Back in June, I published two Ganso-related posts: one on Ganso Yaki, and one on Sushi Ganso. To my absolute horror, both of those restaurants closed (out of nowhere!) at the beginning of this month…but the news isn’t all bad. One of the Gansos is still open, and I’m finally ready to complete the post-trilogy with a much-awaited (I’m lying) post on Ganso Ramen, the original Ganso that serves—you guessed it—ramen, and plenty of it.
Located near Fulton Mall, somewhere between an IHOP, a Cookie’s, and a Goodwill, Ganso Ramen feels out of place. Inside, it’s dark and intimate; outside, there’s an Applebee’s and, like, eight Burger Kings. (Not really. I think there are two.) Ganso’s doorway is like a portal to another world.
The allergen information in my post on Ganso Yaki applies to Ganso Ramen, too, but I’ll recap, in case you, whoever, are link averse. There are(/were) no tree nuts in the kitchen at any of the Ganso restaurants, and though they aren’t(/weren’t) decidedly nut-free, they don’t(/didn’t) have any nuts on-site. That, combined with the fact that Japanese food is generally pretty low-risk, is enough to make me feel right around 100% comfortable eating at Ganso Ramen (and the other two Gansos, too, when they were still around).
The first time I went to Ganso (and the second time, and the third), I ordered the Tonkotsu ramen (“rich, creamy twelve-hour pork bone broth and thin, straight noodles, with roasted pork belly chashu, ajitama egg, greens”), Kagoshima-style (i.e. with garlic and soy sauce). I liked it, sure, but it didn’t quite do it for me. I couldn’t put my finger on just what was wrong with it—the noodles weren’t as thick as I would’ve liked, but that couldn’t have been it—but something was, so I abandoned it in favor of the Braised Short Rib (“deep beefy broth, thick Sapporo noodles, Hatcho miso-braised beef short rib, ajitama egg, greens”). Same deal: pleasant, but not The One. Too salty. Not very creamy. Blah.
And then, finally, I found it: the Miso ramen (“savory Shiro miso-chicken broth of Japan’s Far North, thick Sapporo noodles, roasted pork belly, ajitama egg, fresh corn, greens”—pictured twice above). For real, it’s perfect; the noodles are chewy, the miso flavor is strong, but not overwhelming, the scallions (scallions!) are nice and flavorful, and the corn, just short of crunchy, is always sweet. Plus, the dish is made with butter (!!!), which goes a long, long way in creaming up the broth. And, of course, there’s the egg (satisfyingly gooey) and the pork belly (absurdly tender, and a little sweet, too). I’m in love.
For a while there, I was doubting Ganso. But when I found this dish, my confidence in the place skyrocketed. I started craving ramen—rain or shine, hot or cold, breakfast or dinner, it was all I wanted. And if my wallet had allowed it, I probably would’ve spent multiple nights per week at Ganso.
So high was my opinion that I even found myself willing to drop $9 on a plate of their Sizzling Gyoza (pictured above). That’s actually the only side I’ve tried at Ganso—I haven’t been that many times, and I’m somewhat of a cheapskate—but honestly, it’s good enough to make me want to try the others. The gyoza, sizzling indeed, are made with pork, garlic, and chives, and though they’re a little boring, they’re served with a chili-soy sauce that helps to liven them up. They aren’t terribly exciting (and they’re definitely a little overpriced), but they’re good nonetheless.
There are plenty of other Ganso dishes I’d like to try: the Ganso Wings, the Japanese-Style Fried Chicken, the Japanese Steamed buns, and maybe even some of the other ramens. But for now, the Miso ramen has me firmly in its clutches—and I’m all right with that, I think.
Find Ganso Ramen at 25 Bond Street, between Fulton and Livingston.