just as the weather started to turn colder, Sully found himself with the beginnings of a cold/flu. as often happens to me when i get sick, this triggered an unquenchable desire to go out and eat up a storm of food (i have no idea why, probably because i've convinced myself that i need giant quantities of sustenance in order to beat whatever illness i have, whether it be a hangover or bronchitis). the motherly side of me decided we should check out Ganso, the newly opened ramen restaurant near my apartment which would kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
upon entering, we found ourselves facing a japanese izakaya setting that managed to both be trendy and home-y at the same time. simple wooden benches and furniture with minimalist furnishings and tableware. in the interest of time we chose to sit at the bar counter, which had its positives and negatives: we were stuck sitting in those teeny tiny stools with no back and no place to put our jackets/bags, HOWEVER, we were afforded an awesome view of the bustling kitchen and were thoroughly entertained by the symphony and efficiency of the chefs.
i wasn't particularly hungry so i opted out of ordering a ramen entree. instead, we chose Crispy Gyoza ($7) pork and garlic chive pot stickers with chili oil soy sauce dipping sauce and Buta Kimchi Buns ($9) braised pork belly, jalapeno kimchi, and spicy mayo.
the gyoza were similar to ones i'd had at Samurai Mama meaning that had that crispy webbing from the fried starch that had bled into the pan from the dumplings. and while these were really good, when compared to Samurai Mama's, they lose out by just a little. and Sully pointed out how odd it was to have an odd number of pieces (they give you 5) since it can't be evenly shared between 2 people.
the buns were a mixed blessing. they use pre-made frozen buns which can be purchased from any grocery store, and the dish suffers from it since we've all become accustomed to home-mode pillows of fluffy buns at other establishments. the inside pork and accoutrements had an amazing flavor of juiciness from the pork and spice from the seasonings. if only they had provided a larger portion. the mass-produced bun dwarfed the inner ingredients which is never a good bun-to-innard ratio.
for his entree, Sully chose the Short Rib ($15) soy-sauce beef broth, slow braised short rib, "onsen" egg, seasonal greens. it's a good portion for a single person and would leave you feeling satisfied and warm inside. however, the short rib was slightly overcooked, which made it a little dry (which is quite a feat considering it's swimming in soup). the "onsen" egg also suffered from the same fate.
on the walk home, i considered whether i would return to Ganso for another meal. Sully basically summed up the Ganso experience: the food was good, really good, but not amazing, and for the price point, i wouldn't be running back to Ganso but if i was ever craving ramen and didn't want to travel far, i'd consider returning.