We watched, literally on the edges of our seats as Yuji lit up his blowtorch and pointed the blue flame towards a tray full of mussel shells. The shells crackled and spit briefly, their edges glowing, remnants of their beards flying up in the air as red embers caught in the updraft of smoke. Yuji transferred the mussel shells to miniature French presses, added a handful of smoked shaved bonito flakes, then ladled in a clear broth and placed the pitchers in front of us on the table. This was the last course in one of the most remarkable ramen-based meals I've ever had. And I had it at a lunch counter. Inside a Whole Foods. Weird.
Yuji Ramen Test Kitchen
When Yuji Haraguchi first started serving his wildly creative ramen omakase at the Whole Foods Bowery back in March, it was supposed to be a two-month stint. Fast-forward to present, and Haraguchi is still going strong in the same tiny kitchen, serving a constantly-changing seven-course, seafood-centric tasting menu to a lucky handful of diners (six, to be exact) five nights a week. Here's a look at what goes on behind the scenes.