Ramen sliders: a fistful of noodles

I mean, it seemed like a cool idea. Made famous by pop-up chef Keizo Shimamoto, the ramen burger has attracted novelty eaters by the throngs. So when the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton added ramen sliders ($12) to its menu in the Degrees lounge, it certainly fit the criteria of a Thing You Should Try. It would have made its way into our monster burger, if it had been available in August.

(Maura Judkis)

(Maura Judkis)

But for those thinking "Genius! Why hasn't this been done before?", it's because there is a good reason noodles do not typically make a good bun. It is because they are noodles. Though they're seared lightly to hold the whole thing together, they will always be noodles, dozens of strands of them, just tenuously hugging either side of a tiny burger until their inevitable collapse. It's awfully cute how they're presented with a toothpick, as if that even has a prayer of holding this thing together.

The first bite is fine. The ramen bun doesn't add much in the way of flavor, only texture. But upon the second and third bites, the burger's juices and sauces (hoisin and sriracha aioli) seep into the noodles and remind them: "Oh yeah! We're noodles!" And that's when it all starts to go wrong. The noodles revert to their natural state, no longer bound by the whims of food fads. You are left holding a pitiable, small burger patty, a tomato and a fistful of hoisin-coated noodles. Holding a fistful of noodles feels unpleasant, and squishy.

It was a good try.

The aftermath (Maura Judkis)

The aftermath (Maura Judkis)

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