Another ramen date with Angela! This time we went to Hide-Chan Ramen in Midtown East. I had to ride the A and E trains to get to the East side. Don’t usually visit the East side, and when I do, I tend to find it somewhat confusing.
The entryway: the narrow stairwell leads to a pretty spacious restaurant on the second floor. At least you can wait on the stairs if there’s a line. The wait was only 15 minutes. Much better than the 2+ hours outdoor wait at Totto Ramen! I didn’t get any photos of the interior space. It’s really quite lovely. Nice warm, yellow glow everywhere. Very spacious by NYC standards, and I love that they use wooden screens to divide the space into smaller rooms. Gives some of the tables a lot more privacy. We, unfortunately, didn’t get a table with screens.
Pretty good selection on the menu. Everyone comes here for the ramen, but there was also a non-ramen entree on the menu. You also get to choose the firmness of your noodles (very firm, firm, medium, soft) and the richness of your broth (rich, medium, light). Also like that you can order a small draft ($3.50). If you’re having a huge bowl of ramen, you really don’t want that much beer. Appetizer #1: Pork Buns ($6). Pork, lettuce, sweet mayo in a steamed bun. Appetizer #2: Japanese fried chicken. Popcorn chicken, served piping hot. So good with a little bit of lemon juice! I normally don’t like dark meat very much, but this was delightful. Angela’s Zen-nose Deluxe Ramen ($15). Comes with a lot of extra toppings and noodles. The bowl might have also been bigger. Wow, oh, wow. Now for the main attraction. I had read about the Hakata Kuro Ramen ($9.75) online and was very excited to try it. Comes with char siu pork, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, and nori seaweed in the pork broth with black garlic oil. The blackness of the broth is a bit frightening (I mean, look at it!!!), but the flavor isn’t too intense. Added a light smokiness to the broth, without being overwhelming like the smoked chicken at Momofuku. The char siu pork hit the spot. Obviously, it’s very fatty, but I wasn’t horrified by the fattiness (like I was at Totto). It just melts in your mouth. Porky, porky goodness. For my ramen, I got medium noodles and medium broth. I usually prefer noodles a little bit softer than al dente, so this perfect. As for the broth… well, after my first taste, I looked up at Angela and said “Umm, didn’t we both order medium broth?” Both of our bowls had a thick shiny layer on top, and my broth tasted pretty rich to me! That didn’t stop me from drinking it, but I will go for light broth next time. (I drank a lot of water when I got home.)