Thursday, December 2, 2010

Noodling New York: Hakata "Kuro" Ramen at Hide-Chan

On my recent New York trip, noodles at Hide-Chan Ramen were at the top of my list. Not that I'm a big ramen chaser (as I've made clear in the past), but Serious Eats NY had just named it the best ramen in New York, even ahead of the vaunted Ippudo, and I wondered what all the fuss was about. SE may have something there; I don't know if it was the noodle quality overall, or the style I ordered, but it was one of the most satisfying bowls of ramen I have ever had. On Serious Eats' recommendatiion, I went with the Hakata Kuro Ramen. "Kuro" apparently means black, and the blackness comes from charred garlic or, as the Hide-Chan menu describes it, "original 'ma-yu' roasted garlic oil." The noodles in my bowl were perfectly springy, and the toppings adequate, if not generous. But it was the addition of the blackened garlic oil that made the ramen exceptional. The garlic oil slick evident in the above photo turned the whole bowl an inky black color when stirred; more than that, it added a dimension of flavor to what otherwise might have just another salty, muddy broth.

Where slurped: Hide-Chan Ramen, 248 E 52nd St, New York

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