Chilled ramen packs the heat of horseradish and wasabit at Karazishi Botan. Photo: Hugo Yu

The entire city feels like a warm, wet towel, and there is no relief in sight. Counterintuitive as it may seem, the solution to an “uncomfortable dew point” and this sweltering New York summer is a ramen bar. If you’ve dabbled in the New York City ramen scene, you likely know Karazishi Botan in Cobble Hill. The narrow “ramen diner” was highly anticipated when it opened in February 2020 by chef Foo Kanegae, who had previously worked for ramen chain Ippudo, where he was one of the few people allowed to develop hundreds of recipes. After two decades, he set off to open his own shop as a place to showcase more creative recipes for devoted fans.

Kanegae’s eccentric style is best captured by a bowl of cold ramen with a bracing bite that he put on the menu this summer, developed specifically for the season. The dish is called Point Blank 2 and is a sequel, of sorts, to a different recipe, called the Point Blank. For part two, Kanegae starts with fresh-grated horseradish at the bottom of the bowl, then amplifies it with horseradish oil. Next is a chilled porcini-kombu broth, followed by cold noodles (made in California with a custom blend of flours to resist softening after they’re cooked), pickled onion buds, seaweed salad with chopped wasabi stems, bamboo, and tofu chashu. Finally, wasabi oil on top to strengthen the bite. These cold noodles carry a fair degree of heat.

Kanegae developed the original Point Blank as a wellness booster during the early days of the pandemic, and it was popular enough to become a permanent item. The two versions share the horseradish and wasabi, but the original is served in a hot pork broth, while Point Blank 2 happens to be vegetarian, since chilling bone broth would turn it to Jell-O. You can still order the cold bowl with a round of pork chashu, but I found the tofu chashu to be more harmonious with the cold service. Point Blank 2 is also served with a shot of bright yuzu juice, which they encourage you to add halfway through to adjust the acid levels of the broth after first slurping it down plain.

Is it possible for a bowl of noodles to feel virtuous? These might. At the very least, they don’t weigh you down after you’re done eating (a welcome quality when it’s 92 degrees outside), but I do suggest you follow them up with something that could never be mischaracterized as healthful: airy, sugary doughnuts that are fried to order and filled with cool custard — a final bite of hot mingling among the cold.

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