Destination: Koko Ramen
Introducing Koko Ramen, our favorite place to get authentic Japanese ramen in Brooklyn, just a short walk from our Flatbush House. Koko has an unassuming exterior, like most of New York City’s gems: Its plastic red door and wooden panelled walls only hint at the magic inside. A yellow sign floating on the roof with a bowl of steaming ramen stencilled on it is your only indication to step inside: Ramen will follow.
This cozy Japanese noodle shop is a highlight in the Cortelyou side of the neighborhood, just a few blocks from the Courtelyou Q stop. Established in 2016, Koko has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. Its small size means that at peak times there can be a line of ramen fans rolling out of the door, but before you panic, they also do take-out.
The main thing Koko Ramen is famous for is its happy hour, which runs from 12-7pm everyday. Get a side dish of edamame, chicken wings or gyoza free with your ramen dish, or choose from a Japanese beer or hot sake for just $5. But Koko Ramen is so much more than just this deal.
Photo: Koko Ramen/ Facebook
The decor feels intimate and authentic, with lanterns dipping down at odd intervals and multi-colored ramen bowls and chopsticks stuck to the wooden panel walls. The seating consists of small wooden tables alongside bar stools looking out the front window, which adds to the community vibe. And of course, the friendly servers always bring your food out with a smile. The small size makes Koko the perfect place for a date or solo dining (but maybe not for a roommate group meal, unless you want half your group to be sat outside). If you’re worried about getting a table, just be sure to go in the early evening or just before closing time.
We loved the Roast Duck Ramen ($16), with roasted duck, bean sprouts, kikurage mushrooms, bok choy and ajitama (soft boiled) egg. Somehow, the duck remained crispy (as it should be!) even despite the broth. Koko is most famous for their Koko Tonkotsu Ramen ($14), made with creamy pork bone broth and pork belly kakuni, spinach, menma, and a soft boiled egg, which comes complete with two fatty chunks of quality pork. Koko has found the secret to making a creamy broth that’s not too salty with thick noodles that absorb every ounce of its flavor.
The Pork Buns, Takoyaki and crispy Chicken Wings are also extremely popular with Brooklynites, who come from across the borough to get their ramen fix. Finish your meal with the Lava Cake, a flowing chocolate treat that truly melts in your mouth. Just make sure to head to an ATM before you check out Koko, because the restaurant is cash-only, although this certainly didn’t spoil our night. Koko is a very special Flatbush institution indeed.
Photo: Alyssa S. / Yelp
375 Marlborough Rd
Brooklyn, NY 11226