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“Ganso ”

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

Downtown Brooklyn, you may have read, is booming. It's now home to The Barclays Center, The Islanders, The Brooklyn Nets, a collection of new residential towers flanking Dekalb and Flatbush Avenues, an Express, a GAP outlet, a shiny new Emporio Armani, a soon to open TJ Maxx/H&M Megaplex, and a Shake Shack (the ultimate indicator of the neighborhood’s arrival).

So it makes sense that restaurateurs with a keen eye for value and sharp sense of foresight would snatch up the real estate in this neighborhood in transition. And that’s precisely what Harris Salat did in opening his terrific new wood-paneled ramen hut, Ganso. Designed by the award-winning Super Paprika Corp with raw cedar, stone and glass, the restaurant is set off on a snug stretch of Bond Street between Livingston and the Fulton Mall. His closest restaurant competition is the IHOP. Seriously. He counts as his retail neighbors an eclectic mix of pawn shops, tattoo parlors, GOING OUT OF BUSINESS shops (that have been going out of business for the past decade), real thrift shops (where clothing is old, used, and cheap), sketchy wireless shacks, multi-story five-and-dimes, and bright neon wig shops. It’s the real Brooklyn, people.

And you feel that sense of Brooklyn in the room. This is not a restaurant with just ironically dressed white folks at the tables like many Brooklyn’s trendiest farm-to-table spots. Here you will find a collection of several different races and colors, tucked in at the ramen bar or at one of the tall backed booths, all happily slurping soup and sucking down squiggly yard long noodles from top to tip. 

And to this Brooklyn in metamorphosis, Salat has brought a classic slice of Japan. He should know. The guy is something of an authority on Japanese food and culture. He has written for The New York Times, Saveur and Gourmet, trained in Japanese restaurant kitchens in Kyoto, Tokyo and New York, and co-authored three cookbooks: Takashi's Noodles, Japanese Hot Pots and The Japanese Grill. A few years ago, when Harris was served a special ramen dish by Chef Rio Irie at Matsuri restaurant, he made a note to himself, “open a restaurant with this guy.” That’s precisely what he did at Ganso, which means Japanese for “original” and “pioneering.”

I found much of the food quite original, even though I’ve had almost every dish on the menu at some point or anot ... [more, click below]

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