Dassara is not your typical ramen joint. If I had to sum it up in just one word, that word would be “Brooklyn”. Instead of the usual clean lines with wood accents ramen-ya formula, Dassara combines one part dive bar with one part Japanese hipster restaurant. Chill and relaxed, this place was made to leisurely slurp your noodles while getting boozed up in the process. I like it, I like it a lot.
I visited Dassara with Jay of the Dishelin Guide earlier this year as part of my Brooklyn ramen tour. Most of Dassara’s ramen is what I like to call new age ramen. Sure, they have traditional ramen broths, but it seems like a shame to pass on the more unusual, creative options. The non-ramen section of the menu also includes a number of non-traditional appetizers to go with your ramen.
The rice cakes ($10) normally come with Chinese sausage, but we got the vegan option with mixed wild mushrooms. Ehh, the serving was much larger than we were expecting. While the mushrooms and chili were nice, this was basically a big bowl of carbs… right before a carb heavy entree.
Jay got the tebasaki wings ($9), which is apparently a must order item for omnivores. (When you eat with a vegetarian, you get the entire order of wings to yourself.) Garlic marinated, twice fried, meaty chicken wings with soy black pepper sauce, honey mustard, and apple sauce. The sauces sure sound nice, but apple sauce is a bit unusual.
Dassara, unfortunately, was out of our first choice of cocktails. There were plenty of other cocktails to choose from, and we later moved on sake when it was time for slurping ramen.
Omnivores have plenty of options at Dassara, including a meat on meat on meat Xi’an Ramen that sounds pretty
intense terrifying. The Deli Ramen ($14) is one of their non-traditional offerings with a chicken broth, matzo ball, smoked deli meat, diced celery, scallions, and an egg. It’s more of a matzo ball soup with noodles than ramen.
After reading about Dassara’s mushroom ramen ($12) for quite some time, I am pleased to announce that this vegetarian ramen is a new favorite of mine. Definitely pretty high up there in my veggie ramen rankings, and there’s no other bowl like it in NYC.
The broth is made from mixed wild mushrooms and walnuts, creating a rich color and hearty consistency. It’s basically a mushroom gravy with oodles of chewy noodles. Same stuff that came with the rice cakes, but works much better with the noodles. Topped with more mushrooms, scallions, and a medium-boiled egg. A more unique assortment of mushroom toppings would be nice, but nevertheless, this meatless dish stole the show that night!