Those unfamiliar with Keizo Shimamoto, the man behind the Smorgasburg sensation known as the Ramen Burger—which sandwiches a beef patty between two noodly buns—might think the Japanese chef is no ramen purist. Anyone who’s been to Ramen Shack, his modest restaurant hard by the Queensbridge, Houses can attest to Shimamoto’s ramen reverence though.
Shimamoto serves what he calls “ramen inspired ramen,” and the other day I came really close to having a steaming bowl of his classic shoyu. With spring somewhat in the air though, I flipped the menu over to the B side where I spied Burger Ramen ($12), a soupless bowl I’ve been meaning to try for some time.
Given the option of adding bacon, cheese, and a wobbly egg, I exercised it, foregoing the extra patty as simply too excessive. Burger ramen consists of thick soba noodles slicked with oil—known as abura soba—topped with arugula, green onions and of course a cheeseburger crowned by two crisp slices of bacon. At first I nibbled at the burger, bacon, and noodle separately, but in short order, I combined the whole lot. The homemade ryu chili oil was nice, but I kicked things up with a bit of mixed shichimi pepper. My only complaint was that seaweed didn’t maintain its crunch.
“Burger ramen is basically a deconstructed ramen burger,” Shimamoto said. “Imagine if the ramen burger sort of fell part in your hands and it became a bowl of ramen that’s what it is.” I think I may like it even better than the Ramen Burger, just don’t tell Shimamoto.
Ramen Shack, 13-13 40th Avenue, Long Island City, 929-522-0285