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“Ganso ”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Asian Brooklyn Cheap Eats Great

her. Indeed, you’ll not find gyoza ($7) like the ones served at Ganso anywhere else. They arrive huddled together on the plate, connected like Siamese quintuplets by a lacy honeycomb crust made of fried gyoza skin. It crackles like a kettle cooked potato chip under the weight of a chopstick. Pierce through that crispy veil, and you’ll find crescent shaped dumplings, plump with the right mix of pork and green garlic chives, right and ready for a dunk-worthy chili-soy sauce. They are priceless at $7 for the set.

The agedashi tofu (a nightly special) is also exceptional. Squares of potato starch dressed tofu are deep fried then topped with caramelized nuggets of eggplant, and shaved scallions, and then submerged in a dazzling broth of soy, dashi and mirin, that’s hits all the sweet, salty, spicy and umami notes. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in agedashi tofu, but were afraid to ask for.

There are two wonderful types of buns on the menu—the Kari Kari Buns ($9) sandwich panko breaded pork loin slathered with a tangy tonkatsu sauce, and the Buta Kimchi Buns are filled with braised pork belly, then topped off with a one-two punch of jalapeno kimchi and spicy mayo ($9). The least successful of the small plates is the Japanese fried chicken, which is nicely crispy and piping hot in ringlets that resemble fried calamari, yet strangely bland, served in cute little shallow baskets with wedges of lemon ($8).

But the ultimate Japanese comfort arrives in the form of deep, beautiful bowls of ramen. There are five varieties from which to and on several my visits I’ve had all but the vegetarian version (when given the option for braised beef or pork, I’ll never say no). The traditional Ganso ($12) is a classic soy broth stocked up with slow-braised pork, an egg, and seasonal greens, and it’s remarkably light and clean. You don’t get that heavy, sluggish, salted down, I need to drink a well’s worth of water feeling after you finish it. For a hot steamy soup, it’s almost refreshing.

The Short Rib ($15) offers a more heft in the broth, which is made from beef and soy, and arrives bobbing with slabs of fall-apart braised beef, a perfectly poached runny egg, and a tangle of greens and noodles. Debbie and I shared this one, as we had loaded up on too many small plates for a bowl each. I should say that the attentive and sweet staff is happy to help you share ... [more, click below]

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