“When it’s on the menu, a bowl of Chuko’s kimchi pork ramen rivals any in Manhattan,” says Shallwani, “but I’m a big fan of the surprisingly rich vegetarian version which is every bit as good.”
“Vegetarian ramen too often means tasteless watered-down broth, but chefs James Sato, David Koon and Jamison Blankenship, the Morimoto-trained trio who own Chuko, wanted to change that.”
According to Shallwani, the Chuko trio make their vegetarian ramen by starting with a Kombu Dashi – the typical Japanese vegetarian broth made by soaking kombu kelp overnight in water. The broth is them brought to a simmer and seasoned with sea salt, before they add a scoop of miso and a healthy dose of their housemade ginger-scallion oil. It’s then emulsified, transferred to a bowl, filled with noodles and topped with seasonal vegetables, which now include bamboo, roasted parsnip, fresh cabbage, pickled Chinese broccoli, kabocha squash and shredded scallion, and can be topped with roasted Berkshire pork or a poached egg.
Check out our interview with Sato, Koon and Blankenship for the full story behind Chuko.