This year in Best of Bushwick 2018, our readers have been pretty consistent in nominating a narrow group of businesses.
For Best of Bushwick 2018: Ramen, you nominated only six soup spots: Ajihei, Chuko, Ichiran, Lua Bar, Momo Sushi Shack, and Shinobi. While they are all worthy, there can only be one winner. And two runners up.
The Runners Up…
The race for second place was tight. Clinching the third place spot with a deficit of only eight votes is Chuko. Located at 144 Evergreen Ave., Chuko (Japanese for “vintage”) puts the focus on the tried-and-true classic flavors of soy, miso, pork, and chicken, while incorporating little twists with toppings like cabbage and mustard greens. During nominations, BD readers pointed to their tonkotsu (the pork) and the veggie miso.
So who beat out Chuko by eight votes to secure second place? With 93 total votes — about 19 percent of the total — it was Ichiran. Ichiran, at 374 Johnson Ave., is the New York outpost of the famous Japanese chain. When they opened in 2016, they caused a stir for their prices and single-person eating booths as much as they did for the ramen itself. Here, they are hard-line tonkotsu purists: It’s the only ramen they serve, though you’re free to customize most of your toppings.
And the Winner Is…
Who slings the best bowl of ramen in Bushwick this year, according to a plurality of BD readers?
Lua Bar was the most-nominated ramen restaurant a couple of weeks ago and ended up with the win. Where other nomination-round frontrunners floundered, Lua Bar raked in 169 votes, or 34 percent of the total.
We sent Contributing Editor Katy Golvala by Lua Bar to slurp some noodles — specifically the duck ramen, one of their more popular dishes — and chat with Executive Chef Manny Salazar.
“The duck broth, seasoned with shoyu, roasted leeks, yuchoy, shiitake mushrooms, and chili hoisin, is out of this world,” Katy reported to me. “It was flavorful without being overwhelming. The noodles were wavy and just the right firmness, perfect for slurping. All of the vegetables were simply done and they cut the richness of the broth really nicely.”
Salazar told Katy that the secret is starting off the broth by rendering all of the fat trimmed from the ducks. They render it down low and slow and begin to infuse the fat itself with flavors before building the broth from there.
“I’m super grateful,” said Salazar on the win. “I hope that whoever comes in there expecting the best ramen — I hope they’re satisfied.”
Katy certainly was, and so will almost 200 of our readers.
The “ramen party bar,” Lua Bar offers a range of ramen varieties, and other snacks, in a laid back retro-Hawaii atmosphere
1006 Flushing Ave, Bushwick (off the Morgan Ave stop on the L train)
Tue-Thu: 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
Fri-Sat: 6:00 pm – 1:00 am
Sun: 6:00 pm – 12:00am
Cover photo by Lua Bar