Address: 65 4th Ave, New York
When Gan and I first moved to New York, there were hardly any decent ramen places in the city. Minca, Rai Rai Ken and Menkui-Tei were some of the places in the city where we can get pretty good but not excellent ramen, nothing like those we eat in Tokyo. So when Santoka Ramen first opened in Edgewater, NJ, we went totally crazy and drove there almost every weekend to savor their absolutely marvelous bowl of toroniku shio ramen. Now that Hakata Ippudo has opened a branch in NYC, you can bet that it is our new favorite ramen place. The self described “ramen brasserie” offers a variety of ramen such as shiomaru, akamaru, shoyu, miso and tsukemen, but their real specialty is the akamaru shinaji (new taste), diverged from the traditional ramen by adding a dab spicy miso paste and garlic oil. The noodles at Hakata Ippudo is also the best in town – thin but firm, it is totally satisfying! Since it is operating as a brasserie, the restaurant also offers some appetizers such as shabu-shabu salad, buta kakuni and desserts such as green tea crème brulee, but we weren’t very impressed by those dishes. Overall, we really like Hakata Ippudo - so much so that Gan and I went there for the second time in the same week and waited 2 hours to get a table.
Oi Yen: Yay! Many thanks to Sarah for letting me be a guest blogger on Yaokui!
Readers, this blog does not provide enough justice to Sarah+Gan's eating prowess. The mouthwatering pictures below actually represent our second dinner for the night. While waiting for a table at Hakata Ippudo, we had a pre-dinner dinner of fried calamari, condensed milk toast and fried chicken at a nearby Taiwanese eatery. You know, pre-game warm-ups!
My personal favorite-- Akamaru Shimaji. Watch how fast my hands are manuevering those chopsticks! That humble red bowl is apparently the best in town, boasting "triple reduction" pork-bone broth and fresh homemade ramen. My only gripe is that they had one slice of tonkutsu pork in it.
There's a reason why you have to wolf down the noodles fast. The noodles are incredibly delicate-- if you let them sit in the boiling hot soup any longer, you'll end up with a bowlful of ramen-y mush. Also, if you eat any slower, one of your yao-kui mates might just end up stealing your portion. Well, at least I know I will!
Sarah went crazy over this dessert, it must be the influence of her infamous Haagen-Dazs ice-cream. But mmmm, this dish can be summarized as hot, crispy creme brulee with hints of matcha bitterness, alternated with creamy ice cream and a slight berry tartness.
We probably polished the dessert off in less time than it took me to conjure up that sentence!