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8.3
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Chuko

Damn we love ramen, and we're not snobs about it either. We frequent Ippudo, Totto, and the rest of the popular spots around town as much as the next guy, but we're also not ashamed to add water and eat that sh*t out of a styrofoam cup either. How else do you think we can afford to eat out all the time?

Brooklyn may take Manhattan to school when it comes to a myriad of dressed down cuisines, but ramen isn't one of them. Naruto is good, Dassara is surely interesting, and Ganso is OK. But in general, the 718 serves ramen with a side of disappointment. Chuko though? This spot is the J-A-M. We're late to the party here, but everyone on Twitter who's been telling us to come here for so long was right. Welcome to our favorite ramen joint in Brooklyn. Chuko has a little bit of Momofuku Noodle Bar going on (don't they all), in that it's hip, cool, and constantly buzzing. They have a short list of ramen bowls, and also serve a small but well-executed menu of non-traditional Japanese dishes. The kale salad here is up there with the best of them, and their kimchi ramen with ground pork promptly moves into our top five ramen bowls in NYC.

The best part about Chuko, though, is the location. It's three blocks from Barclays Center, making this an ideal pre-game move for some noodles and a Sapporo. There will likely be a little bit of a wait, which you should occupy by grabbing a drink at [Weather Up (http://weatherupnyc.com "Weather Up" ), the unmarked bar across the street with the subway tile facade. That's the move. Trust us.

Food Rundown

Spicy Pickles

You can tell a lot about a restaurant with how they serve their spicy pickles, and we knew as soon as we laid eyes on Chuko's gherkins that we were in the right place. Doused in a spicy red Korean chili sauce and sesame, these cucumbers will certainly start your meal off on the right foot.

Steam Bun

Bunned out? Nonsense. Order up the jumbo pork bun with chili mayo and handle your business. Big business. Delicious business.

Gyoza

Freshly made pork dumplings rarely disappoint. Carry on.

Kale Salad

We're tired of eating kale salads. Especially in Brooklyn. We're also tired of complaining about kale salads. But every now and again, a kale salad puts you in your place. That's what Chuko's did, as this is one of the best and most unique we've ever had. A combination of fresh kale and "miso glazed tempered kale" makes for an amazing crunchy creation with Japanese flavor flair. Add crispy sweet potato and pickled raisins into the mix, and you have yourself a walk-off home run.

Kimchi Ramen

Just, DAMN. This ramen is right in my personal wheelhouse. It's spicy, and the noodles have an al dente bite to them. It's also got a slow cooked egg floating up top, waiting to sex up the ground pork and scallions. The kimchi is powerful, but it balances nicely with all the other fixins in this big bowl of glory.

Miso Ramen

Scallions, corn, and a soft egg accompany thin noodles and your choice of meat in a solid bowl of soy based ramen. The only issue we have with Chuko's Miso ramen is the broth. It's dense in miso flavor, to a point where even though this isn't a thick soup, it has a heavy taste.

Vegetarian Ramen

A ramen joint catering to vegetarians is a smart move. Many ramen shops don't even bother putting anything on the menu that doesn't include pork. This is a big crowd favorite here, and you should hit it if you're a plantivore.

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