Saturday, December 10, 2016

Momosan Ramen

It's getting really cold here in NYC which means it's good weather for ramen and other noodle soups. We were over in Bryant Park looking at the holiday shops last weekend, and decided to try someplace new for dinner. Chef Morimoto's ramen shop, Momosan, opened back in the spring, but we hadn't made it over to Murray Hill yet to try it, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Everything on the menu looked so good, but we managed to narrow down our choices to two bowls of ramen and an appetizer. We often over-order, but the tables at Momosan are mostly communal, so if we ordered a lot more dishes, we probably would have looked like giant pigs to all of our neighbors with their single bowls of unfinished ramen.

For our appetizer, we went with the tetsunabe pork gyoza ($10), which was pork and chive gyoza served on an iron skillet (that would be the tetsunabe). A word of warning if you order the gyoza - the hot plate with the gyoza comes out, and then they pour sake on top followed by the ginger scallion sauce. It sizzled a lot and there were lots of little pops of oil all over the table and our phones (and probably our clothes). The gyoza themselves were good. The pork and chive filling was hearty and flavorful, and the ginger scallion sauce balanced that out nicely. Four gyoza for $10 isn't cheap, but they were really tasty.

For the ramen, we decided to get two different types so we could try more. A chose the tonkotsu ramen ($13 for the regular/large, $10 for a smaller portion; we got the larger one for both) with pork chashu, aji-tama (soy marinated egg), takana (pickled mustard leaf, not sure if that is the same as the Chinese pickled xue cai but it tasted like it), kikurage (wood ear mushrooms), toasted nori, garlic oil, and soy tare. The tonkotsu ramen also had scallions in it even though they weren't listed. This ramen was really good. The broth had so much depth and richness to the flavor, and all the vegetables included complemented it well. The chashu was soft and tender. Everything about this ramen was good.

I chose to go with the Tokyo chicken ramen ($12 for larger, $10 for smaller size) which had steamed chicken, aji-tama, menma (soy braised bamboo shoots), seared garlic chive, kikurage, toasted nori, and soy tare. After trying the broth in A's tonkotsu ramen, the broth in the chicken ramen seemed a little more one-note. It lacked some of the nuance and the depth that the tonkotsu ramen had. It was still good and had a lot of flavor, but just not as good as the other one. This ramen had menma and garlic chives instead of the takana and scallions; personally I would have preferred the second but these were good and probably were better with this broth. The aji-tama was delicious, and good in both ramen bowls. Overall this chicken ramen just tasted very clean.

The Momosan menu had a page devoted to the concept of "nobiru," which they described as "the condition where noodles absorb soup and get soggy." They apparently worked with Sun Noodle to develop noodles more resistant to that condition, which held their texture for longer. The texture did seem to hold up better than some other places, which was good since I tend to eat slowly. As far as the amount of food, we were pretty satisfied but not stuffed. That just meant that a few hours later we had room to eat some freshly baked cookies to celebrate National Cookie Day. Overall we really liked our visit to Momosan and are already plotting when we can return to try all the stuff we didn't get to this time.

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