Ramen Lab

www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

The snow started to come down early that Friday. I had plans to meet up with some friends, and decided it was the perfect opening for me to try Ramen Lab in the NOLITA section of Manhattan. Later we’d all be under the influence, so what better dish than Ramen to fortify the stomach. An acquaintance of mine, when I lived in Korea, always used to bemoan the lack of Ramen joints there. Having lived in Japan for many years, he would always say that at the end of a long night of drinking, it was Ramen that would sort you out. That made sense, In New York and much of the North East its pizza, but tonight it would be Ramen, albeit in reverse.

Ramen Lab is a peculiar place, not so much restaurant as it is an advertisement for the owners. Sun Noodle Corp. of New Jersery owns this spot, and it wasn’t until after I heard about the restaurants concept, that I learned noodle peddlers were the proprietors. You’ll have to get over it ( like companies adorning your favorite soccer teams jersey) I did, was easy.

The 12 seat space, stools huddled around the kitchen, invites a new chef to prepare a new ramen each month. A truly great concept in my opinion. While NYC has its fair share of Ramen joints, why not have more, 12 more a year to be precise. Expect long waits when you come hear, as space and time are factors. I got there right when it opened more or less, and still had to wait about 35 minutes. Put your name in and order prior to being seated. Typically on the menu is one vegetarian option, and one carnivorous choice. I went with that nights American Wagyu Miso ramen. The dish that night was brought to the table by Akira Hiratsuka and his team at Brooklyn Ramen.

The broth was decadent, a visible pot piled with clean white bones proof that it took some time to cultivate the rich flavor. Also present was the clear taste of ginger. The beef was tender as were the noodles, and they really anchored the dish. Scallion and corn brought color to the bowl, and the soft boiled egg a classic ramen touch. The menu offers a lot of a la carte options, each costing a dollar or two. This is typical in many of the ramen restaurants in New York these days, and not something I’m particularly fond of. It’s my opinion that an egg should come standard with your soup. They also charged extra if you wanted your broth spicy, so hot oil was additional, which I feel should definitely be a free option. Beyond this digression, flavor is front and center, and paired with an Orion Ramen Lab is a great start, or end, to any frigid New York Night.

Shuya Cafe

www.digg.com www.overviewtours.com http://www.google.com http://www.google.com www.overviewtours.com

It’s been a long week when I meet my friend to set out for Friday dinner. It’s been a long week, five days forty hours long week, in an unsatisfying, thankless, soul draining hourly wage length. But here we are on the edge of the weekend, and the feelings held hours earlier are starting to dissipate.

The plan is to get ramen, first choice on our list is Mu Ramen, a top notch destination with communal seating and not enough chairs. Against my protestations, the Infinity coupe moves closer and closer, and then we’re at the front door. One hour wait, nah, not tonight… not the contraception, but plan b none the less…

Plan b is a new ramen place that just opened up on Broadway just a few blocks above Steinway. This is where we found ourselves through the front door into the warm atmosphere at Shuya Cafe. Surprisingly, and to a bit of a chagrin, another ramen place that embraces communal seating. We are seated next to a couple, and truthfully it does seem a bit to close. Close enough where we have to decide if we should introduce ourselves. We half say hello, shit I’m hungry, at this point its close to nine. Glancing over the menu at the ramen my friend tenses up as he learns that all the items have fish stock in them. He’s allergic to change, and trying new things. He’s about to leave, I tell him that I’ll be staying and that he should take a look at the end of the list. Mazemen, a noodle dish, made with same noodles, without soup stock.

We both decide on the Mazemen, as well as the pork bun app. The dishes come out in no time, the food is deeply satisfying, the weeks woes completely dissolve.