The Experience: Over the last few days, New York’s food–internet absolutely exploded with news of the impending arrival of the Shoyu Ramen Burger at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. With reportedly only 100 burgers being sold, comparisons to the hard-to-obtain cronut had already begun to surface. I knew I’d have to get to Smorgasburg early.
I woke up Saturday morning with a gnarly hangover, but was determined to get my hands on one of these hybrid burgers. When I arrived in Williamsburg, the rain was starting to fall, and a line had started to form in front of chef Keizo Shimamoto‘s stand. A quick count put me at number 47 in line, so I relaxed with the knowledge that my hunger would be satisfied. The look of joy on Shimamoto’s face as he surveyed the quickly-growing line was one of pure joy, and made me happy to be part of his first stab at New York, even if I had to wait in line over 90 minutes to do so.
Burger Ordered: Shoyu Ramen Burger
The Taste: Shimamoto described the burger as a USDA Prime Burger Maker patty glazed with a secret shoyu sauce and sandwiched between scallions, arugula, and two craftily formed buns made from Sun Noodle‘s freshly cut ramen noodles. Smorgasburg bystanders, no doubt jealous that they’d be well over 100 people back in line by the time they arrived, scoffed that the combination of ramen and hamburger might taste great. My only fear was that the ramen bun would fall apart. Thankfully and deliciously, my fear was unfounded.
Not only did the ramen bun stick together until almost all of the meat was devoured, the crispy grilled sides of the ramen were positively delectable, with a delightful texture. The patty was very tasty, if somewhat small. Its size was likely necessary to keep the sandwich’s structure intact. I thought the shoyu sauce stole the show, however, and wished there could be more of it on the burger. Perhaps when Ramen Burger strikes out on its own (which must be inevitable) patrons will be able to order extra sauce. Per Shimamoto’s suggestion, I slurped the sauce and remaining noodles from the bottom of the utilitarian wrapper and finished my meal with a smile.
The Verdict: At the end of the day, 150 Shoyu Ramen Burgers were served, and happiness could be seen across the faces of scores of customers. At only eight dollars this was a steal. Keep your eye on Ramen Burger to find out when and where they’ll pop up next, and to see if a permanent home is coming soon.