Rare are people who think about going to The Upper East Side to have lunch: they are wrong. Over the years, I have discovered several restaurants in that neighborhood, the last one being MeiJin Ramen. I like the restaurant itself, where you are greeted in Japanese when you enter, a bit a la Ippudo I would say, but without the clamors of the staff that follow. Its atmosphere is warm and the decor zen. In the back is the kitchen that got busier as time passed (we arrived when they opened).
What does this joint have different from the others? Well, they have a nice choice of ramen and I was surprised not to see a pork broth, rather a beef broth. At first, I was a bit doubtful as I love the silkiness of the pork broth. But I admit that the beef broth from their signature ramen (the MeiJin ramen) was succulent, flavorful for sure. That ramen was composed of miso, chili oil, bean sprout, corn and thin slices of beef. I added a slice of pork (small and not worth $2) as well as half-egg that was perfectly cooked. The broth was definitely salty and I loved the fact that it was counteracted by the corn that added a nice sweetness. The beef, thinly sliced was tender, but I admit that the slices were a bit too long.
Jodi opted for their vegetarian ramen that was composed of tofu, corn, tomato, enoki mushrooms, and sesame oil. There was one more ingredient that was surprising: cucumber. Interesting to see that there, but it added a nice crunch to it, as did the mushrooms. I have to say that I am not a big fan of vegetable broth as I find it less tasty than pork or chicken, but this was pretty good.
Jodi also added a perfectly cooked half-egg.
As far as the noodles were concerned, they were really good, cooked al dente for an additional bite. I thought that there were enough in the bowl, but know that you can ask for an additional serving for a small supplement.
I should mention that I also tried their Nagoya spicy pepper chicken wings, prepared with sweet soy, sesame, pepper and chives. A delicious way to start: I love the combination sweet and savory, as well as the nuttiness added by the sesame seeds. Know that it is not as spicy as the name of the dish indicates.
As a beverage, Jodi ordered some green tea and I was surprised that they charged $4 for it, lots of places serving it complementary.
Anyway, it was quite good and I am glad we got to try this place. MeiJin Ramen is a great spot to know if you want to slurp a good ramen bowl. I would definitely go back, but this time either try their chicken broth or one of their donburi.
Enjoy (I did)!
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