Yuji Ramen Pops Up at Whole Foods Downtown

Itinerant noodle lab Yuji Ramen has set up shop for just a few weeks at a Whole Foods downtown. Yuji—which debuted last spring at Brooklyn's Kinfolk Studios and has since worked the Smorgasburg outdoor market—specializes in mazemen, a brothless style that's hot in Japan, made with wide fresh noodles hand-rolled by Chef Yuji Haraguchi. One version, topped with crisp bacon and slow-cooked egg, is rich, filling, and enthusiastically recommended on Chowhound by guyonatlantic. Another, with house-cured salmon and a sauce of Camembert and cream (pictured), is "like a really good bowl of fettuccine," gabandgobble says.

In addition to mazemen (a third variation comes with roasted seasonal vegetables in miso sauce), the à la carte menu includes ramen in an ever-changing shoyu-based broth brewed from ingredients that Haraguchi, a former seafood salesman, selects daily from Whole Foods' meat and fish departments. (One recent creation: turkey and oxtail broth with a topping of miso-roasted hake and scallop-infused oil.) The noodles for the shoyu ramen come from Sun Noodle, a custom supplier to restaurants and a ramen destination in its own right for events at its factory and test kitchen in New Jersey.

Haraguchi is also serving freewheeling tasting dinners for a handful of diners nightly. Unfortunately they're sold out through May 12, the end of his Whole Foods residency—part of a rotating showcase for Smorgasburg vendors that has also hosted Mighty Quinn's Barbeque. The good news is that like Mighty Quinn's, which launched an instantly popular East Village restaurant late last year, Yuji Ramen aims to open its own place, and Haraguchi has reportedly landed a space in Williamsburg where he'll make noodles and Japanese street bites like okonomiyaki.

Yuji Ramen Test Kitchen [Lower East Side]
In Whole Foods Market, 95 E. Houston Street (at Bowery), Manhattan
646-262-1358

Discuss: Anyone tried Yuji Ramen pop up at Whole Foods?
Best ramen right now?

Photo by Chowhound user gabandgobble