Husband-and-wife team Joshua Smookler and Heidy He, the brains behind the ramen, have the chops to backup their pop-up venture. Smookler has spent time in the kitchens at revered institutions such as Per Se, Buddakan, and Bouley, and He sharpened her skills front of house at Zutto and Nobu. After moving to Hunters Point and noticing a distinct lack of noodles in the area, they opened Mu Ramen, in the hopes of opening a permanent eatery in the neighborhood down the line.
This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill ramen. Smookler boils down up to 100 pounds of pork bones for the 24 ounces of marrow found in each bowl. Aside from rotating specials, the two permanent fixtures on the ramen menu include the Tonkotsu 2.0 and spicy miso. The first derives from a recipe honed at Zutto, with a thick broth complemented by pork jowl, scallions, sesame and kikurage (a form of mushroom). The spicy miso adds an extra kick, with a spiced miso broth, ground pork, roasted corn, seasoned bamboo, chili oil and a perfectly cooked salt-boiled egg. Using each recipe as a starting point, you can tack on additional flavor with add-ons such as braised pork belly, leaf mustard, and extra noodles or roasted corn.
But it isn’t all ramen all the time. The menu also includes starters such as okonomiyaki (a scallion-bonito pancake served with smoked trout, trout roe and foie gras maple syrup) and fried oysters, as well as two variations of steam buns, made with pork belly and short ribs. Visitors can order at the counter and then sidle up to the 10-seat communal table to slurp away.
As if they didn’t have their hands already full running the pop-up, Smookler is also testing new recipes and working on opening a restaurant in South Williamsburg. Better get your ramen while you can—pop-ups don’t last forever, but a craving for tasty ramen will.