New York: Momofuku Noodle Bar

I love noodles, and since the weather recently decided to take winter seriously, I’ve had a serious ramen craving.  A giant bowl of chewy noodles and luscious fatty steaming broth just sounds perfect when the chill’s hitting.  So when entropyenator finally booked time at a Manhattan cat cafe, I decided it was time to get the ramen on as well.

We needed to stick around the Lower East Side in order to be sure we didn’t miss our booking at Meow Parlour, and it turns out neither entropyenator nor our cousin (who we were meeting) had ever been to Momofuku Noodle Bar.  I have, and I’ll be honest, it’s not one of my top spots for ramen, but it has consistent quality and more importantly, it’s a big enough joint that I knew we wouldn’t have to wait long, given that most great ramen places are holes in the wall with a no-reservations policy.

Besides, Momofuku outposts always have interesting stuff going on elsewhere in the menu.  This time, the hit was the pork buns.  Fluffy bao stuffed with ham, and topped with a perfectly-cooked fried egg that oozed warm yolk when you bit into it, just amazing.  The other side order, smoked chicken wings, were immensely tender and juicy–the correct measure is if that picky skinny curved bone of the paired bones in the non-drummette falls out while you eat–but flavor-wise, nothing remarkable.

Ramen-wise, again, noodles were impeccably cooked, as usual, but I always find the broth a bit lacking in depth and complexity compared to other ramen places, and it was the same here.  I went off my usual track and had their spicy miso ramen, which came with juicy, savory chicken shreds.  The broth wasn’t remotely spicy, but it definitely had a nice fruity chili-ish flavor, like that first second right after you put chili paste in your mouth, and before the burn kicks in.  I actually think I prefer it to the Momofuku ramen, which is their take on tonkotsu style and which I find boringly light, since honestly, if you want a massive pork hit, you don’t go here.  Entropyenator had the veggie-tuned hozon ramen, which for some reason seemed like it was portioned much smaller, in a visibly shorter and narrower bowl.

Entropyenator: I don’t remember what Momofuku called my noodles, but they were a different type than Justtwomorethings or our cousin’s bowls. The soup was more a creamy, spiced (almost curry-ish?) broth, with crunchy fried lentils and toast chips to provide texture contrast to the noodles. I probably would try more the traditional noodles next time, but this wasn’t bad for lunch and good on a gloomy day.

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