Despite it’s name, Zurutto Ramen and Gyoza Bar’s menu weighs a lot heavier on ramen than gyoza options, with only three types of gyoza available on the menu. The original menu, which listed pork, cheese and radish gyoza, sounded a lot more interesting that what is currently available, which is pork, chicken, and pork and shrimp gyoza.
I tried the mini-chashu rice bowl which had some very tasty chashu pork, slivered scallions and an ice cold poached egg. Apparently poaching eggs and then chilling them ice cold before serving them is a thing, but it didn’t work in this dish. The frigid egg made the rice cold and the barely cooked egg white was thick and had a mucus texture, particularly when it was mixed with the rice. Maybe others like this dish, but I found it gross.
The Dumplings: The pork and shrimp gyoza were perfectly cooked. The bottom surfaces of the gyoza were skillet blackened and crisp and the rest of the gyoza wrapper was steamed so it had a soft and supple texture. However, two of my gyoza contained pieces of gristle, a sign that they are using low quality pork to make their dumplings. The shrimp didn’t contribute much flavor and were mushy, so they didn’t provide any texture either.
In addition to the three styles of gyoza, Zurutto Ramen and Gyoza Bar also serves takoyaki, which were a lot better than the namesake gyoza. I am not sure how they do it, but I think these were the most perfectly spherical takoyaki I have ever been served. After my own misadventures making this dish, I know how hard it is to create even vaguely ball-like takoyaki. The takoyaki had hard crisp outer shells and creamy interiors with several pieces of chopped octopus inside. Zurutto uses a tasty tako-sauce and have a light touch with the mayonnaise, and adorn the takyaki with an abundance of bonito flakes.
I recommend the Takoyaki over the gyoza, and unless cold poached eggs appeal to you, avoid the rice bowls.
The Dipping Sauce. The gyoza come with two dipping sauce, one was a mix of soy and rice vinegar and the second was a sweet orange colored sauce, which seemed like it was the duck sauce you get in little packets at Chinese take-out restaurants. Both sauces were served in small shallow bowls that were not big enough to truly dunk the dumplings in.
The Location. Zurutto Ramen and Gyoza Bar is on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on 72nd street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. It is mid-block on the south side of the street.