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Category: Noodles

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

Noodles & rice bowls from acclaimed Ramen guru, Ivan Ramen. This is his first shop stateside.

What We Had

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Classic Shoyu Ramen
soy sauce, chicken + dashi double soup, pork chashu, rye noodle

Classic Shio Ramen
sea salt, chicken + dashi double soup, pork chashu, rye noodle

Yuzu Lemonade

Both ramen varieties looked the same and we had no idea which was which. Both tasted similar.

The noodles were nice and chewy; the broth was well flavored (though not as deeply flavored as our favorite joints – think a touch more delicate than Momofuku).

Not a bunch going on here, toppings-wise. A few pieces of chicken and pork and some strangely tasteless scallions. We both added egg, which was fine.

Overall meal impression was meh. Not bad, but we’ve had so much better.

Decor

Slurp Shop is located in the Gotham West Market – a large food courty type affair with 8 upscale food and grocery vendors, including The Brooklyn Kitchen. It’s an interesting place – very open concept.

Service

Counter service.

Overall Impressions

We won’t be making the long trek Gotham West Market is in Hell’s Kitchen on 11th in the mid-40s — far from our usual haunts special for ramen again. This was good, but not as good as our three favorites; and no where near as convenient to get to.

Rating

3 out of 5 for tasty but not overwhelming noodles in a space with a cool concept, but inconvenient location.

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Yuji Ramen Test Kitchen – Whole Foods

Inside Whole Foods Bowery

What We Had

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I had the bacon & egg mazeman (no broth) ramen with smoky bacon, poached egg & kale. This dish was fantastic. Chewy thick noodles, high quality bacon, crispy kale and silky egg. Crazy good.

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My DH had the daily Shoyu ramen with pork confit – also fabulous. Rich and luxurious beef broth with nice pork and chewy thin noodles.

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Both came with with pickled market vegetables and barley tea.

Decor

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Nice counter but you’re still inside Whole Foods.

Service

Order at the counter service from friendly staff.

Overall Impressions

A great find. I had eaten a few bites of Yuji Ramen at Smorgasburg, and it was delicious. It’s nice to know this little popup is delicious as well. I can’t wait until the permanent shop opens. In the meantime, Yuji does Omikase tasting nights for a reasonable price. More information can be had if you sign up for the email list.

Rating

4 to 4.5 out of 5, but only because its in a grocery store food court. The food was really stellar.

Rai Rai Ken

Lauded as one of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s favorite ramen spots in NYC. Located in the village.

What We Had

2 special Ramens – 1 with lobster & 1 with ground pork (mabo)

Both had big, bold flavors and perfectly al dente noodles

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The lobster had a nice lobster, shrimp & pork based broth topped with poached egg, shrimp, cilantro & scallion – deeply shellfishy broth, luxurious egg, welcome shrimp.

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The mabo had a soy sauce based broth topped with ground pork, tofu, chili & scallion – nutty, rich, happy-making pork bits … It’s all there.

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Gyoza – light, with veg, nice taste.

Decor

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Vibrant & busy with bustling servers a a flurry of activity from the open kitchen.

Lots of bright red balanced by mixed wood tones.

Service

No-nonsense.

Overall Impressions

Cash only.

It’s a more than suitable substitute if Ippudo is booked, but just a tic under our favorite. On the other hand, much less expensive and very, very tasty.

Rating

5 out of 5 for damn tasty noodles for a great price.

*We have visited a few times after that first time, even with company, and the taste held up.

Ramen Setagaya

Noodles in the village. Listed as a favorite ramen shop of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

What We Had

Chicken gyoza – The gyoza was ok. Could have used more seasoning and TLC.

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I had the R1 Shio Ramen – BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed, scallions, scallop powder & salt taste egg.

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My DH had the R6 Spicy Miso Ramen – BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, corn, miso, salt taste egg, onions, bean sprouts & cabbage.

Chewy, perfect noodles wrapped in rich, luscious broth. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – ramen is the apex comfort food in my book, and the perfect remedy for the world’s ills.

My dish was more delicate than my DH’s, but it was still a great bowl of noodles, especially if you favor delicate taste over flavor bludgeon.

The BBQ pork in both bowls brought a nice smoky depth to the overall product, and is a must-have.

Decor

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You eat at long counters very informally. Lots of Japanese menu items on the wall.

Service

Standard for a busy noodle shop – they tend to leave you alone.

Overall Impressions

The only recommendation qualm we had was that our food came out at vastly different times; my DH was half done with his bowl when the gyoza arrived, which was followed almost immediately by my dish.

We still have to hand the ramen win to Ippudo, if for no better reason than the pork chunks. This is a great shop, and we will definitely be back – but Ippudo has our heart.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for solid food but wonky serve times.

Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles

Fresh noodle house in Chinatown.

What We Had

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I had the House Special Noodle Soup #2 with chicken, shrimp & beef.

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My DH had the Dumpling Noodle Soup with mixed dumplings and noodles.

The noodles (both hand pulled) were spectacular. Silky with a bit of resistance; the perfect noodle texture.

The broth was also fantastic.

Decor

Minimal – a big wooden desk for the server/cashier/hostess to sit behind and small tables wedged into every square inch of the floor.

Service

Perfunctory, but you’re not there to see the waiter; you’re there to stick your face in a bowl of silken delight.

Overall Impressions

This is one of those amazing little hole-in-the-wall joints you hope to find down a twisting side street in Chinatown.

Rating

4.5 out of 5, even though the beef was a mite fatty for my taste, and one of my shrimp was a tad muddy. The noodles are just that good.

Menchanko Tei

Inexpensive ramen joint in midtown.

What We Had

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My DH had the Shoyu Ramen – Nice taste. Not as rich as Ippudo, but not half bad. The noodles had good taste and the broth had something good going on.

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I had the Kurabatu Hakata Ramen – Don’t listen to the Internet; this dish is bland city. Shallow broth, tasteless noodles. Nice pork, though. I barely got a bite in and just couldn’t do it any more. No amount of table sauce or sriracha was saving this dish.

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We split an order of the Gyoza Pork Dumplings – Really porky, great balance and a nice hard sear.

Décor

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Nice; blonde woods, good lighting.

Service

Ok

Overall Impressions

Great prices – alcohol is under $6 a glass, apps are around $3.50 and ramen is $10 on average.

Rating

2.75 for great price but hit or miss dishes.

Kelley and Peng

Vietnamese / noodle-focused Asian spot in SoHo.

What We Had

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I had the Vietnamese Noodles – Crispy egg noodles with shrimp and vegetables in a soy-based broth. This dish was satisfying and hit the spot on a hot afternoon of wandering.

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My DH had the Pho Bac – Fragrant Vietnamese soup with beef, rice noodles and basil. The pho was good too. Not stellar, but certainly did the trick.

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We also couldn’t resist an order of the Pork and Chive Dumplings, which were fantastic. Well seasoned, nicely fried, great sauce.

Décor

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Really well curated and visually arresting decor with floods of natural light producing almost an old photograph feel.

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Service

Order at the counter and they bring it to you.

Overall Impressions

A nice little place to stop down a side street in SoHo. Cash only, so be mindful of that.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for solid food in a really cool setting.

Great NY Noodle Town

Little hole-in-the-wall noodle joint in Chinatown.

What We Had

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My DH had the Roast Pork and Wonton Noodles Soup – This soup had some of the best Chinese-style pork either of us have yet eaten. The wontons were good, but the pork was the real star here.

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I had the Roast Duck and Noodles In Soup – The duck tasted great, but be forewarned that the meat is cleaver-chopped and includes bone fragments. Eat with caution.

Both bowls had deeply flavored broth (his had a fish base; mine had duck base), and the noodles were fresh and expertly prepared.

Décor

Nothing fancy, mostly white walls with menu items and mirror.

Service

About what one would expect. Perfunctory. Stink eye-free, even though we were the only ’round eye’ table in the joint for much of our meal (a good sign, to be sure).

Overall Impressions

This is a great place to grab a really cheap, good bite any time of day and into the wee hours of the morning. Be prepared; the restaurant accepts cash only.

Rating

4 out of 5 for great pork & comforting noodles.

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Ippudo

Ramen hot spot near NYU

What We Had

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I had the Kasane Black – Authentic Kasane Tonkotsu (pork) noodles topped w pork loin chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, red pickled ginger, naruto, scallions & fragrant black garlic oil. I added Nitamago (seasoned salt boiled egg). This dish was fabulous. The taste was delicate, deep, and robust all at the same time. I ate every bit, drank all the broth, and was sad I had no more room for Kae-dama (a second helping of noodles). My egg was a nice touch, and no added spice was needed – the black garlic was too interesting a flavor to risk drowning it. Get anything on the menu with the sesame kikurage mushrooms – they are lovely little flavor bombs.

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My DH had the Miso Ramen –
Soy bean paste flavored noodles in the original “Tonkotsu” (pork) based soup with pork chashu, cabbage, menma, ginger, and scallions. He also added Nitamago (seasoned salt boiled egg) and Bakudan (Ippudo original spicy paste). This dish was also fabulous. Rich, deep, complex & wholly satisfying. The spice was a nice addition here – that paste is really a standout in the world of spice additions.

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We split the Hirata Buns (pork) – Steamed buns with pork & spicy mayo bun sauce. A great way to start the meal, but Momofuku’s are just a bit better.

Overall our meal was near perfect – not a note missed or a taste out of whack. Words are falling short when describing just how good the broth here is. Pure comfort – rich, deeply complex, delicately balanced – a balm for the soul. For the expertise used in preparing your food, the price is beyond fair. ($15-$16 per bowl + $2-$4 per addition). Sure, you can get a decent bowl of noodles for half the price, but this is something better. Whole. Other. Level.

Décor

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Ippudo has a great vibe – young, boisterous, open – and the Beasties (among other great bands) in the sound system.

Seating is at large communal tables – not the place to bring small children or strollers. The decor is modern and minimal, yet layered and very interesting.

Service

Friendly & efficient.

Overall Impressions

This place is hands down better than Republic, and might even edge out Momofuku Noodle Bar in the pantheon of noodle houses. (ok, it does, but just by a little)

If we lived next door, my DH would happily let it make us fat (and I don’t think I could put up much of a fight).

Rating

DH is calling this his best NY meal ever. This includes WD~50, local & seasonal up the wazoo, celebrity chef vehicles, Beard Award winners and noodles from culinary luminaries.

I would say for noodles it is the best – I just can’t put it over WD~50s Eggs Benedict — I dreamed of that dish for over a year and half and planned a vacation around it before we lived here (it lived up to expectations and then some — unfortunately, WD~50 has overhauled their menu since — understandable, but sad).

Ippudo can’t help but be a 5 out of 5. Run, don’t walk. Wait in a ridiculously long line if you have to (and you might – lines are often crazy, though we lucked into a 15 minute wait on a Sunday late afternoon)- it is worth it.