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Dassara Brooklyn Ramen: Postmodern Noodles Under Neon Lights

Carroll Gardens' fantastic new ramen shop merges Japanese influences with American multiculturalism


If you consider yourself a ramen purist, by all means do not go to .

Located at 271 Smith Street between Degraw and Sackett Streets, Dassara ladles out an edited menu of the owners’ and chef’s personal take on the beloved Japanese noodles.

It's not standing on ceremony. It's unconventional. Whimsy reigns supreme. In fact, Busta Rhymes may start playing over the sound system.

The good news? Those who can get past puritanical notions are rewarded—Dassara Brooklyn Ramen is delicious.

“At its best, ramen is both playful and prepared with a high level of expertise and ingredients, without ever being pretentious," said one of the co-owners Justin DeSpirito in a press release. "We aim to put our own non-traditional twist on ramen and bring that food to our neighborhood.”

Much like artist Takashi Murakami's postmodern Superflat movement was derivative of manga, anime and pop art, Dassara takes a winking interpretation of ramen, merging Japanese influences with Jewish homecooking, American locavorism and whatever else inspires.

One example can be found in the much-buzzed-about Deli Ramen, featuring chicken broth served with diced celery, matzo balls and 's own Canadian-style smoked meat. ($15) This riff on bubby's classic cure-all was pitch perfect on a recent evening and a dining companion swooned in anticipation of how much more she will look forward to it come wintertime.

Likewise, a vegetarian Mushroom Ramen (gasp!) coaxed earthy, autumnal flavors from mixed wild mushrooms, swimming alongside a deep-fried shard of seaweed and a softly oozing poached egg. ($12) Someone in the kitchen is dreaming of cooler temperatures. But aren't we all?

Be sure to leave just a little room for the soft oval rice cakes, sprinkled with Chinese sausage, chili-oil and shiso brown butter. This unassuming dish is a hidden gem that your dining companions won't suspect is so tasty. More for you!

You'll have a harder time batting away a friend's hands from the steamed bun of the day—fried chicken, if you're lucky. Topped with housemade pickles and a kick of spice, they are crunchy, juicy and fiery all at once.

But as I said, if you're not the type of person who would enjoy modern, flavorful Japanese cookery, stay away. There are plenty of places doing that other typical kind.

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