This Tarrytown BBQ Joint Makes Surprisingly Good Ramen
East Meets West in Pik Nik’s Southern BBQ Ramen
Photos by Karen Sims
It’s a dark, hopefully-end-of-winter afternoon in Tarrytown. You feel like you haven’t seen sunlight in months. You’re walking down Main Street, and a winter wind slaps you in the face, causing you to almost slip on a re-frozen patch of snow. You’re hungry. You need something hot, warm, and preferably belly-busting. Something like barbecue, or maybe ramen. Thankfully, you’ll find both at Pik Nik BBQ.
“When you think about them, both were peasant food,” says Hassan Jarane, who co-owns Pik Nik with his wife, Alberta. “Ramen was a peasant food in Japan, and barbecue was a peasant food in the South, so it was a perfect combination.” For the past four months, Pik Nik has featured a ramen option on their specials board, much to the satisfaction of winter-aggrieved customers. “Look at how mixed we are in Westchester,” Jarane says about combing a Japanese dish with American-style barbecue. “We offer almost everything. Whatever you’re heart is craving, we’ll offer it to you.”
Thus, the tough decision between tender, slow-cooked brisket or milky, pork-bone broth has been eliminated. At Pik Nik, patrons can order a bowl of ramen topped with their choice of meat from the smoker (or kimchi for vegetarians). That includes traditional pork belly (smoked for five hours over cherry and maple), beef brisket, smoked chicken, or even turkey. If there’s a ramen that respects the meat, it’s this one.
This isn’t to say the other components of Pik Nik’s ramen can’t stand on their own. The broth is simmered for 14 hours with pork knuckle and neck bones sourced from local butchers. The knuckle gives the soup its distinctive silky texture, and the neck adds tremendous flavor. Smoked pork belly gives the soup a smoky finish. The noodles are hearty, and as with any ramen worth it’s umami, there’s a happy collection of toppings to make the bowl your own.
Floating next to a delicate, soft-boiled egg are pan-fried shitake mushrooms and flaky seaweed. Add-ins include radish, scallion, pickled ginger, chili oil, and kimchi, which Jarane’s neighbor from Korea makes herself. “That’s the one thing I’m not going to mess with!” Jarane says with a laugh. Like the kimchi, all the ramen’s ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.
Pik Nik has had success with Asian ingredients and influences before, including its Korean BBQ tacos, which made the switch from the specials boards to the permanent menu. The ramen, too, will be finiding a permanent spot on the menu soon. “If somebody wants to enjoy something barbecue-ish, with an Eastern feel to it, why not?” says Jarane. “When it’s good, it’s good.” And on a cold day, there’s not much better than a bowl of cross-cultural, peasant-food comfort for just $9.99.
Pik Nik BBQ
45 Main St
Curious for more insight into everything from weddings and local business happenings to golf and hearty Westchester eating? Surf through all of our daily blogs.