Vanderbilt’s Pan-Asian Food-Off


Shoyu Ramen at Chuko

Two tiny, inventive new East Asian restaurants—Chuko and The Sunburnt Calf—both recently opened along the rapidly expanding Vanderbilt Avenue restaurant strip in Prospect Heights. Both are run by respected NYC restaurant vets fleeing across the East River, and each offers unique takes on noodles and small plates. Taken together with neighboring dumpling specialist Eton, you have the makings of one pretty fantastic pan-Asian progressive dinner crawl. But which spot is the best addition to the hood?



The Sunburnt Calf



Two Morimoto veterans offer creative, Japan-meets-Brooklyn appetizers along with steaming bowls of ramen
simmered with handmade noodles and high-end organic meats.

The first BK spin-off of
Australian Heath St. Clair’s Manhattan mini-chain goes “Australasian,” mixing
Down Under dishes with Southeast Asian influences.

The Sunburnt Calf. It’s nearly impossible to be the first anything in New York, and even though we’re not totally sure Australasian is
actually a thing, you gotta give them credit.


The former diner has been New Brooklyn-fied with blond woods, exposed brick, and a semi-open kitchen.

The dimly lit space is lined with corrugated iron, reminiscent of a simple home on the Australian bush.

The Sunburnt Calf. Points for not looking like every other new restaurant in the borough.

Small Plates

Lightly fried, yuzu salted
shisito peppers ($6), eggplant buns with tofu dressing ($5), plus daily
specials like sautéed, tempura and raw kale salad trio ($6) and fried green tomato sliders ($5).

Momofuku-style pork buns with pea sprouts; crispy baby codfish with roasted chiles and peanuts; plus standards like Vietnamese spring rolls and papaya salad. (all $8 each).

Chuko. Limited options aren’t a bad
thing. Each item is not quite like anything else we’ve ever had, and
definitely worth trying.


Ramen noodles simmered in flavorful pork, chicken, or miso broth, with healthy slices of rich pork or juicy chicken, plus semi-soft eggs and the surprising bonus of fresh corn kernels ($12).

Turmeric beer battered
barramundi with dill over vermicelli noodles; Vietnamese crepe with shrimp, crab and bacon; beer steamed prawns with garlic and lemongrass (all $14

The Sunburnt Calf. The barramundi is basically fish ‘n’ chips on a bed of Asian noodles. Doesn’t seem like a combo we needed, but we definitely did.


Only of the soft variety—a
full bar is coming soon.

Asian-tinged twists on classic cocktails like lemongrass rickey and Thai basil ($10 – $12).

Plus–Extra Point!—
everyone who walks in the door gets a free shot of “the Sunburnt”—passion fruit infused tequila with fresh strawberries and orange.

The Sunburnt Calf. You can’t argue with free


Ample Hills ice cream smushed into a chocolate macaroon sandwich. An extraordinary sugar rush that is worth staying up all night.

Thai tea cakes are tasty, but not as tasty as skipping dessert and heading around the corner to Ample

Chuko. Appropriating dessert from
Vanderbilt’s crazy addictive new ice cream shop was a very good move.


Seems fair considering the
instant hype Chuko has generated among Ramen fanatics.

For a casual neighborhood
restaurant, a little bit pricier than we expected.



The Verdict: The few things that Chuko does, they do excellently, but a fun setting and innovative cuisine (plus free shots!) means The Sunburnt Calf wins overall.



2 Responses

  1. Anonymous -

    i’m sorry but there is just no comparison. no desire to eat at the sunburnt calf after eating at two of their restaurants in manhattan, sorry. 


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