I almost hit another road block when I went to get the Number 7 dish on TONY’s Top 10 list. I have been to Ramen Setagaya on First Avenue a number of times and enjoyed their cheap, warming ramen. I know a few other locations have opened up around the Village, but I’ve remained true to this original location.

I hadn’t been there in a few months and when we approached it on a Friday night, I noticed something different. It had a new name: Ramen Kuidouraku. Uh oh! Should we head to one of those other locations? I froze a bit, but once I regained my composure, I checked out their menu and inquired within.

Well, it seems like these owners pulled away from the company and everything is the same here (except the name) including the cheesy Japanese game shows on the television, the open bar area looking out onto the street, and the menu.

The shio tama was the dish we needed to order and there it was under the appetizers and still at the unbeatable price of $1.50.

Shio tama translates into “salt egg” and that’s basically just what you get. It’s deceptively simple that it almost seems uninteresting, but that’s what makes it so good. The egg is not quite hard boiled, which gives it that semi-firm rich yolk texture. The white is creamy and firm. But what makes this so interesting is the subtle, but deep flavors of salt and sake that are infused into the egg. Each bite is clean and delicate.

And while I can’t quite imagine ordering one to go and eating it as you walk up First Avenue (as you would a slice of pizza), it’s a simple, healthy snack.

Would Ramen Setagaya’s Shio Tama make my Top 100 of the year? It might be a little too subtle to notice, but the flavors and simplicity are exciting so it gets an 8 out of 10.

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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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