Where to Find a Solid Bowl of Vegetarian Ramen
The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week's pick.
All photos by Tara Mahadevan
Destination: Dassara Brooklyn Ramen (271 Smith Street; 718-643-0781)
Neighborhood: Gowanus, Brooklyn
Cuisine: Asian-American fusion
Overview: Located just a few blocks from the Gowanus Canal, Dassara Brooklyn Ramen blends Asian and American influences into bowls of noodles under owner Josh Kaplan. And Kaplan hasn't forgotten his Jewish roots -- he's managed to incorporate matzo balls into his menu.
Highlights: Dassara's mushroom ramen ($12) is one of the bigger bowls of ramen we've laid eyes on. The vessel is filled to the brim with a creamy mushroom broth after it's loaded with ramen noodles, cabbage, chives, wild mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and a soft-poached egg. The accoutrements offset the richness of the ramen's broth and prevent the dish from becoming too heavy, and per our server, the soft-poached egg yolk is meant to elevate the broth's creaminess. (If you're a vegan, though, note that the mushroom ramen doesn't need the help.)
Beyond the soup, Dassara has plenty to offer non-meat eaters, and two other dishes in particular caught our eye: the sesame Szechuan noodles ($12), featuring cooled noodles in a sesame sauce with Szechuan dressing, kimchi pickled vegetables, and smoked tofu; and the vegetarian soft rice cakes ($10), with wild mushrooms, oil cured chilies, and shiso brown butter.