Momofuku Noodle Bar

By grace.g.yang ยท November 20, 2007
Under: Dinner,East Village,Japanese

I’m slowly become a ramen junkie; in college, it was more of a food I ate because I couldn’t afford anything else (and it usually came out of a plastic bag), but now, I’m lucky enough to have a job that pays for ramen out of a glass bowl (with fresh meat, too!). There are a lot of restaurants in NY that specialize in serving the addictive soup and noodle combo, primarily in the East Village. I’ve gone to a couple places (Oh Taisho, Kenka, and Ramen Setagaya) but none of the places really hit the spot. Momofuku moved into a larger space to accommodate ramen-junkies like myself so I decided to give it a try (I went to their other location last year but didn’t order ramen).

Chris, Ariel, and I arrived around 8PM, put our names down, and prepared to wait 45 minutes for a cramped table (the restaurant is tiny!). Only in New York do people wait an hour for food but won’t wait 10 minutes for anything else. We decided what we were going to order (ramen for me, potato hash for both Ariel and Chris, even though I tried to tell them that I needed THREE different entree pictures, and three soft serve ice creams). After waiting an hour, we were seated and ordered right away.

My pork neck ramen:

Lots of pork (there should be if I’m paying $13 for it!), an egg, and random vegetables. The pork was moist and tasty but the egg was runny (a little too runny since the broth wasn’t hot enough to cook the rest of it). The broth was acceptable, but nothing you can’t recreate at home with a can of chicken stock and some bullion cubes. Onto the ramen:

Ramen (if that’s what they want to call it):

So if you look at the ramen, you’ll notice that the noodles resemble something that belongs in a Chinese beef noodle soup, not in a Japanese ramen dish. Ever heard of wei-chuan noodles? I think that’s what David Cheng uses for the pork neck “ramen.” I asked our server if the noodles were ramen and initially he said that they were, but the noodles were thicker. Then he went to ask another guy what the noodles were and he found out that the overall DISH is ramen, but the noodles used in pork neck ramen are actually Shanghai-style noodles. The other aspects of the dish are considered ramen, but the noodles aren’t. Please don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

Chris and Ariel were both shocked with their potatoes with pork and egg:

I think you can actually count how many potatoes went into the dish. Yes, the dish was good, but no, it was not worth $13. The potatoes were a bit too salty (one less dash of salt and it would’ve been acceptable). Chris and Ariel both liked the dish, but they were both disappointed with the serving size.

After our disappointing entrees, we ordered three cream cheese soft serve ice creams:

The soft serve is a little too thick for me, especially since it tastes like you’re licking a block of cream cheese. Also, for $4? Seriously, I’d rather give my money to Pinkberry (where I know it’s good!).

The surprise ending inside my soft serve cone:

It tasted like sweet potato or pumpkin that was sugared and baked. If I were to make a cream cheese soft serve cone, I’d put some kind of fruit on the bottom to lighten the soft serve since it’s so thick and creamy.

At the end of the meal, we were all still hungry but we didn’t feel like spending another $20 on pork buns. Personally, I don’t see myself ever returning to Momofuku; Cheng’s food is too expensive, over-hyped, and just NOT worth it (save yourself the time and the money by taking the subway to Chinatown).

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