Tag Archives: Hide Chan Ramen
Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures.
The only reason Super Bowl Sunday is exciting for me is because all the popular restaurants will be empty and I can get in anywhere I want. I’m not even sure who’s playing the little football game this year.
But I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. So I attended my own Super Bowl, where I pitted two ramen restaurants on 52nd Street against each other. Who needs football when you can watch the Super Bowl… of Ramen!
Once again Time Out New York released their Top 100 Dishes of the year and once again, I’m going to eat my way through every one. And no price point or subway delay will stop me. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.
Ippudo is a Japanese ramen noodle chain that has become hugely popular in this city. Waits for a table at the East Village location usually exceed an hour (a second location will be opening soon in Midtown). The broths are rich, the noodles are springy, and the pork buns are supposedly heavenly.
But this review is not about Ippudo. It’s about Hide Chan Ramen, an unrelated restaurant on East 52nd Street that is a sister eatery to Yakitori Totto and Ramen Totto. But just about every Yelp review and most bloggers compare Hiden Chan to Ippudo . So since I like to be like everybody else, I figured I should at least mention it.
I’ve only been to Ippudo once (I’m not one who likes to wait for food), I remember liking it, and since I’m not a ramen expert (yet), I’ll leave it at that. The reason we came to Hide Chan was not to compare it to the more popular Ippudo, but rather to taste another Time Out list item: the Hakata Kuro Ramen.
This is not the most attractive bowl of noodles as the ramen and all the meat and vegetables are drowned and not visible inside the black sludge-like broth. The darkness comes from may-yu, roasted black garlic oil which has been charred to a deep black. Yet the flavors were much more pleasant than its appearances. The garlic was surprisingly muted as earthy, smoky sesame undertones took precedence. I was happy just slurping on the rich broth, but decided to get my chopsticks involved and dig up some of the other components.
The ultra-thin noodles were well cooked, the pork slices were fatty but full of meat, and the vegetables (scallions, kikurage mushrooms, and nori ) added a crunchy and aromatic quality to the bowl. It was really a full-flavored soup.
I’ve had ramen noodles with a black garlic paste like this before, but it’s usually a mound on one side of the bowl that you need to mix in yourself. Here it was already mixed in and provided a more complex flavored broth and a more dramatic presentation. Is this ramen better than the versions served at Ippudo? I can’t say and to be honest, I don’t really care. For that comparison, you’ll have to weed through the more than 200 mixed Yelp reviews.
Would Hide-Chan Ramen’s Hakata Kuro Ramen make my Top 100 of the Year? It’s an addicting, warming bowl of flavors and textures and even though it’s pitch black broth is slightly scary to look at, an 8 out of 10 proves that looks can be deceiving.
|HIDE CHAN RAMEN|
|248 East 52nd Street (between Third and Second Avenue)