Gosh this was some tasty ramen. I spent July 4th weekend in New York last summer and found this yummy yummy ramen restaurant tucked away in the Lower East Side. We got there for a late lunch which was nice because there was no wait and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
The restaurant is quite cozy and only seats up to 20 people? Since we had our choice of seating we chose the counter. I love getting to sit at the counter, especially ones that put you front row seat to all the action in the kitchen! Their set up was so homey – I like!!
MMmmmm this was a bowl of some tasty noodles! When the ramen cook placed the bowl on the counter, the sweet and fruity aroma of the miso filled my sensory receptors. As I slurped my first spoonful of soup I was transported to my happy place – the consistency of the miso soup was so velvety and smooth on my tongue and I could taste the distinct salty and earthy miso flavor that I was looking forward to. Mildly spicy…very mild. The noodles were plump and chewy and oh so doing doing! Just the way I like it. The sweet corn was nothing more than complimentary to the savory miso and was actually a nice break in flavors and textures. The cha siu pork tasted like it was stewed to the point where it just gave in and was like “I’m done, eat me!”. Oh and the egg…devine and oh so flavorful and not too over boiled. I really miss this place.
MMMM mmmmm MMMM. Dan da daan! Introducing the Tsuke-men Sensation!!! OMG I’ve never, ever, ever, ever had tsuke men like this. My taste buds are salivating looking at these pictures!! So it was like one of the hottest months last year in New York. They experienced record breaking temperatures and of course we right in the center of it all. As I mentioned before, Minca’s a cozy joint and one of the other reasons we chose the counter was because it was closest to the fan they had going. I initally had second thoughts about eating HOT ramen on a sweltering day but what the hell? I was already beading with sweat from just standing in the sauna they call the subway and trekked across town under the hot scorching sun – a hot bowl of ramen won’t phase me. So instead I ordered the cold tsuke men noodles. First of all, I don’t see tsuke men on menus that often and secondly it’s hardly the occasion for tsuke men except on hot days like we were experiencing. And these were no ordinary tsuke men noodles…this was “special” and the newest craze in Tokyo! So said the menu/flyer. Just look at this dish!! Yummy yummy. The extra thick noodles were served chilled along with sliced wood ear mushrooms, a generous portion of green onions, a piece of that savory succulent pork and delicious egg. And then there’s the dipping sauce…the wonderful wonderful sauce. There were 3 sauce options to choose from: Shoyu, Miso & Garlic Shio and it’s topped off with dry fish powder. I chose the garlic shio which was so soooooooooooo freaking good. It was savory, and had a toasted garlic taste and very fishy! Kinda like anchovy or bonito…I couldn’t really tell. And if anyone cares to know, the way to eat these noodles is just like soba noodles where you dip the noodles in the sauce. I added all the green onions to the sauce and ate the pork, mushrooms and egg on the side. MMM…the thick noodles did an excellent job of absorbing the delicious sauce. I wish I was having a bowl right now.
Last but not least, here are the homemade gyozas. Crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. What else do I need to say?
536 E 5th St # Stw
New York, NY 10009-6585
Noodle Nation, ramen noodles, Ramen Restaurants | Comments (2)
Ahhh yess…the much discussed Ippudo Ramen. Somehow, we found ourselves in the East Village a lot whether it was for food or shopping. As you pass through the curtains you’re greeted by red walls one of which is adorned with ramen bowls and a counter display of dried ramen blocks and hip bar music. It’s by far the trendiest ramen restaurant I’ve ever been to. Not sure if I was digging it though, sometimes too trendy = expensive food that may be visually appealing but totally lacks flavor.
As the hostess leads you on your journey to your table you’ll get a holla from the entire staff which is fun yet a little embarrassing. We walked by the open kitchen where all the bowls of ramen were assembled. These noodle chefs were moving so fast I couldn’t get a steady shot.
Shiromaru Hakata Classic (Traditional Tonkotsu Flavor):
If you don’t know already, I am really into tonkotsu flavor! The creamy, savory, rich broth is sooo addictive. The tonkotsu here was tasty but not crazy tasty. I don’t know…it was kind of just ok I guess…I mean it was still better than a lot of ramen shops back at home and it wasn’t as yummy as our first stop at Terrakawa ramen. Maybe it was all the hype about this place? The toasted sesame seeds did add a different flavor which was yum and the texture of the noodles were good! Turns out they’re made fresh in house! The egg was good too but still not better than Terrakawa ramen.
This flavor was a tonkotsu with a twist served with Ippudo’s secret sauce (which looked like bean paste mixed with sambal olek), a drizzle of garlic oil and done in like a miso/tonkotsu combo broth. This wasn’t bad at all but yet not as good as I had expected – my expectations were probably too high after hearing so many raves about this place.
This restaurant was definitely a fun experience and had the most expensive bowl of ramen I’ve had to date ($13 bucks and no combo). The decor was very cool and edgy and I loved the little peek-a-boo window to the ramen noodle machine downstairs. I might come back if there were no other options but I think can pass on this place for a while. There are many more ramen shops waiting out there!
This was my first taste of ramen in the big apple and it was like nothing I’ve tasted before! I was very fortunate to find such a tasty treat on the first shot and bonus that it was walkable from the hotel. My mouth salivated as I stood outside reading the menu. They had a special that looked tasty and a tan tan ramen that called out to me so I had to try. One of the first things I observed walking in was that all the patrons were Japanese which is a really good sign for a ramen shop. Their special ramen is called Terrakawa ramen which is actually tonkotsu ramen. I’m proud to say I think I can now recognize a tonkotsu broth with confidence. To me, what can separate a great ramen shop from a good ramen shop is their combo items like gyoza and chahan (fried rice). When the gyoza and/or chahan are just as delicious as the ramen it can catapult the experience to a place beyond words!
Terrakawa Ramen and Gyoza Combo:
The Terrakawa ramen and gyoza special was amazing. The skin of the gyoza was thin and the bottom had that nice crunchy sear that all good gyoza have. It was juicy and savory aaand juicy….mmm…thinking about it is making me hungry! It was quite chilly in NY back in October so it felt really good to start off the trip with a big hot bowl of ramen. Bonus that it was tonkotsu. There were all kinds of goodies in the bowl like wood ear fungus, plenty of pickled ginger, a generous amount of green onions, bamboo shoots, a slice of pork and the best part: a flavored egg. I’ve never tasted a better egg and I’m still awed by how it was made! Like a tea egg the white was was soft boiled butIt’s currently my new favorite flavor. The noodles were the thin, al dente and whiter not yellower…I’m still not sure what they are called but I’ve had this type of noodle before.
Tan Tan Ramen:
Anything tan tan is normally hit or miss. This was a hit! The balance of savory and sweet was just right and as in most situations it could have been spicier but I’m not complaining, overall the soup was delicious. The noodles that were served with the tan tan ramen were closer to the type of noodles that I like which are chewier.
After this first experience it got me really excited about exploring the rest of the city’s ramen restaurants.
18 Lexington Ave
(between 22nd St & 23rd St)
New York, NY 10010