Another ramen place checked off the list: Sapporo Ramen! Central location, reasonable prices, decent variety. First thing I noticed was that 6 of the ramen bowls had revised descriptions. My guess is they decided to increase $$$ as ramen became more popular. “We’d like 2 glasses of plum wine?” “Oh, sorry. We don’t have that anymore.” “Okay, we’ll have Sapporo instead.” “Sure. Are you ready to order your ramen?” “Yes, I’ll have the Mabo Ramen.” “Oh, we’re out of that too.”
First, we’re seated near the kitchen and adjacent to 2 very noisy guys. Annoying, but forgivable since it’s prime dinner hours on a Friday. And now, we pick 2 random items from the menu, and you’re out of both. Not off to a good start, Sapporo. Plus, my expectations weren’t even that high to begin with. Meh.
We ordered the gyoza to share. 6 pieces for $5 (I think). Lightly greasy, but the beer rinsed it all down. The filling tasted okay. I remember having to use more soy sauce than usual. Honestly, I think we were more fascinated by the big box of chopsticks. An entire box of chopsticks for a little 2-person table! The box ended up coming in handy though. I accidentally dropped one of my chopsticks while enjoying my ramen. Oops. Angela and I both ordered the Sapporo Special Ramen ($12). When you’re unsure of what to order, picking the house special is a safe bet. Miso broth (or at least that’s what menupages says) with charshu pork belly, minced pork, scallions, bamboo, corn, sesame seeds. Okay, let’s be honest here… this is not the most attractive bowl of ramen. Google “Sapporo Special Ramen” and all the photos look way better that what we were served. Looks like they used to include more toppings. This bowl sitting in front of me? Looks like it was thrown together really quickly and was left sitting in the kitchen for a long time. Thankfully the broth was still quite warm. The noodles were al dente, extremely al dente, which isn’t my style at all. I liked that this bowl included both charshu and minced pork. The charshu was lightly seasoned and quite meaty (but not tough). I enjoyed this much more than Misoya’s gigantic slabs of meat. The rest of the toppings were okay. This broth was something special. Deliciously gingery with garlic and miso notes. Fairly light in terms of porky goodness. Bonus: I did not feel like I was being attacked by msg after consuming this bowl of ramen.
I’ll probably visit Sapporo again. It’s in Midtown, which makes it very accessible. The broth and pricing also stood out to me. Sapporo falls in the somewhere around the middle of the my NYC ramen rankings. We’ll see… I plan on doing a big 2012 ramen round up at the end of the year. That should be interesting and will probably make me very hungry.