Hey guys! We haven’t updated the blog in a while because Julian has been out of town. However, now that he’s back we had a chance to go to Chuko, a place that both of us have been hearing a lot of positive things about.
Chuko Ramen is located on Vanderbilt Avenue just a short walk from the Bergen Street Subway stop. We managed to get there before the major lunch rush hit, and were immediately seated by one of the two servers. Chuko’s interior is very nice, with bits of the building’s original brick peeking through the varnished wooden walls and ceiling. Stainless steel fixtures, chairs and floor complete the restaurant’s clean, simple look. With around thirty seats, Chuko is also not very big, and it was beginning to fill up when we left, so it clearly is a place that gets busy quickly. Getting there at the right time seems like the way to go if you want to eat promptly.
We started with an order of the gyoza, which we both agreed were delicious. It seems like most places we have gone to use packaged gyoza dumplings. However, Chuko’s are clearly homemade and a cut above the rest. The outer skin is nearly the perfect thickness: thicker than the store-bought ones but not so thick that the skin overpowers the rest of the dumpling. The pork and scallion are freshly ground and sliced, and are well-balanced within the gyoza. We can only assume that they make each dumpling from scratch because of how good they were. If you are willing to wait the ten minutes that it take them to prepare, then we strongly recommend getting these as a complement to your ramen or other dishes.
I ordered the miso ramen while Marion got the kimchi ramen. My soup was great, with a rich, savory miso flavor and just the right amount of underlying saltiness. The accompanying toppings were also very good. The roast pork was cut in thick slices and was savory, toothy, and tender. The egg was also masterfully done, with a gooey, runny yolk and soft white. The noodles were also a stand-out: cooked so that they retained a bit of their hardness and did not become too soft after sitting in the soup for several minutes. Marion’s ramen was also quite good. As an authentic Korean person, she confirmed that the kimch was well-made and imbued the soup with a delicious fermented spiciness. The ground pork, egg, and other vegetables rounded out a great bowl of noodles. The concept behind the kimchi ramen was slightly confusing – it seemed to be going for the late-night made, homestyle feel of kimchi soaked base soup with instant Shin ramen but instead it brought a distant, more corporate feel, which was a slight disappointment. Nevertheless, it was an excellent bowl of ramen.
Chuko is definitely worth visiting. Although it may be off the beaten path for some (like us), it is worth the trek in order to try their ramen and other signature dishes. The beautiful interior and friendly service only add to the already positive experience. we would both love to go back and try some of their other items. Four stars out of five.