Vegetarian Miso Ramen
Another weekend, another crazy ramen craving. Instead of hopping over to our favorite spot in Montclair, New Jersey, Ani Ramen, we decided to give a new place in New York City a try. I had heard good things about Ramen Lab so we decided to make the trek downtown. Ramen Lab is located on the Lower East Side on Kenmare Street. It is a 10 seat ramen bar; standing room only! Inside, it really felt like we were in Japan! When we arrived there was a small line, the restaurant was packed and it was about an hour to closing time. We were nervous we had missed the boat!
We were lucky to have visited Ramen Lab when we did because unbeknownst to us, it was Chef Nakamura’s second to last day at the restaurant. Ramen Lab is owned by Sun Noodle, a noodle supplier to restaurants and supermarkets. Sun Noodle recently decided to shift the concept of Ramen Lab into more of a pop-up, or incubator program, which is meant to mentor ramen chefs with restaurants in the works. Starting on May 11th through the beginning of June, Chef Noel Cruz will be serving up some of his ramen in preparation for the opening of his Ichicoro in Tampa, Florida. The people of NYC are his test audience. It is an interesting concept and we are excited to try his take on ramen.
When we arrived we noticed that there were only two different bowls of ramen on the menu, the Shoyu Ramen and the Vegetarian Miso Ramen. We made it to Ramen Lab just as they were about to run out of the Vegetarian Miso Ramen. They scraped together one bowl of the Vegetarian Miso Ramen just for me! The Vegetarian Miso Ramen was topped with XO sauce, which added a nice spiciness to the broth. They had run out of the noodles that were typically served with the Vegetarian Miso Ramen so mine was served with the Shoyu Ramen noodles. It was quite pleased with the thin noodles and I think I would have been a little disappointed with the larger noodles. Additionally, it is served with a slice of butter, as it would be where miso based ramen originated (Hokkaido, Japan). The butter makes the broth extra luscious and thick. It was beautiful. I actually finished the entire bowl which is a rare feat for those who know me well. Big eyes, small stomach.
E really enjoyed the Shoyu Ramen and said it had a great depth of flavor. It had a nice juicy slice of pork on top. He thought it was on the same level as Ippudo’s Ramen. That is a HUGE compliment as it is one of his favorites.
THANK GOD, Chef Nakamura is looking to open his own shop in NYC within the next six to eight months. We can’t wait to eat his ramen again!