Feature

Anatomy of a dish: burger ramen

Keizo Shimamoto puts the burger in his ramen at Brooklyn's Berg'n

Keizo Shimamoto, inventor of the ramen burger, has a new trick up his sleeve.

Meet the burger ramen. It's noodles topped with a beef patty, American cheese and bacon. And it's just one of the must-try things at Berg'n, the much-anticipated and finally open 9,000-square-foot parking garage turned epic food hall in Brooklyn, New York, from Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg guys Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler.

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All your Smogasburg favorites are here, like Mighty Quinn's, Asiadog, Pizza Moto and the original burger-on-a-noodle-bun ramen burger. But Demby suggested Shimamoto flip the script for the new space.

"The ramen burger thing kind of happened to him," Demby concedes, "so, I wanted Keizo to make a ramen for us."

Shimamoto has other meaty ideas on his ramen radar. "Once it gets colder, I want to put bonkotsu on," he says of the tonkotsu-based ramen he invented that's juiced up with beefy drippings from the shredded beef ramen burger.

"I just want to make something that will blow people's minds away," says Shimamoto, a laidback L.A. transplant and Tokyo-trained ramen expert, his black baseball hat askew.

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His latest is a twisted but delicious fusion of ramen and burger on Japan's classic abura soba ramen style. Shimamoto shows us how the weird magic is made.

The Broth: There isn't any. "Abura soba literally translates to 'oil noodles,'" says Shimamoto. He mixes Japanese chile oil, rice vinegar, and sesame oil with ramen burger's secret shoyu sauce for punchy, umami-loaded kick with a lingering heat.

The Noodles: Chewy, almost fettuccine-like noodles from Sun Noodle. "You want to get a good bite. Since there is no soup, a thicker noodle is better."

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The Meat: One charred, generously sized Angus beef patty topped with a thin slice of melted white American cheese and bacon strips. "I got inspired by Black Shack, one of my favorite burger shops in the city; they use white American, and here it just works."

The Greens: No hot, fragrant bowl of ramen is complete without a bounty of leafy toppings. Instead of limp bamboo, Shimamoto opts for fresh arugula and scallions. "The arugula has a spicy kick — not spicy spicy but a bitter spicy, and that goes well with steaks, so why not the burger ramen?"

Tasting Table is a culinary lifestyle brand that obsesses over what to eat and drink so you don't have to. It's like having a foodie best friend to distill the culinary world into must-do, must-eat, and must-know recommendations, on everything from the best Thai in the Village to the top tequila pours in Outer Mission. Hungry yet?

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