The Sheep Station team, Martine Lafond and Jason Crew, opened Zuzu Ramen on Tuesday. According to a message-board review, it's already packed, and yet until now, we didn't know the noodle-maker's identity.
That man would be Akihiro Moroto, who served in the kitchens of Lespinasse, L'Atelier, Jean Georges, and others before deciding to return to his roots (he grew up helping his father, a popular ramen cook in Nagoya). Sounds like a David Chang kind of story, but Moroto insists he's not aiming for any awards.
We just want to be a neighborhood kitchen serving comfort food, nothing more, he says. And he's not trying to win points for authenticity, either.
"I'm just making noodles I want to eat every day," he says, meaning a green-curry-miso ramen that he sees as a creative bridge between the usual options of miso and spicy, and a tomato-lemongrass soup inspired by tom yam kung.
The most traditional offering is the Zuzu ramen, which uses chicken stock and kombu dashi made from kelp (the other dashi are made from the top and the gamier bottom loins of the bonito). The noodles are made in California, but based on Moroto's recipe. You can see the rest of the menu here.
Zuzu Ramen, 173 Fourth Ave. at DeGraw St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-398-9898