Tag Archives: restaurant review

Pigging out at the Spotted Pig

The Spotted Pig, the only Michelin-starred gastropub, famous for its burger and incredibly long wait times, has been on my restaurant list for a long time. I’m a big fan of Chef April Bloomfield, and last week I was finally able to go for lunch.

There were several requirements needed to achieve success:

1. I had to go for lunch, not dinner. Going for dinner there often means waiting for hours.

2. It had to be a week day, not a weekend—on weekends, the Spotted Pig serves a brunch menu, which didn’t have the gnudi I was dying to try.

3. I had to get there right as it opened; despite the fact that they say it’s less crowded on weekdays, I knew that it would fill up fast.

So we got there right at 12, on a Friday, and successfully got a table.

We ordered three plates: the gnudi, smoked haddock chowder, and cubano sandwich. Frank Bruni recommended the chowder, the cubano was rated one of NYC’s best sandwiches, and the gnudi held a personal significance.

About a year ago, I was working Saturday prep shifts at a restaurant in Boston. The restaurant was serving a pomegranate-braised lamb shank which was served with gnudi. Gnudi (coming from the Italian word for nude) are basically ricotta balls rolled in semolina flour; ravioli without the pasta. Nude ravioli. I made these gnudi week after week, sometimes tasting the filling, but I had never actually had one in its glory.

I also couldn’t wait much longer to try them. Last summer, the Spotted Pig changed the set with the gnudi—I believe they were served with some sort of pesto. The classic set is brown butter and crispy sage; that was back on the menu, it sounded divine, and I didn’t want to risk a menu change.

Smoked haddock chowder with house made crackers
Smoked haddock chowder with house made crackers

I’m a huge seafood chowder fan, and the smoked haddock chowder was no disappointment. The smokiness of the haddock and the pancetta complemented the cream and parsley perfectly. This may have actually been the best thing we ordered.

Cubano (served with arugula)
Cubano (served with arugula)

April Bloomfield’s spin on a cubano involves (as far as I could tell) prosciutto, pork shoulder, cornichons, and jalapeños. Pair that with super melty gruyere and you have a masterpiece. A masterpiece that drips (a stunning amount of) oil, but still a masterpiece.

Sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi with brown butter and crispy sage

As featured on the second season of Mind of a Chef, here are the gnudi. Super salty cheese contrasted beautifully with the brown butter (if you’ve never had brown butter, try it; it’s basically butter that has been cooked on super low heat for maybe 45 minutes until the proteins caramelize) and sage, my favorite herb, added a nice pop.

Overall? Highly recommend. One of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had in a long time. I admire Chef Bloomfield’s ability to make a name for herself in such an incredibly male-dominated industry, and a unique name at that. I look forward to trying her other restaurants.

The Spotted Pig:

314 W 11th St; (212) 620-0393

Atmosphere: small, pub feeling; the dining room gets loud quickly and the waitstaff is very casual.

Sound Level: loud.

Recommended Dishes: gnudi, smoked haddock chowder, cubano.

Price Range: $$$; lunch plates run around $19 per plate. Dinner is more expensive.

Hours: 12 – 5pm, 5:30pm – 2 am, Mon-Fri; 11am – 5pm, 5:30pm – 2 am, Sat-Sun.

Reservations: None. Plan your travel carefully. Get there early if you don’t want to wait. For dinner, always be prepared to wait.


Worth the Hype? Ippudo Ramen

There are many different versions of “Top lists for Ramen in NYC”, but Ippudo Ramen and Totto Ramen are the two names that appear on almost all of these lists. This week I tried out Ippudo Westside for the first time and had to say that I personally preferred Totto over Ippudo.


Getting ramen in NYC is always associated with long waiting time – and who wants to stand outside for half an hour in this extreme cold weather? The three times that I have been to Totto, I only successfully sat down once. Even at Jin Ramen, which is situated in a not-so-busy neighborhood, one still faces the high chance of having to wait for at least 15 minutes for a seat. I learned from experience that to get a seat in Totto’s tiny space, one MUST go on a weekday and preferably slightly before 5pm, so you can get a seat right after it opens. Applying this rule last week when I went to Ippudo Westside, I was shocked when I arrived right at 5pm on a Wednesday and realized that most of the seats were empty. It almost seemed surreal that getting ramen could be so easy in New York.




Besides the ease of finding a seat as compared to Totto, Ippudo Westside has completely different ambiance than Totto. While Ippudo is spacious and modern, Totto is cramped and homey. This is definitely more an issue of personal preference. But Totto ramen does resemble more the experience one gets in a ramen store in Japan.  (I want to note that I’ve never been to the original Ippudo location, which may elicit more authentic Japanese feel than the newest Westside location.)


The restaurant is divided into two main areas. The bar seat areas and the table area. I definitely enjoyed the spacious bar seats at Ippudo. They are extremely comfortable and great for eating by oneself or with one other person.



 Pork buns and chicken buns.


Overall, the food at Ippudo was satisfactory but a bit over-hyped.

A lot has been said about the buns here. In my opinion – while the bun shell was quite soft and tasty, the meat content of the pork buns and chicken buns was sweeter than anticipated. Out of the two kinds, the chicken buns tasted better as they were coated and fried. There were also a lot of mayo in both types of buns. For better buns, I suggest visiting the trendy Bauhaus specializing in buns near Union Square and trying their pork buns (they’re mindblowing)



The classic pork chashu ramen “Shiromaru Hakata Classic”



 Clear soup “Torishio”


Now the most important part of the post – the ramen. I ordered Shiromaru Hakata Classic, the first on their list of ramen. While nothing was particularly wrong with any part of the ramen, it also did not stand out to me as much as I hoped. I thought the soup base was a tad too rich after eating for a while. However, the two thick pieces of pork chashu tasted quite amazing and did not contain too much fatty parts, which is always a plus.


Add-ons are always an integral part of ordering ramen. I personally love bamboo shoots – or Menma – as well as soft boiled eggs in my ramen. But I wasn’t aware that Shiromaru Hakata already came with some The smarter choice would be to order extra pork for 3 dollars.


I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of Torishio, which my friend ordered. It’s the same ramen noodles with pork chashu but in a clear soup. I always have been skeptical of “healthier alternatives” offered at places, Asian places in particular. But Torishio definitely exceeded my expectation. Even though the soup was clear, it was quite flavorful and tasty. So this option is definitely recommended.


The overall verdict: provided that you don’t have to wait for a long time to get a seat, hopping on the 1 train to get to Ippudo Westside might be something to try on a weekday. However, don’t set your expectations up too high as the ramen here is not as special as they say.


Ippudo Westside
Address: 321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
Phone:(212) 974-2500



Manzo in Eataly

No one usually looks to a marketplace for a great date night. There are too many people just standing around clogging the aisles with their hungry, indecisive bodies. There are too many kids running around screaming and begging for ice cream. But take a step into Eataly and you might see more than just a market.

Though there are many great restaurants in Eataly, I went to Manzo. Service was friendly and attentive. Waiters waltzed in between tables, ties dangling from their necks, and two men in suits strolled around, making sure everything was in order. The staff carried themselves with an air of professionalism, not often akin to marketplaces. After a while, I got the sense that the restaurant was not built in the market; rather the market was built around the restaurant.

I started my meal with a plate of carpaccio. The plate was covered entirely in thin circles of meat, striped here and there with tender, marbled fat. Peppered across the dish, shards of parmigiano reggiano provided a salty and nutty compliment to the meat. A clump of watercress rested in the center. The color and the taste of its citrus vinaigrette gave a pleasant contrast to the slices of meat. I meant to take a picture of the carpaccio, for it looked quite lovely. Yet, I already finished half the dish before I remembered to do so.

Next -and yes, I did get a picture of this one – I had a duck ragu with foie gras. The very essence of duck seemed to have soaked into the casarecce pasta. The dish was indescribably savory, rich, and hearty, but delicate as well. It was the type of dish you could picture both in the fanciest of restaurants and at a casual meal made by that great aunt from Sicily, who wanted to visit you while she was in New York even though you’ve really only seen her once or twice in your lifetime. Since I find myself grasping for words to describe this ragu, take a look at the picture and go to Manzo to get it for yourself.

Manzod Duck Ragu

At last, I got a wonderful lemon meringue, appropriately named Leggero. That’s Italian for “light.” Topping the meringue was a sweet blackberry swirl, a fresh blackberry, a tangy dab of lemon gelato, and a few sprigs of basil. Indeed it was a lemon meringue, but the basil made the dish. It added a certain complexity to the dish that forced you to keep eating in order to understand how it fit so well on top of a dessert. All in all, I found the meringue to be a delightful, palate-cleansing end to the meal. And just look at it. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Manzo's Lemon Meringue

Manzo is a gem hidden in plain sight. Ignorant of the bustling shoppers all around, this restaurant provides a warm and friendly dining experience with tastes to satisfy most everyone…except vegetarians. Sorry, Manzo’s specialty is meat.


200 5th Ave

New York, NY 10010

Tel: 212.229.2180

Rafele Ristorante

With winter quickly descending on the cold, steel structures of the city, the last sight I expected to see from Rafele Ristorante was a warm, summery environment. But look for yourself.

Rafele Ristorante

Thick, green stalks and stems draping over the shelves. Cute, little flowers poking up from the center of the rustic, wooden tables. Bottles of wine and olive oil lining the walls. I can’t help but to think of a warm meal in a summer garden in Tuscany. Although I have never had the pleasure of visiting Italy, Rafele Ristorante brought a little piece of Italy to America, almost as good as a real trip.

For my appetizer, I had burrata frita. Burrata is a soft, buttery combination of mozzarella and cream, and of course, frita means fried. So yes, I just ate fried cheese. Personally, I could eat cheese all day in replacement of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the restaurant fried it for me. Everything is better fried. This cheese is no exception. That sweet, gooey cheese was a godsend.

After I finished my cheese, the waiter smiled wide, asked how everything was, and whisked away my plate. Even the waiter seemed warm and summery! Not too long after, my margherita pizza was brought out. Some people get upset when you get something as simple as a margherita pizza. After all, it is basically just a normal cheese pizza with a few leaves of basil thrown on top. Yet, its simplicity allows you to better appreciate the two main actors that influence a pizza’s quality: the sauce and the crust.

margherita pizza

The sauce tickled the tongue with its sweet, herby flavor. It tasted of tomatoes, onions, and garlic, slow-cooked all day as if they had waited for my arrival before being put to use. And the crust was exactly what any New Yorker wants: thick enough to support the rest of the pizza, but thin enough to give a satisfying crunch. The edges were blackened and crispy from the wood fired oven. Yes, it was a simple margherita pizza. Simple and delicious.

Sadly, I didn’t have room for dessert. I was really in the mood for tiramisu, but I ate an entire pizza… so that didn’t happen. Regardless, I highly recommend Rafele Ristorante. Winter is coming. We need a reminder of the happy, summer days.

Rafele Ristorante



(212) 242-1999

29 7th Ave South, New York, NY 10014

Peacefood Cafe: Raw Food For The Soul

After being a non-vegan for two months, I have decided to return to practicing the non-animal product lifestyle. In result, I have to do some hunting for NYC eats for vegans that are highly acclaimed but of course may be overhyped. For my first destination of checking out NYC vegan restaurants, I headed not too far from campus to The Peacefood Café on Amsterdam and 82nd Street (there is also one located at E11th Street and University Place).

I went to the Peacefood Café on a Sunday night at around six in the evening, where there was dim lighting and an earthy smell which created a warm and homey vibe. One can choose to stay and dine, order to go, or deliver as well. The waiting area, which consists of three seats, is filled with pamphlets of vegan recipes. Depending on what one orders the wait may range of 2 minutes to 10.

The menu consists of sides, entrees, desserts, with indicators of what is gluten-free, somewhat gluten-free, and what is raw (meaning nothing was cooked, but still safe to eat). There is also a special menu that is available for order from 5pm-10pm daily, which includes “cheeseburgers”, a vegan version of chicken parmesan, thai curry, among other items. A special breakfast menu, which includes granola, tofu scramble, quinoa porridge, etc., is available to order after 10am until the items are sold out.


Both times I’ve gone, I’ve ordered to go and have only tried the raw items. The first time I tried The Peacefood Café, I had the raw sushi roll, and this time I ordered the raw lasagna which came with “the other Caesar” which is a vegan interpretation of the typical Caesar salad. The sushi roll, which is walnut pate and veggies, is delicious with lots of flavor. It is topped with avo, and on the side are jicama and carrots. The lasagna was pesto and marinara separating layers of zucchini. The taste in both were extremely rich, and while raw, both were extremely filling and satisfying, this goes for “the other caesar” as well!


As a vegan, finding satisfying desserts that don’t taste “vegan” are hard to find. Both times I’ve gone to The Peacefood Café I’ve gotten a dessert. The first time I tried out the raw key-lime pie, which was full of flavor, tasted like a key-lime pie, and as I had the last bite I wished for another slice to appear so I could finish that one off too. The next time I went I tried the raw cacao mousse pie, thinking that no other raw vegan dessert could live up to the standard set by the key-lime pie. No disappoint whatsoever. The cacao mousse pie was to die for and lived up to all my expectations. It was rich, and creamy, and did not taste “vegan” at all, but rather tasted like any other cacao mousse pie.


Overall, I would highly recommend The Peacefood Café for everyone, vegan and non-vegans. Definitely a good place to go to try something new; the desserts are a must and highly recommended for all.

Chocolàt Restaurant Lounge

Okay, so not everyone is a hopeless romantic like me. Some of you prefer a more lively dinner with bass-heavy hip-hop music and dark, blue lighting. Some of you would rather have a couple of cocktails instead of a nice glass of wine. And there are some of you who appreciate the chance to look over your date’s shoulder and watch the Giants play on either of two flatscreen TVs. Well, for you, I’d like to introduce Chocolàt Restaurant Lounge at 2223 Frederick Douglas Boulevard in Harlem.

While the word “lounge” implies relaxation, I felt a more energetic vibe. The restaurant was full and bouncing to the beat of the DJ. The bar cranked out drinks of every kind. Even the moody, blue lights seemed like preparation for a night dancing in clubs.

FullSizeRender (2)

To start, I had the fried calamari. Freshened up by a tangy lemon aioli, the calamari was light and crispy. It rested happily on the line between fine dining and simple finger food. Sadly, I was forced to share the sweet, tender squid.

Fortunately, the main course was all mine. I had grilled lamb chops with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. Sharp on the tongue with herbs and spices, the meat soaked in a pool of sauce, thin, but rich. The mashed potatoes were plump, cheesy, warm and delightful. The spinach was spinach. It took the flavor of the rest of the meal. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing because at the end of the day, you can ignore all the fattening foods you’ve eaten and say that you had at least one healthy item.


To end the meal, I decided upon a slice of red velvet cake. Now, I must offer a warning. Do not attempt to eat this by yourself after having an entire meal. You can’t do it. The cake is moist and the frosting is not overly sweet. A raspberry syrup is drizzled across the slice, adding a bit of complexity and variety depending on where you put your fork. The only problem is that this slice is more like a slab. The cake is four layers high and generous in width. Unless you share, you will not finish.

FullSizeRender (1)

Although I felt a little out of my element, I had a great time. The owner Leon Ellis says, “This is an emerging area in Harlem, it was designated to be ‘Restaurant Row’ on the west side, with the resurgence that started in Harlem. We were the first to open in the vicinity, because nobody wanted to come over here.” Chocolàt sets a wonderful standard for restaurants to come and I look forward to seeing the area develop as time passes.

Chocolàt Restaurant Lounge

223 Frederick Douglas Blvd (120 Street), Harlem, NYC 10026

T: 212-222-4545   F: 212-222-9594

www.chocolatharlem.com   zuri@chocolatharlem.com

Ten Years Later, Chang Still Shines

In 2004, David Chang opened his first restaurant: Momofuku Noodle Bar, in the East Village. For the past two years, ever since I saw the first episode of Mind of A Chef (aptly entitled “Noodle”) I have been craving his cuisine. And after two years of making knock-off Chang dishes (read: cooking rice noodles in chicken broth with soy sauce, topping it with scallions and a poached egg), I finally made it down to his restaurant on 1st Ave.

My friend and I arrived at around 9:40 pm on a Saturday night. This was our mistake. If you don’t want to wait at this place (or any of Chang’s restaurants, for that matter) go for lunch on a weekday. As it was, we were told it would be around an hour and a half, so we put our names down and headed over to Momofuku Ssäm bar on 2nd Ave. That wait would be an hour, but we decided to put our names down there too and walk around. Both restaurants texted (they’ve got a pretty snazzy system) about a half hour later and we chose to go to our original goal, Noodle Bar.

We were seated at the chef’s table, with a perfect view of the kitchen.

Now for the food:

We started off with the famous pork buns. Pork belly, hoisin sauce, scallions, and marinated cucumbers. These guys are famous for a reason. They’re not actually listed on the menu, but they’re a staple of Noodle Bar so one can always order them. The pork is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and paired with the sweet sauce and tart cucumbers, these buns are a must have at this restaurant.

Perfection in a bite.

The buns were followed by pea shoots, with chicory, sesame, and a kimchi vinaigrette. I was pleased to see pea shoots on the menu, as they’re one of my favorite greens; the chicory cut into the spiciness of the kimchi with a hint of refreshing sweetness. It was a very clever dish, a take on kimchi that I haven’t seen before.


I had read that they had brought a long time classic, chicken and rice, back on the menu for a limited time:

Smoked chicken, marinated cucumbers, scallions, and a poached egg over rice.
Smoked chicken, marinated cucumbers, scallions, and a poached egg over rice.

How to eat: like one might with bibimbap, mix everything together so you get a perfect bite in every bite.

This dish was fantastic. The chicken was smoky and moist and the egg was poached perfectly. It is hard to poach eggs in a restaurant setting, to make them consistently perfect. I could see the cook cooking all of the eggs and have to say, he did a marvelous job.

My friend did get noodles, ordering the spicy miso ramen.

Smoked chicken, poached egg, and sesame.

I thought the dish was good, though the noodles were a bit strange. Sour, perhaps. Momofuku uses the same noodles as Ivan Ramen—Sun Noodle, but these aren’t rye noodles, as far as I know (Ivan’s are). The spinach and nori were both a little bit out of place, in my opinion, but the chicken and the broth were great.

We ordered two desserts: pretzel cake truffles and pb & strawberry sweet cracker soft serve.

Pretzel cake truffles.
Pb & strawberry sweet cracker soft serve.

The desserts were both good, not great. Noodle Bar’s forte is not its dessert; despite the fact that the desserts come from the well-known Milk Bar, the options don’t include Milk Bar’s classics, like their crack pie or cereal milk ice cream.

As we were getting ready to leave, Tony Kim, the chef de cuisine, walked by. I shook his hand and thanked him—it’s always a nice touch to thank a chef for his food. A chef’s job is to please you, so it’s always gratifying to know that you’re happy.

All in all: go. It’s fantastic, and a New York staple. Well worth the trip down to the village.

Momofuku Noodle Bar,

171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003; (212) 777-7773.

Atmosphere: light wood, communal tables, and a loud, open kitchen give the restaurant a friendly, welcoming feel.

Sound Level: Loud.

Recommended Dishes: pork buns, pea shoots, chicken and rice.

Price Range: ~$30 per person for an appetizer, main, and dessert each.

Hours: Sun-Thurs: 12:00-4:30, 5:30-11pm. Fri-Sat: 12-4:30, 5:30-1 am.

Reservations: None, except for the fried chicken dinner. Go for lunch if you don’t want to wait.


“To me there’s nothing sexier than egg drizzling out.”—Chef Chang





Bistro Ten 18

Dining starts in the eyes, before you order and even before you sit down. Dining starts when you first enter the restaurant. And I must say, it was a fabulous start to my dinner when I walked into Bistro Ten 18.

The restaurant was dark, perhaps darker than the twilight outside. Yet, as night closed in over the restaurant, I became lost in the soft, intimate glow of candles. Wine racks lined an entire wall, and the white space behind them radiated from some unseeable bulbs. The windows were wide and plenty, but I barely noticed anything besides the superb ambience.

Kentucky Country Ham & Crispy Poached Organic Egg salad

I started with the Kentucky Country Ham & Crispy Poached Organic Egg salad. I’m not quite sure what I expected, but the dish tasted much like a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on salad instead of bread. Don’t knock it until you try it, though. Clumped on top of the bed of ham were mustard greens and snap beans, all dressed with a dijon vinaigrette. The light and sweet flavors of the salad balanced out the rich, salty taste of ham, egg, and cheese.

As soon as I finished and settled back in my chair, a waiter rushed forth to take my plate and refill my water glass. He was one of many waiters I had. Neither he nor any of the others waiters spoke much, though. They simply minded their own business and let me be, which isn’t such a bad thing on a date.

Next, I had the Braised Berkshire Pork Shoulder. The dish was simple, but perfectly so. Basically, it was a chunk of meat surrounded by beans and topped with a little bit of greens. It was warm, hearty, and unbelievably tender. The thick jus had completely soaked into the meat. I could’ve used a spoon to cut it.

Again, when I finished, a waiter took my plate and said next to nothing. I tried to speak to the waiter, but I realized how loud I was speaking. I could barely hear myself talk. Thus, I wouldn’t recommend this place for a first date. You can’t connect well with someone if you can’t hear what they’re saying. Yet, if it’s not your first date, the noise helps the romance. In order to converse, you need to lean in towards each other. From so close, your date’s eyes will glimmer in the candle light, and blaze like two elegant tongues of flame. You might not know what your date is saying, but you’ll certainly enjoy the intimate stares.

Finally, I got the Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae. Following in the pork shoulder’s footsteps, the sundae was simple. It wasn’t anything more than it needed to be. However, I was a little disappointed. Was it delicious? Definitely. But, it arrived in the classic sundae glass, topped with nuts, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. It was clichéd. I wanted something more original. Plus, I could easily make a sundae without spending $10.

Regardless, Bistro Ten 18 was a great experience. The ambience was wonderful and the food was fantastic. And one final note: Bistro Ten 18 delivers. If you just want to cuddle up at home and eat a juicy pork shoulder, there’s nothing stopping you.

Bistro Ten 18

1018 Amsterdam Avenue at 110th Street. NYC



Good Cheesecake from a New York Tourist’s Classic – Carnegie Deli

Coming from California, my palate for cheesecake is quite underdeveloped. When someone in California suggests cheesecake for dessert, they are usually referring to cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Because I love cheesecake, but have a lack of experience with “real” forms of this dessert, I decided to start off with cheesecake from a New York tourist’s classic – the Carnegie Deli.

The Carnegie Deli is located on 7th Avenue, between West 55th and West 54th near the theater district in Midtown. They’re probably best known for their pastrami and corn beef sandwiches, however their cheesecake is highly reviewed as well. I went at 10pm on a Wednesday night, not usually the busiest time in the rest of the country, but here in New York, it’s a perfectly valid time for some cheesecake. (Let’s face it though, is there every a time that is not a valid cheesecake eating time?) From the moment you walk in the door, it’s clear that this is a tourist spot – the walls are lined with celebrities’ pictures and autographs and the décor is meant to resemble “classic” New York. This classification as a tourist spot does not mean that it’s not good, quality food.

When the slice of classic plain cheesecake was brought out, I was taken aback by the sheer size of the slice. I’m used to large pieces of cheesecake, but this was on another level. (It ended up taking me three days and four sittings to finish the entire thing – luckily they had to go boxes for such an occasion.) This cheesecake was truly a classic. The filling was extremely rich and thick and the cream cheese in the filling was obvious, adding another flavor dimension to the whole experience. This filling didn’t feel grainy the way some cheesecakes feel inside your mouth, instead it was very smooth. I recommend eating this cheesecake with a good cup of coffee – the mixing of flavors is superb. The one complaint that I do have is that the crust was fairly solid and gelatinous, not crumbly the way that I prefer my cheesecake crusts. All in all, the cheesecake was a seven out of ten, while the whole experience was an eight.

Before the consumption began.
Before the consumption began.

If you’re ever looking for a touristic restaurant experience that’s still got good cheesecake, the Carnegie Deli is a good place to start.

$13 of Happy; Extra Noodle!

There’s no better way to introduce a blog about cheap eats than with a celebration of ramen, the foundation of any proper poor-college student diet!  And so, my first venture into culinary criticism takes me and my buddy to Terakawa Ramen, a small noodle bar on 57th street and 9th avenue, just two blocks away from the Union Square subway stop.
We, of course, refused to use this subway stop, convinced that the $4.50 it would cost for the round trip would be better spent on more noodles.  It turns out we were right, too, because these noodles were pretty good.

After skimming the short menu, which included various meat-over-rice dishes, gyoza, about six flavors of ramen, and ‘Tokyo Fried Chicken’ (which I’m getting next time), I ordered a $9.00 bowl of Terakawa Ramen, as seemed most appropriate.  This dish, the restaurant’s implicit, perpetual special, is described accurately on the menu as “pork bone based noodle soup and bamboo shoot, red ginger roast pork, boiled egg, scallion, kikurage.”  While the toppings made for a pretty presentation, the real star was the rich, thick, almost creamy broth, which overpowered the other flavors somewhat.  Surprisingly though, the noodles failed to absorb much of this flavor and, when eaten on without any other ingredients, lacked appeal.  However, my experience  was dramatically improved when I happened upon this eating strategy, which I now recommend: use the soup spoon to ladle out some broth, use the chopsticks to put noodles and other toppings in said spoon, then eat!  Problem solved.  The pork was tender and tasty, while the hard boiled egg had a pleasantly complex, almost sweet flavor, but neither was much of a factor in the dish as a whole. This is because the portions of these protein elements were small, as is usually the case; I ate the two thin slices and half-egg right away, almost as an appetizer.  Ordering an extra 2 pieces of pork for $2.00 might have helped, but I opted to spend that money, or $1.50 of it, on an extra portion of noodles.  (In the photo, you can see these to the right of my bowl).
These extra noodles made my night and make Terakawa Ramen stand apart from its comparably priced competitors.  While the option to pay for extra ramen is not itself a novelty, the massiveness of this extra portion is surely unprecedented.  With the leftover broth from my first bowl, I used these extra noodles to get two bowls for a little more than the price of one.  My friend and I, had we been less ravenously hungry, might have shared a single bowl, but we wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing so after taking up two of the eleven seats in this tiny restaurant.
Terakawa Ramen looks and feels more like a bar than a restaurant; its eleven seats wrap around a u-shaped, wooden counter top, behind which stands the single waitress. This friendly waitress took our orders quickly, topped off our water promptly (which we needed, considering the richness of the broth,) and had us in and out within 30 minutes. Still, I wouldn’t suggest bringing a group of more than three people here unless you really don’t mind a wait.  Otherwise, if you’re hungry for thick brothiness or looking to carboload for a marathon without breaking the bank, Terakawa Ramen is your place!


My happy friend