the fact that no one is listening to stories about your dating life. And in truth, I was too ensconced in how good the food was to care to listen to anything that my neighbors had to say. Indeed, the close quarters almost created a level of anonymity. Oh, did I fail to mention how good Mu Ramen is? It's good. Really, really good.

Mu Ramen's menu is small. Very small. Five "treats" and four ramens to choose from. I appreciate that. I'm always uncomfortable around a phone book menu. There's no way that the chefs can be an expert at a hundred dishes. But ten? Ten they can be experts at (and they were). We shared a treat, the Okonomiyaki, a scallion cornmeal pancake topped with smoked trout, corn, roe, and a maple syrup. It was amazing. Amazing. The smoked fish somewhat dominated the dish, pushing out the pancake, but if you accept that the point is actually to eat the fish and view the pancake not as the main part, but instead as something to add depth to the trout, then you'll love this. 

Dogz ordered the Tonkotsu 2.0 ramen. This soup had an extremely thick, pork based broth that had a intense mushroom presence. I hesitate to ever type the word "umami" (and "flavorful") for a reason I can't fully articulate. But umami the word that simply must be used. The texture was like drinking silk. Flavorful, mushroomed silk... though, according to those in the know, there is no mushroom. The silk was topped with pork, a seasoned egg, and scallion and might have been the best ramen I've ever had. Dogz, who fancies himself quite the ramen enthusiast, was blown away. My bowl of ramen was the Spicy Miso. I was mildly concerned that this would be a less robust soup than I was hoping for, but this was without merit. It was only half miso and quite robust. The other half was pork based. I did order an extra topping of Onsen Tamago (a soft boiled egg) because I've never met a ramen that wasn't given a little boost by loose runny eggs. Don't let the spicy part concern you. It was far from hot. The strip of corn and the deep fried pork was a nice touch and kept everything nice and rich.

The ramens here are about $16 for a base bowl, with extras at about $2 each. Our split bottle of sake, a split appetizer, and two ramens came to $48 each with tax and tip. Are there cheaper ramen places? Yes. Is it worth it? Oh yes. But go with one friend, not two or three. Not only is the wait going to be oppressively long, but the table is wide enough that you'll have trouble talking if and when your mouth isn't filled with soup. Admittedly, this will not be very much of the time.

Mu Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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