Move over, cronut. There's a new craze in town, and it's sweeping New York City.
The brainchild of ramen blogger-turned-chef Keizo Shimamoto, the ramen burger drew crowds at Smorgasburg, the famed summer food market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Shimamoto, 35, says he hopes to expand his Smorgasburg success into a standalone restaurant, and he's off to a good start: More than 300 people lined up hoping to nab one of the 150 available ramen burgers its debut three weeks ago.
The ramen burgers are exactly what they sound like: a burger sandwiched between fried ramen noodles, selling for $8 a piece.
The ramen burger starts with a USDA prime beef patty cooked medium-rare to well-done and slathered in "secret" shoyu sauce. Along with spiced arugula and scallions, the burger gets put on a "bun" formed from ramen noodles from Sun Noodle, a New Jersey-based ramen manufacturer.
“It’s just so good,” he said. “The juices from the burger and the secret sauce, that shoyu flavor, come into your mouth, while your tongue separates the noodles. It’s a different experience from any other burger.”
The Los Angeles native is second-generation Japanese, and began exploring his culinary roots by traveling around California, Nevada and Japan sampling any ramen he could get his chopsticks on and writing about it on his Go Ramen blog.
When the subprime mortgage crisis hit, he quit his job working at a mortgage company and moved to Japan, where he worked at noodle shops. He saw Japanese people eating a ramen sandwich with chashu pork, and the idea of the ramen burger began to take shape.
Shimamoto moved to New York in June and is working part-time at a ramen shop in the city while he prepares to spin off his business.
And as for those cronuts, well, they haven't been forgotten. At this past weekend's Smorgasburg, someone got their hands on a cronut... and traded it for a ramen burger.