Ichiba Ramen by Shinokubo is a Japanese restaurant in Union Square, that serves creative Japanese and Korean influenced dishes (Shinokubo is named after the Shin Okubo Koreatown in Shinjuku, Japan). Ichiba is quite a big place compared to the usual hole in the wall type of ramen restaurants that popped up in the past few years and it has a colorful and cool design, with a beautiful painting on the top of the wall.
Menu wise, they serve quite a wide range of dishes with sushi if you are not that excited with ramen. We started off our meal with buns. Usually I go for the pork buns that I love, especially if the pork belly is nicely cooked and has a bit of fat to it, smothered by either hoisin sauce or mayonnaise. But this time, I decided to try their bulgogi buns that I have never seen on a menu before. They were composed of marinated ribeye, pickled cucumber, lettuce and a not so spicy mayonnaise. It was very good: the steamed buns were fluffy and soft, and the meat tender and juicy.
Then, we got ramen. Jodi went for the matcha shoyu ramen that was very colorful, the green of the matcha tea being quite vibrant. It was a vegetarian ramen made with a matcha vegetable broth, a reduced shoyu base, roasted tomato (spicy), enoki mushrooms, pickled onion and scallion. It was quite good, the matcha tea taste delightfully coming through.
But I thought my ramen was even better: it was a tonkotsu ramen composed of a pork bone base, an umami garlic base, pork belly, menma (bamboo), kikurage (mushroom), scallion, pickled red pepper, roasted perilla. I added a boiled egg, that was nicely soft with a runny yolk, to it. Everything in this ramen that was slightly spicy was good, from the pork belly to the tasty pork broth, although I would have liked a little less garlic. But I loved it as the photo below shows...
The noodles in each ramen were different: thin straight noodles for the tonkotsu ramen and wavy spinach noodles for the matcha shoyu, both having a nice bite.
It was overall a very good meal. Ichiba Ramen is on my top list of ramen joints and there is no doubt that I would go back there. But this time maybe not for ramen, but to try their Korean tacos!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Ichiba Ramen by Shinokubo - 125 University Pl, New York, NY 10003