You’re jonesing for ramen so you hit up the place around the corner where a huge bowl costs you $6. You’ve finished up the whole bowl. Suddenly you’re feeling bloated (MSG). Then, 20 minutes later, you’re starving and thirsty.
THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE WILL HAPPEN IF YOU EAT AT ZUTTO
The not so secret formula for Zutto’s ramen is boldly flaunted on the walls: “120 lbs of pork bones are boiled in a 24″ pot at the highest heat for about 24 hours“. This not so small detail is probably the reason that their ramen is so damn good. Basically, you’ve got killer stock, super fresh ramen, and (to my delight) really good wine.
I was invited to dine at Zutto by their PR company (Benvenuti). It’s located in Tribeca, an area I don’t normally visit. The restaurant is cute. It’s got a sushi bar, a huge communal table, and huge windows looking out onto Hudson Street. We sat next to the windows, ordered some wine, and enjoyed the view.
Our first bite was the Shishito Peppers ($8). These are charred fried japanese peppers, sprinkled with a little yuzu salt, and accompanied by a lemon aioli. These were delightful. The peppers were fried, but not greasy. At first I was disappointed, I was hoping for some heat, but was not getting it. All of the sudden…POW! I was hit by spice that lingered for at least five minutes. When you go, beware the peppers that are predominantly yellow, you may cry (of pleasure) a little.
I’m a huge fan of pork buns, so we started off with three different types. We’ll discuss the Pork Belly Buns ($9) first. These definitely compete with Momofuku’s buns. I’ve scheduled a return visit to Momofuku so I can make an educated decision. In the mean time, just know that they were flavorful, juicy, and comforting.
The Kobe Beef buns ($12) were my least favorite of the bunch. They were fine, but when compared to the Pork Belly Buns, they were out of their league. This could be because it reminded me a bit too much of a burger.
When we moved onto the Short Rib buns ($10) we were back in business. The meat was tender and flavorful. The texture was enhanced by the pickled cabbage. I make some killer short ribs at home, and these got my complete approval.
It was Ramen time. Antonio had the Chicken Paitan ramen ($16). The menu describes it as “chicken and premium soy sauce based soup topped with scallion, onion, char siu pork, and nori”. We asked the server if the noodles were made in house. He explained that they are not, they are brought in fresh on a daily basis by a trusted supplier. He could easily have fooled us, these are some seriously fresh noodles.
I was given the Spicy Miso ramen ($16), although I had ordered the Tonkotsu Hokkaido Classic. I was in a good mood, so I went with it. While this did leave me disappointed in the heat scale (I love a little heat), I was glad for it. The soup was incredibly tasty. When you say umami, this is exactly what people refer to. Savory.
I left Zutto with a full belly and thinking of planning a trip over to try their sushi. Twenty minutes later, I was still full.
Zutto is located at 77 Hudson Street in Tribeca, NYC (212) 233-3287