momosan ramen & sake – new york, ny

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I’ve been to Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant in New York, and it really lived up to the hype (and I got to meet the man himself!). Skewers, his restaurant at LAX, on the other hand, was a disappointment. But still, I was excited to hear about Momosan Ramen, his newly opened ramen shop and couldn’t wait to try it on a recent trip to New York.

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The intimate restaurant has mainly bar and communal seating and wasn’t very crowded for lunch. I had read stories of long lines, so maybe I just got lucky. The menu has a small selection of ramen, appetizers, and rice bowls. Oh, and sake, of course.

I started with a kakuni (pork) bun (available at every ramen shop in New York, apparently), which was simply adorned with lettuce and mustard-mayo. It was well executed, but this being a Morimoto restaurant, I wished it was a bit more different than the typical pork bun, like the crispy-fatty pork bun at Bassanova.

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Choosing a ramen was tough. I’m a shoyu fan at heart, and I prefer pork over chicken, but I was intrigued by the tokyo chicken ramen…unusual in the tonkotsu ramen world that we seem to live in. Finally, I decided to order the tokyo chicken ramen with a side of chashu. Here’s to compromise!

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The tokyo chicken, a shoyu-based ramen, comes with steamed chicken, an aji-tama (egg), menma, seared garlic chive, kikurage, a toasted piece of nori nori. The soup tastes like a mild and deliciously smoky chicken soup. And when I say “chicken soup”, I don’t mean some bowl of chicken soup you get out of a can. This was “essence of chicken”, very pure, very good. The chewy noodles were great at absorbing the chicken-ness of the soup. The menma tasted very fresh, and the egg was also very good…very tender, slightly sweet, with just a hint of mustard.

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The star of the ramen were the meats. The chicken was incredibly tender like I’ve never had. And the chashu…oh, the chashu! Thin, fatty, and almost jello-like with its melt-in-your-mouth texture. It was quite an experience.

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There are a lot of ramen choices in New York, but Momosan stands out for being something different. I would love to ship a crate of its chicken and chashu home. But I guess I’ll have to settle for planning more trips to New York.

Momosan Ramen & Sake
342 Lexington Ave
New York, New York 10016
Tel: 646-201-5529

Lunch: Mon – Sat: 11.30am to 3pm, 5pm to 11pm
Sun: 4pm to 10pm