Well how about that – two updates in the same month? That’s just about unheard of for us. In all honesty, it usually takes a while to write these posts, so they go up a while after we’ve actually visited the restaurant in question. However, there won’t be a delay on the update this time since we were all very excited about this latest spot.
This weekend, our friend Matt, Marion, and I went to Mu Ramen in Long Island City off of the Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave stop on the 7 train. Besides being the first ramen place in Queens that we’ve blogged about, it was also one of our favorites that we’ve been to so far.
To start off, you should definitely try and get to Mu early, especially if you’re going on the weekend like we did. We got there around 5 (Mu opens at 5:30) and there were already people waiting. Once it opens, you are ushered inside in a staggered fashion. This means that they seat one group, get them settled, maybe take an order or two and then take care of the next group. While this may seem annoying to those standing in line, it actually makes a great deal of sense. It puts less immediate strain on the kitchen, and it seemed like the orders came out very quickly.
Mu’s interior and general presentation is very nice. The floor and walls are dark, there are curved wooden accents on the ceiling, and an interesting rock garden in the middle of the table (it sounds as weird as it actually is). In terms of design, everything is impeccably selected and thought out. The seating could be more comfortable; you sit on pretty short wooden stools and I definitely felt a little cramped sitting in between two people. The staff is very attentive though, which is not something you get (or should expect) at many ramen places.
Now on to the food, which is the reason we’re all here either writing or reading in the first place. Everything that we had ranged from being very good to excellent. We started off with some appetizers. The Kuro Edamame was delicious. The beans are grilled or blackened and served with chili and salt on top. They were much more smoky and savory than the edamame you usually get at Japanese restaurants. The other item we ordered communally was the Tebasaki Gyoza, which are actually chicken wings coated with foie gras and then deep-fried. They were unbelievable – succulent, salty, peppery and rich. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of foie gras, but these are definitely worth trying.
We ordered two different bowls of ramen between the three of us. Marion and Matt both got the Spicy Miso, while I went for the Tonkotsu 2.0. Both were fantastic. The Spicy Miso had a variety of toppings (corn, naruto, bamboo shoots, scallions, pork) to go along with a balanced soup that was slightly fiery and sweet. There were two options for eggs and we opted for the soft-boiled egg. The noodles it came with were some of the widest that I’ve ever seen in a bowl of ramen. They were almost as thick as udon noodles. They were cooked very well and seemed to do a nice job of standing up to the broth.
The Tonkotsu 2.0 was equally impressive. The toppings, especially the pork jowl, which basically melts in your mouth, were excellent. The noodles were well-cooked – firm enough to withstand the extra time spent sitting in the bowl as you slurp. And the broth itself was incredible. It was equal parts savory, sweet and meaty and had an overall deepness that compares with some of the best places we’ve been to. The bowls themselves are not that big, but the sheer richness and the fact that we had already been eating small plates beforehand meant that all three of us were very satisfied afterwards.
As we wandered the streets of Queens after our meal, we all agreed that Mu was one of the top places we’ve been to. You can tell as soon as you walk in that the restaurant is someone’s vision, from the tasteful interior to the carefully-crafted dishes on the menu. The food and service are both top-notch, and although the price (it is definitely more expensive than a “normal” ramen shop) or location may scare some people off, it’s worth it to spend a little extra sometimes. This is a great spot for friends, families, and dates. We recommend you try and get here as soon as you can before the hype train really blows up. Five stars out of five (which is a first for this blog I believe).