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ramen nyc

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Takashi: Late Night “Secret” Ramen Soothes the Soul

As noted in NY Mag’s article on late night ramen joints, Yakiniku Takashi has joined the list of Japanese restaurants that provide a different menu into the wee hours of the night. The seating is only available on Fridays and Saturdays on a reservation basis only. You can email them (ramen@takashinyc.com) to ensure a spot for maximum of 4 people. It wasn’t too difficult to score seats (surprisingly). After enduring several hours of hunger pains, I arrived at Yakiniku Takashi hungry and ready to pounce on my ramen.

They only have one type – the beef broth based ramen served with scallions, seaweed, beef belly and beef intestine (spicy or not). The glean on top is the oil, and that’s when you know you’re about to taste something hearty. The thin noodles were cooked just right, al dente, and soaked in the velvety broth. Other ingredients and seasonings made the broth come alive: The crispy beef intestine provided additional texture with each bite. Scallions helped cut the fattiness of the ramen while the seaweed provided the extra layer of umami flavor amongst the pork belly and beef.

All in all, I would go back especially considering this tough cold winter. How many below freezing nights and snow storms can we really endure? It definitely warms the body full of fatty flavorful goodness, and assures you that you’ll get through the winter just fine.

Yakiniku Takashi
456 Hudson Street (near Barrow St.)
New York NY 10014
(212) 414-2929

 

 

dinner/ Japanese/ Molecular Gastronomy/ nyc

Yuji Ramen: Memorable Experimental Ramen

Over the past few months I’ve read a lot about Yuji ramen and its omakase offering with only 6 seats at the Whole Foods Bowery counter. I did my best to get tickets; I signed up for their friends and family listserve, clicked numerous times on Kitchin for tickets as servers were crashing and managed to score the entire bar for me and my friends. SUCCESS!

Yuji Haraguhi stresses that his seafood, which is incorporated in each course, is all sourced locally with the help of Whole Foods, and tries to reuse ingredient leftovers as much as possible. His three mazemens, a ramen with no broth, are normally served at Whole Foods so you can get them whenever you like (oh yes, I’ve been back a few times already). His omakase is comprised of seven courses for $71, each course incorporate a form of noodle and toppings. For me, what made the dining experience was hearing Yuji explain how he put dishes together, his inspirations that stemmed from investigation and novel takes on food.

Now, onto the delicious food!

We started off with pickled vegetables – califlower, radish, cucumbers, etc. Good way to start the omakase.

The next dish had several components: conch that was confit in ramen fat, pureed roasted corn, caramelized onions, toasted soba malligaliati ramen, shungiku and basil flower. It was a delicate balance of flavors, slightly sweet and savory at the same time.

Squid was the “noodle” in this dish, served with summer melon, yuzu kosho puree, torched pickled lemon cucmber, togarashi, yuzu and fish sauce. Again all the flavors were balanced and the squid was well cooked.

Their salmon and cheese mazemen – house cured salmon, camembert cream cheese, lemon zest, salmon skin, nori and shiso. It was one of my most famous dishes of the night. The salmon and cheese work so well together, just enough creaminess, “al dente” bite and umami flavor.

This dish was comprised of two parts – fluke tartar with okra, shiso, scallion, miso, ginger, quail egg yolk and a ramen cracker. It was definitely a nice Asian seafood take on the tartar concept.

This chilled mazemen highlighted the soft-shell crab from Maryland, with  crab chips and calendula flower. It was a delectable bite with a good contrasting texture of the chips with the soft noodles.

Pictured on top was the clam broth in gelee form. Within the gelee was ponzu, grated kirby cucumber, stone crop, radish, smoked bacon, borage flower that was later served with hot noodles and melted the gelee into broth (pictured below).

Another famous dish involves using a fresh press. Yuji explained around how ramen broth is essentially a conversion of water, just like coffee. By using a coffee press, you can release flavors into water while straining small particles. He first torched leftover mussel shells and then placed them in broth within a french press so that you can press down and release all the mussel and seafood flavor.

The ramen noodle with mussel broth combined with grey tilefish, scale powder, scallion, nori and mussel meat. Delicious and had umami flavor yet was very light.

Soba Tofu Panna Cotta was a perfect way of ending the meal. The panna cotta was served with wild blueberries,  husk cherries and toasted soba. I loved how the texture of the silky panna cotta was juxtaposed with the crunch of the toasted soba. The fruit gave it a gentle touch of sweet and refreshing flavors.

I would highly recommend going to Yuji Ramen, whether it be for their omakase or their regular menu. Their menu and omakase is affordable and absolutely delicious. I plan on going again in the future since they have a very seasonal menu so if anyone ever wants to go again, let me know!

Yuji Ramen @ Whole Foods Bowery
95 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10002
646-262-1358
facebook.com/YujiRamen

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Hide Chan Ramen: Up to the Hype?

As some of you may notice I love eating noodles. Luckily ramen is all the rage in this city, and I stay a happy soup noodle eater. Recently there was an article in Serious Eats ranking the “Best Ramen in New York City” where I saw the 1st place ranking did NOT go to Ippudo (which got 2nd place), but instead went to Hide (pronounced HEE-DAY) Chan Ramen. Oh yes that meant I had to try it ASAP.

I gathered some friends (props to those who came!) who were interested in eating good ramen, and ventured to Midtown East. We were a large group and unfortunately, Hide Chan Ramen does not take reservations. However, it is substantially larger than Totto Ramen so you can actually sit on tables that will fit more than four. I knew it would be hard to seat us all, considering the number of other people waiting for a table. After numerous attempts to speak to a very Japanese-speaking host / owner, we managed to seat EIGHT altogether!

My choice was quick and definite – I am going to try the Hakata Tonkatsu Ramen ($9.50) – the traditional pork-based broth ramen. The broth was satisfying, not too fatty but had just enough pork flavor to it. The noodles were nicely cooked (“al dente”), and the scallions gave it a refreshing touch.

Of course we also needed to try out pork buns (another huge trend about a year ago) to see how it stacks up against Momokufu, Baohaus, Ippudo, etc. Unfortunately it was more of a let down. It came AFTER we started eating our ramen and had too much mayonnaise. I find that the pork bun didn’t stand out amongst its competitors so I would vote to skip it next time.

So, how did Hide Chan stack up against its competitors? I would say that this is solid ramen joint but I still find that Ippudo has better pork based ramen (Akaru Modern), and Totto Ramen’s chicken based ramen outdoes Hide Chan’s ramens. Of course all are entitled to their opinions, but on my list this place would under Ippudo and Totto Ramen. It is still a place to check out, so if you’re in the area, hopefully you can grab a seat if it’s not completely packed already.

Hide Chan Ramen
248 E 52nd St (Btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10022
(212) 813-1300