New ramen joints

As the winter chill sets in, TONY checks out the latest crop of ramen-ya to bring their steaming, noodle-packed soups to NYC.

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  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Ramen Misoya

    Shiro ramen with char siu at Ramen Misoya

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Ramen Misoya

    Kome ramen at Ramen Misoya

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Ramen Misoya

    Kome ramen with kimchi at Ramen Misoya

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Ramen Misoya

    Hijiki at Ramen Misoya

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Ramen Misoya

    Ramen Misoya

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Ramen Misoya

Shiro ramen with char siu at Ramen Misoya

Ramen Misoya
The East Village has emerged as the heart of NYC's ramen explosion—the main stomping grounds for the noodle-slurping cognoscenti. Yet even with stiff competition looming from all angles, this Japanese import—the second U.S. location of a chain that started in Chiba, just outside of Tokyo—holds its own. If nearby Ippudo has built its reputation as the promised land of pork, Misoya is even more single-minded in its focus on miso. Blown-up photos depicting giant wooden vats of the stuff adorn the stripped-down space, and the menu showcases three renowned regional styles of the fermented soybean paste, used to flavor a house-made stock built with chicken and pork bones, ginger, kelp, vegetables and garlic. You can order with your eyes from the illustrated bill of fare, but a bit of background helps: Kome, a red miso popular in Hokkaido, is the most familiar in its pleasing nuttiness, though a bit too one-note to maintain interest to the final slurp; shiro, a Kyoto standard, is sweeter and lighter in color—it produces a more commanding broth. The final variety, mame, hails from Nagoya and is the sweetest and most pungent of the three.

Each of the satisfying soups comes with the same chubby, wavy yellow noodles—custom-made at a California factory to stand up to the rich broths—and tasty ground pork simmered overnight in miso. It's in the other toppings that Misoya shows its limitations. Each miso style has its own accoutrement, such as fried shrimp to match the mame's heft and corn to add sweetness to the kome. But many of these toppings—soggy potato wedges, bland kimchi, fried tofu—do little to elevate the bowl. Thick discs of pork char siu, meanwhile, are generous and meaty. But they lack the unctuous fat and caramelized glaze of the best versions: On one visit they arrived charred and dried out around the edges.

Still, miso is one of the most elaborate aspects of Japanese ramen, and that alone makes Misoya a worthy place to explore some of its regional variants. Add on gyoza—made fresh each morning and heavy on the chive—and an earthy mound of dashi- and soy-sauce-soaked hijiki seaweed to build a hearty, nourishing meal.

Vitals


129 Second Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 7th St (212-677-4825)

Average bowl of ramen: $10

Eat this: Kome ramen, shiro ramen, hijiki


Ramen Misoya | Chuko | Tabata Noodle Restaurant

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1 comments
racist
racist

get over yourself. do you think only japanese people can make ramen? your stupidity is only outshined by your ignorance.