I recently had to visit the Consulate of Singapore in NYC to pick up my new passport. It was slightly out of the way, but I turned it into a fun solo excursion by stopping for a yummy ramen lunch and visiting the Moma store to ooh and ahh over pretty things.
Hinata Ramen has been on my to try list for a long time. I first learned about this place when I met up with the Tabelog crew for dinner. Hinata serves the same noodles as Ippudo, which seems like a huge draw for ramen lovers who know their stuff. Also, Hinata was one of the first ramen places with a vegan option. I’d say that was a huge deal about a year ago when even just vegetarian ramen options were hard to come by.
Hinata was packed at lunchtime! Lots of people came by for a quick lunch alone or with coworkers. I grabbed the corner seat at the bar, which was great for dining solo and watching the action in the kitchen. By the way, this place is cash only. Take note!
For lunch, Hinata offers add on sides to go with any bowl of ramen. I got the vegetable gyoza ($5.50) to start. Very exciting as I haven’t had gyoza with ramen in a long time! Most places only offer pork gyoza, and I said bye bye to that when I went vegetarian.
I didn’t ask the server, but my guess is the vegetable gyoza is just vegetarian, not vegan. The filling was very tasty and colorful. The wrappers was delicate and tender, but, unfortunately, fell apart as soon as I tried to separate each piece. Based on the taste alone though, I would order the vegetable gyoza again.
All of Hinata’s dishes are 100% MSG free. Hurray, no MSG attack after indulging in a big bowl of noodles! I ordered their vegan Yasai Ramen ($14.50). The base toppings include grilled corn, nori, kikurage mushrooms, greens, and scallions. You can add on a number of other toppings, but I kept it simple with just the addition of agedashi tofu.
Only a few places let you choose your noodles, and I love that Hinata offers an egg-free vegan wavy noodle. Hello, beautiful noodles! You don’t need eggs to make perfectly bouncy, wavy noodles. I doubt most people would be able to tell the difference.
The tofu was nicely done, and I like that the kernels of corn are still attached. You can pick it up for a big bite or break up it up so there’s corn throughout. The broth was refined with a delicate flavor. Very satisfying, and I had no trouble finishing my ramen!