A vision of Ganso
By Guoxiong Lin
For a decade, New Yorkers have dug into the noodles and the pork bun. From the chain store Ippudo Ramen to new style Tattoo Ramen, there are many ramen restaurants in New York and they all make a successful business. Ganso is a Japanese Ramen restaurant which serves their own sophisticated version of ramen and other Japanese comfort food. The collaboration between chef Tadashi One and manager Harris Salat is getting great praise from the public. One is a celebrity chef who devoted himself as an Executive chef in Matsuri restaurant from 2003 to 2012; he did a terrific job to serve the modern and vibrant Japanese food in Marsuri before he joined the Ganso in 2012.
Ganso is located on 25 Bond Street and it is half-hidden in the shopping mall of Fulton Street, about 10 minutes by walk from CityTech College. If you don’t pay attention to the signs, it might be hard to find it. Most of the time, there is always a line outside where people are waiting for a hot bowl of ramen. While you are waiting to be seated, there are many paper reviews on the outside wall, such as New York Times, Eater magazine and Fox news report. Some reviews remarked that Ganso is one of the best ramen restaurants in the city because of its flavor, atmosphere and service. Although one can see why they might take this argument, the evidence does not back it up because of the luck of value and bad service.
First, Ganso has a comfortable environment. Inside it is small but cozy. On the left side of the restaurant, several wood booths are big enough to comfortably fit three people on each side. On the other side, there is a long banquette lined with single tables. Also in the back, single stools are directly in front of the kitchen. You can watch how the chef and staff prepare the meals through two glass walls. There are five old Japanese comedy movie posters regularly spaced on the left wall. Customers also can read the history of Japanese ramen and the daily specials on the two big blackboards on the opposite wall. The sound system plays English and Asian pop songs, as well as the soft yellow lights; they make this place become so romantic to dine. In the restaurant the young couples and extended family, everyone seemed to enjoy the atmosphere and food.
Price is one part of value. However, in Ganso, the price is a little high for its flavor and quality. For the food menu, it contains lunch and dinner parts. The difference between the two type’s food menus is there are Bentos on the lunch time menu instead of the dessert. The categories on menus are straightforward, which are pleasured because they are simple and clear. “Bowls of ramen that repay slurping with rich, honest flavors. Unless you are in a hurry, make time for the Gyoza and Pork buns, too” (Mishan). Though Mishan highly recommended the appetizers in Ganso in the New York Times, for Ippin (Japanese classic appetizers), I decided to try the Buta Kimchi Buns ($9) and Ganso wings ($11). Buns are borrowed from China. In this case, they are created a little different. Inside the bun, they burst with juicy pork berry, a slap of Korean kimchi and spicy bean paste. It taste a little different than the traditional Chinese Buns, but the spicy mix with the meat made it so tasty. Ganso wings are marinated overnight with the special sauce, deep fried and slathered in a sticky sauce. According to an article in New York Times, the special sauce contains of “spicy from chili paste and fresh ginger, salty from soy sauce, funky from fish sauce, and sweet from mirin” (Clark, par 2). Clark not only the one said the Ganso Wings were her favorite food, I am the one also will say Ganso wings are good, but it is overprice. The wings price menu has increased two dollars since last year. Overall, the flavor of ramen is medium but not so extraordinary; it also a little expensive.
Most important thing is the service, service is another part of value. Value is a sticky issue with ramen because it is served in few minutes and finished almost as quickly. In Ganso, it takes more than one minute to prepare. They serve the Sapporo noodles and the soup is made from more than four hours simmering of pork bones. The most expensive ramen is $16, the Braised Short Rib Ramen; others range from $14 to $15. I ordered the Triple Shrimp Ramen ($15) and waited almost fifteen minutes. Then the waiter came along to my table and apologized to me and said he forgot what my order of ramen was. That gave me a really bad impression of the service. I ordered the ramen one more time and waited another fifteen minutes until the ramen was served forward to me. The soup was made with chicken-shrimp paste; the broth arrived with mashed-up meat, tiny shrimp, and garlic chives. Of course, there also was a half boiled egg. The appearance was attractive not only to the chowhounds, it also attracted and tempted everyone. To be honest, I expected so much before I came, now I felt it was a little disappointing to me. However, the impressing thing was the spice, it is real Asian spice and it tasted hot and piquant. It smelled so tasty and made me temporary forgive the mistake by the waiter. Ganso’s Triple Shrimp Ramen is not the best ramen that I had in the city, but it still can rank average on my ramen list. Besides, there are one things didn’t satisfy me, the portion. In this order, the ramen was served with a small bowl.
Even though Ganso is not the best ramen in the city, there are a lot of people lurking on the sidewalk, waiting to try a bowl of ramen every evening. Like what New York Magazine said: “Everyone should be so lucky as to have a local like Ganso, a modern, minimalist soup kitchen situated just off Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall. Ganso takes a generalist approach to its ramen styles, offering the kind of introductory course you’d expect from a food scholar” (Patronite & Raisfield). Some people think Ganso is a good place to eat because of its atmosphere, food and service. The two features don’t seem so true for me, but I think Ganso is still a good place to enjoy a good time with your friends, your family or your date. It isn’t a good place for a rush lunch for CityTech students who only have a little time for lunch.
Address: 25 Bond St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, b/t Livingston St& Fulton St.
Business hours: Mon-Thu: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm. Fri-Sat: 11:30 am – 11 pm
Phone number: (718) 403-0900
Price $$$ (moderate- high)
Recommended Dishes: Green Yasai Garlic chives, Ganso Wings, Pork Belly Kakuni, Spicy Soboro Miso Ramen, Triple Shrimp Ramen.
Clark,Mellisa “Dreaming of Spicy, Crunchy Chicken Wings”. The New York Times, Oct 1, 2013. Web Nov 15, 2015.
Mishan, Ligaya “Did Deep, and the Flavor Will Find You”. The New York Times, Nov 8, 2012. Web Nov 14, 2015.
Patronite, Rob and Raisfeld, Robin. “The Underground Gourmet’s 2013 Cheap Eat List. New York Magazine. June 30, 2013. Web. Nov 13, 2015.