look inside
What's New

Makeup tips, film recommendations, how to make life easier for yourself, ask a quick question here.

« Mah Meatballs | Main

Hide-chan Ramen

Hide-Chan Ramen

248 E 52nd St
(between 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave)

Score: 15/20

The quest for ramen in New York is a constant project for me. Now that the weather has cooled down, I can finally attack this at full force once again. (Not that the heat has ever stopped my ramen cravings). Before we can forge ahead with the review however, I do need to point out that while everyone's idea of the perfect bowl of ramen is the same in theory (springy noodles, rich broth, ample toppings), actual taste is wildly differing.

Me personally? I like a good tonkotsu, the good opaque white kind, meaty, garlicy, well balanced flavours (Momotaro Rahmen on Bridge Rd, Melbourne would be an exemplary bowl). It's for this reason I came upon discovering Hidechan Ramen, known for its intense tonkotsu broth, especially after the recent crowning glory of winning the gong for the "Best Ramen In New York" by Serious Eats. It's been on my hit list for a while, I was devastated to learn that as of last week, they stopped offering customer choices of broth intensity levels and noodle firmness levels, opting for an easier to manage one level for all (like some regular ramen joint, the schmucks). I lamented the fact that I would never experience the glistening fat globules floating in the broth, but tonight I sucked it up and went anyway.

My wait was not that bad at all. I arrived at around 8pm on a Saturday night and the only other people waiting for a table was an asian couple, as I was leaving however, the line had extended down the stairs and reached the front door, apparently late night dining is where its at. Since I was just one person it was pretty easy for them to seat me at the bar, which is not where they prepare the ramen, by the way, but where a rather fat tattoo'd man of undistinguishable middle eastern descent was expertly folding gyoza. All the waitstaff were Japanese, I know this because they all spoke to me in Japanese while I blinked at them, and everyone eating around me were Japanese so, authenticity score was relatively high despite gyoza man.

The gyozas were pretty damn good, actually. Well, to be sure, they tasted more like Chinese pork dumplings than Japanese gyozas (In terms of filling, not the wrap or the way it was prepared). Since gyozas are a Japanese version of the Chinese dumpling, I didn't take this to be a bad thing. (In actual fact, I always felt like gyozas were a poor substitute that I had to put up with at ramen joints, but that's heresy. I never said that.)

Now to the ramen itself. I got their basic tonkotsu because I was pretty excited about this broth and I wanted to experience it unadulterated. So that was the very first thing I tried, just a big spoonful of porky goodness. It was pretty spectacular. Intensely meaty, almost a little thick on the lips, so much so that you can almost taste the bone marrow simmering in the pot all day. It was a tad too salty for my taste, and not enough garlic, but taken in small doses, it should satisfy the pork craving in any carnivore. The noodles were unmemorable. They weren't bad, by any means, but they were definitely not stand outs. They kind of just didn't have much bite to them, for me the noodle is really just as important as the broth, and for that reason Hidechan lost some points. As for the toppings, the pork was very decent, if not a little bland, but the biggest wtf was the lack of half an egg. For a lot of people it's the best part of the ramen, I can live without it, but I do still like it there. In fact the only toppings were the two pieces of char-siu (pork), some shredded woodear, scallions and a square of nori, no bamboo shoots or anything else of that elk. A tad scant for my liking.

Here's my summary, the broth is definitely worth a try, if you want some serious tonkotsu action and would like some pretty decent ramen accoutrement, come to Hide-chan. If you want a serious bowl of ramen, I would still rather head over to either Minca or its sister Kambi. I know serious eats gave it low noodle scores and such, but what can I say? They're outta their minds. The pork at those two place are also near perfection, and the broth is well balanced. I'd recommend the sio blend (the Minca Sio or the Kambi Sio, depending on which you're at) which is salt based combination of pork and chicken broth. The service is usually efficient and excellent, oh and by the way, they'd never forget the egg.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>