Mermaids on the Horn to Naruto Ramen


Food rarely prompts deep, existential questions about mermaids. But Naruto Ramen’s takoyaki leaves you with a philosophic doozy: Would these mythic, beautiful creatures ever serve it at a black-tie event?

The Yorkville noodle house’s small plate quickly answers this ever-so-nagging concern.

Clearly, any self-respecting, undersea siren regularly stuffs herself to the gills with this pick, which looks and feels as much like a cream puff as an octopus fritter. Maybe mermaids even prefer these to plain ol’ profiteroles: Hell, you just can’t assume anything about things that swim and sing underwater without breathing.

Golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside, a $4.50 helping of these delectable, hot globes instantly tickles the taste buds. Inside, a gooey pancake-like batter surrounds a subtle sliver of purple tentacle. Octopus, often a chewy eat, is not at all rubbery in this dish, and has a rich brininess. The mollusk comes across as flavorful ocean fare, without being too salty or fishy.

The dough has a smooth, gooey texture and a mild vibe. On top, a plentiful pile of bonito flakes and drizzles of mayo and sweet, smoky ponzu enhance the different consistencies. Light, dry tuna bits pair nicely with the heavy, thick sauces. The end result: well-played contrast.

Naruto’s offering could have used more octopus, but remains a solid choice and pleasant substitute to a big bowl of soup. Don’t be fooled by how small the pieces look: If you get the takoyaki and another item, you will have ordered way too much food.

Have a tip or restaurant-related news? Send it to