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THE BEST: Ramen in NYC


Laksa
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I have to disagree about Momofuku. I was dissapointed with the Ramen there. Namely, the texture is soft (it should be more al dente) and, face it... real egg noodles should have a yellow color. These noodles are white and the bowl/ingedient presentation is totally unbalanced. I was much more satisfied with Minca six months ago before it slipped. Rai-Rai Ken is somewhat better than Momofuku, although not by a substantial margin. Momofuku is more of a general noodle soup bar than a serious Japanese Ramen joint.

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Had dinner at Minca (first time for me) this past weekend with a friend.

mascarpone, Minca's slipped? It wasn't detectable to me, but then I hadn't had the benefit of prior experience. My friend declared Minca a step above Rai Rai Ken.

I had the Char Siu ramen, can't remember what my friend had. I definitely want to try the stewed pork belly once next time. Radish salad was kind of "ehhh", should have gotten their gyoza.

Ah well, next time. I love that their broth has a nice mouthfeel.

Soba

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I have to disagree about Momofuku. I was dissapointed with the Ramen there. Namely, the texture is soft (it should be more al dente) and, face it... real egg noodles should have a yellow color. These noodles are white and the bowl/ingedient presentation is totally unbalanced. I was much more satisfied with Minca six months ago before it slipped. Rai-Rai Ken is somewhat better than Momofuku, although not by a substantial margin. Momofuku is more of a general noodle soup bar than a serious Japanese Ramen joint.

i'm not sure Momofuku is trying to be a serious ramen joint. it seemed pretty clear to me they're aiming for a hybrid option, though it can be debated whether they're accomplishing it. i do have to agree their noodles need some work; they lack a certain springiness and bite until they've been steeping in the broth for 20-30 minutes, which seems counterintuitive, but yep, they actually seem to firm up with time. had no issues with the presentation, though the poached egg wasn't quite working for me. (disclaimer: i had the pork neck ramen, not their basic version.) they also score points with the pork bun and their take on tsukemono.

curious: what are your issues with Rai Rai Ken? they appeared to have nailed the noodle texture, and the broth managed to accomplish a certain richness and mouthfeel that otherwise requires glutamates. (i'm assuming they don't use glutamates, given the many natural disclaimers.)

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I have to agree with Mascarpone about Minca. I made the second visit to Minca a few month ago, and i was greatly disappointed by their noodle. The first time i was there during summer, the noodle was good -- al dente and nice texture. But, at my second visit, the noodle was so not good. I don't know what was wrong with the noodle, but the noodle seemed to loose the consistence. Broth, however, was still good when i visited the second time.

Rai Rai Ken is okay, but I am not too crazy about their noodle. The noodle does not have great al dente texture. Everyone has his/her favorite when it comes to the type of noodle he/her favors. Rai Rai Ken's noodle is not for me, but many people seem to enjoy and like it very much.

Momofuku's Ramen is not Ramen. It's noodle in soup.

Check out the latest meal!

Itadakimasu

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I have to agree with Mascarpone about Minca.  I made the second visit to Minca a few month ago, and i was greatly disappointed by their noodle.  The first time i was there during summer, the noodle was good -- al dente and nice texture.  But, at my second visit, the noodle was so not good.  I don't know what was wrong with the noodle, but the noodle seemed to loose the consistence.  Broth, however, was still good when i visited the second time. 

Rai Rai Ken is okay, but I am not too crazy about their noodle.  The noodle does not have great al dente texture.  Everyone has his/her favorite when it comes to the type of noodle he/her favors.  Rai Rai Ken's noodle is not for me, but many people seem to enjoy and like it very much. 

Momofuku's Ramen is not Ramen.  It's noodle in soup.

I could not have said it better myself.

Rai Rai Ken got a thumbs down because mainly because of the noodle texture issue. Also, although off the subject, the qyoza were terribly greasy and were falling apart.

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  • 3 months later...

I had the opportunity to go to Men Kui Tei @ 60 West 56th Street (212-757-1642) and found that the Shoyu, Kyushu-style, and Miso Ramen to be the best overall Lamen so far in New York. An interesting feature there is you can request the texture of the noodles when you order like you specify a steak order (well, medium or rare; but in this case hard, medium, or soft noodle). I ordered hard and the bowl was in front of me within a minute.

And the gyoza are outstanding! :wub:

A beer, gyoza, and Miso Lamen cost around $17.

There is also a branch of Men Kui Tei in the East Villiage @ 63 Cooper Square (212) 228-4125, however, I have not been there.

I also went to Aji-sen in china town. It was not good at all. :sad:

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When I'm in the East Village, I go for the seafood-based shio ramen at Rai Rai Ken. Usually the ramen texture is "springy" and very good. I've only had good gyoza experiences there. Give me a bowl of shio and a bottle of Sapporo and I'm in heaven. I also enjoy the atmosphere of the 15-seat counter digs -- although it's not a good idea to go with more than one other person and you may want to leave the clastrophobes at home...

When I'm in midtown, I go for Menchanko Tei's dish of the same name. The noodles are superb and while I enjoy the original, there are 10 other variations to choose from as well as hakata and kikuzo ramen and a variety of appetizers to choose from. The digs are far more spacious than Rai Rai Ken's which is a plus when feeling social.

J.

Edited by Josh (log)

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." -- Mark Twain

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can anyone who has been to both the 55th st and 45th st Menchanko Tei establishments offer a comparison. I have only been to the one on 55th street and just realized there was one on 45th st as well. I keep telling myself that I will try something other than the Hakata Ramen, but just can't seem to bring myself to ask for anything else.

The last time I went to the one on 55th st I had a Sapporo beer with my order, what a great combination!!! I have been trying to find Sapporo near where I live since, without much luck.

Cheers,

HC

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  • 1 month later...

I got some Tonkotsu Ramen at that place last night, which is a branch of Menkui Tei. I found the broth a bit salty (though undoubtedly to a Japanese taste), but in general the soup was pleasant. The noodles were just a bit al dente (very nice texture to my taste), and all the other ingredients were nice. I particularly enjoyed the occasional bits of pickled ginger and flavorful mushrooms (I'm not sure what kind). And they serve up a big bowl for only $7.50. I'll be back, and I also got a takeout/delivery menu. Open Sun-Thur noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon to 2 A.M. Cash only. There is a separate section of just 2-tops facing the plateglass windows onto the street, and that's where I was seated. I didn't see what the section in the back looks like.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 3 months later...

Is there any ramen on the UES? I'm at 86th and Lex today and would love a bowl...

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Can anyone who has been to both the 55th st and 45th st Menchanko Tei establishments offer a comparison. I have only been to the one on 55th street and just realized there was one on 45th st as well. I keep telling myself that I will try something other than the Hakata Ramen, but just can't seem to bring myself to ask for anything else.

The last time I went to the one on 55th st I had a Sapporo beer with my order, what a great combination!!! I have been trying to find Sapporo near where I live since, without much luck.

Cheers,

HC

I've been to both. The 45th street location is a little more run down looking and sparse than the 55th street one. I think the 55th location is a little better in both atmosphere and quality of the noodle soups, although the 45th menu and food is pretty much the same stuff.

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A new restaurant opened recently, SABURI, at Lexington between 30th and 31st (168 Lexington Av), right next to Mishima. They are specializing in CHUKA, which is basically Japanese versions of many popular Chinese dishes, using Japanese ingredients, less oil and more flavor. The chef, Sai-san, is quite serious about bringing authentic Chuka to NY. He is Chinese but lived in Japan for a decade, including being mentored by the winning Chuka chef on IRON CHEF. As ramen is actually a Chinese dish brought to Japan, and noodles are the highlight of their restaurant, I highly suggest you give them a try. Their Hiyashi Chuka is great, among their other noodle dishes, and they have Sapporo on tap! :biggrin:

Edited by raji (log)
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More flavor how? What is added?

Well you'd have to go ask Sai, but in general I'd say, Japanese-style chinese forgoes the MSG (ajinomoto) and stresses using more fresh seasonings and ingredients as well as fresher preparation of the components like noodles, soup, the pork slices that go into a chyashuu ramen, etc. Another representative example is his ebi-chili, which makes up for the lack of heaviness you'd normally get from the usual amount of oil you get with something deep-fried, with a very delicious and spicy sauce and fresh vegetables...

Edited by raji (log)
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I ended up at Saburi last night - his Mabodofu is sublime, as was the chyashuu he cooked up. Also served a chinese-style omelette which I totally forgot the name of -

By the way, the word on the street with Japanese nationals is that Rockmeisha (ろくめいしゃ)takes the cake for best Ramen (without having to go out to the Mitsuwa)...

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Saburi seems to be too new to be on menupages.com or citysearch.com. Could you please tell us what prices are like there?

it's pretty reasonable.. meal for under $20 without a problem.. two can probably eat for little more than that.. they've got some nice lunch boxes as well, although every time i consider going i wind up next door at mishima..

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Sapporo on West 49th between 6th and 7th Avenues is a nice default place for ramen in midtown. It's not as good (imo) as Minca or even Zen Sushi (an izakaya/sushi bar on St. Mark's); it's just ok, though their gyoza is slightly above average.

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Saburi seems to be too new to be on menupages.com or citysearch.com. Could you please tell us what prices are like there?

Pretty cheap for Japanese food - Their ramen is only $8 or $9, and they have a page of daily specials that are almost all under $10. Last night I tried both their shoyutonkotsu ramen and their shio ramen - both were great, Tokyo-quality, but the shio ramen won out to me. Noodles were perfect and broth was very tasty, accented by very flavorful fresh vegetables, both Japanese and Chinese.

I haven't tried Minca yet, but I've heard it looks good, doesn't taste good - I'll have to report back on RockMeisha, but Saburi is very very strong if not the best in my mind. I don't crave ramen much here, the same way I don't crave a nice slice of pizza when I'm Tokyo, because I know I'm just not going to get it, so I subconciously write off the possibility...Actually this thread and the weather got me in the mood...

Anyway, here's some pics from when I first went there - a Chinese appetizer speciality, a beef entree, and annin dofu

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Edited by raji (log)
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Sapporo on West 49th between 6th and 7th Avenues is a nice default place for ramen in midtown.  It's not as good (imo) as Minca or even Zen Sushi (an izakaya/sushi bar on St. Mark's); it's just ok, though their gyoza is slightly above average.

Hmm I can only stomach the donburi and a few other things at Sapporo, I tried the Ramen there once and won't again... If in midtown, Chikubu does Ramen on Fridays, I think Riki might also... and of course Menchankotei and I thought rairaiken is up there too...

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I love Sapporo. I used to work in the Time Life building and it was our defacto lunch place. I tended to only get the ramens during the colder months and stuck with their excellent Katsu Curry which is definately a belly filler.

Rai Rai Ken is awesome as well. The trick is going there during slightly off hours otherwise you will be waiting for a seat for some time. Their Gyoza's are amazing too.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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  • 1 month later...

I went to RaiRaiKen for the first time in 2 years tonight. I had a totally serviceable shiyoramen. Chef and waitress were japanese, only kitchen staff Spanish. This is unfortunately an issue at other places...

Anyway, I've had worse ramen in Tokyo, so that means this place is still really good. I still urge everyone to try Saburi tho...

I would have taken pictures but usually I don't want to look like a tourist while I eat you know??

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