Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ramen Setagaya Is Pretty Good

... though I still like Minca Ramen Factory better. New York magazine waxed poetic about this place, so I took my li'l cousin to the East Village eatery to try it out.

Turns out Ramen Setagaya's oyako-don, "crumbly pieces of minced chicken like the kind you’d find in a Thai larb, topped with a soft-cooked egg and served over rice (" was the dish that reigned supreme. A must-try for sure. (I'd go back just for this bowl of tasty goodness. Sorry for the blur. The damn thing just wouldn't sit still. Ha ha.)

There's my cousin, YJ ... she suffered through my photo-snapping with a smile. And she's the one who first sleuthed out that the folks working Ramen Setagaya weren't Japanese; YJ spent her tween to teen years in Seoul, so she could tell by their accents that even though they welcomed us in Japanese, they were really Korean. Indeed, moments later, I overheard the girls serving us gabbing in our parents' native tongue.

Could that be why the pork ramen wasn't—in our opinion—the best we'd ever had? I mean, according to NY mag, the noodles are cooked against a timer that has them "perfectly al dente." Yes, they were al dente, but the broth, though lovely, wasn't as lip-smackingly rich and briny as I'd hoped it would be (Minca's is).

Still, it's a nice addition to the neighborhood. I mean, who can say no to slurping up a big, heart-warming bowl of charsu ramen on a blustery cold night? Not me.

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