Tabata Noodle, Hell’s Kitchen

This post is way overdue! Sometime in October, Angela and I visited Tabata Ramen for our monthly ramen fix. Not sure what neighborhood this is… it says Hell’s Kitchen on Yelp, but it’s kinda far away from the areas I normally consider Hell’s Kitchen. The Port Authority bus terminal keeps Tabata hidden. You don’t just randomly stumble across this place, you have to seek it out. Not too far from the subway, and the location helps keep the prices reasonable. There are a few classic ramen bowls on the menu, but it seems like the fusion ramen bowls are the most popular items.

Tabata Noodle - Agedashi TofuAppetizer #1: Agedashi Tofu ($5). Lightly fried silken tofu topped with scallion and daikon. Hmm, isn’t agedashi tofu normally deep fried until golden brown? Either way, the light batter was good. I love silken tofu, but why must it be so difficult to pick up and eat?!

Tabata Noodle - Karage PonzuAppetizer #2: Karage Ponzu ($6). Your usual Japanese fried chicken over a bed of red onions and grated radish. Nice and crispy, but a little too greasy for me. The onions and radish were a nice touch though. It helped refresh the palate for more chicken. I brought the leftovers home, and John enjoyed the karage with the onions.

Tabata Noodle - Lava MenRamen #1: Angela looked up Tabata on Yelp and noticed that several people described the Lava Men ($11) as a must try dish. The broth is made of both pork and chicken. The noodles are topped with an egg, bean sprouts, scallions and char shu pork or chicken. I ordered it with the pork because I’m all about porky goodness. On the menu, the Lava Men had not one, but two chili peppers. They mean serious business.

Tabata Noodle - Lava MenThe noodles were on the soft side, which I enjoyed. The char shu pork was mediocre. Loved the big pieces of scallion. The Lava Men is clearly all about that hot and spicy broth. I love spicy food, but this was just too much for me! Even with multiple glasses of water, I just couldn’t handle it. It was so spicy that it was painful, but I just couldn’t get enough. After slowly nibbling at my ramen for a while, I decided to get the Lava Men to go and just order another bowl that I could actually enjoy at the restaurant. I was hungry and desperate for my ramen fix!

Tabata Noodle - Miso RamenRamen #2: Miso Ramen ($10). Miso broth with char shu pork or chicken, cabbages, bean sprouts, carrots and scallions. I was impressed with how quickly this was prepared. Cabbage and carrots are not usual ramen toppings, but they were nice with the miso broth. It was a very light miso broth. Didn’t really wow me, but it’s also possible that my taste buds had been completely numbed by the Lava Men. Honestly, I was just happy to eat without my tongue catching on fire. I wouldn’t order this again though. Miso is one of the classics, and this just didn’t live up to my usual expectations.

P.S. I had the leftover Lava Men for dinner the next day. I added an entire cup of water to the broth, and it was still hellishly spicy! Even John, who is all about spicy food, found it pretty intense. I was worried that the noodles would get all mushy and disgusting after sitting in the broth overnight, but that was not the case at all. Maybe next time I’ll order something that only has one chili pepper…



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