after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

nom nom accomplished …

with 3 comments

t says:  What a glorious Friday!  And look!  This post is going up on the same glorious Friday!  That’s right – I’m going to post about a meal on the actual day I ate it! (I tend to collect our posts and evenly distribute them.)

So … while walking back from swimming (i.e. attempting to recapture my former glory days), my mind raced with possible lunches that I could now eat because I had net negative calories for the day.  What would I spend them on?  More Rotisseur?  Nah – I go there often enough.  Tsuki Sushi?  They do a decent job, but I’ve already eaten raw fish once this week (I like to limit it to once a week to keep my mercury levels down).  I needed something new.  Something sexy.  Something that would fill me up, not cost a lot of ca$h, and give my mouth a festival of flavors.  Not one place came to mind.  I hate it when that happens.  Actually, I lied – one place did come to mind (, but I knew I just couldn’t go there with dz, so that was tabled for another day.  I survived the treacherous journey home, opened up my laptop, and began my daily ritual of perusing foobooz, eater, and uwun, looking for inspiration.  And there it was.  Nom Nom Ramen was open for lunch.  I hadn’t had decent ramen since my November 2011 adventure to Ippudo in NYC (the glory of the blog: allowing me to remember stuff).  I showered off the chlorine stench (or at least I tried – it never really goes away), threw on the trusty uniform (black tee and denim), and hurried to make it before any lines could form …

gee, I think I made it in time ...

The place was clean and empty, minus the two guys you see in the photo above.  I guess no one is really craving ramen at 11:30am?  More for me!  The decor is minimal, with the exception of the kinda hokey upside-down parasols and obligatory Asian paper balls.  I kind of wish they weren’t there, but what do I know about creating “atmosphere”?

I ordered up the shoyu ramen in the regular size but added a poached egg and an extra helping of pork belly.  Basically – if I was going to blow some calories, I figured I should go big or go home.

After a few minutes of me people-watching out the window, the bowl arrived:

nom nom shoyu ramen + egg + more pork belly

I was pumped.  Unable to decide if I wanted to sample the broth or a noodle first, I ultimately went for noodle.  Thicker than what I was expecting (it was like a thick spaghetti), it was perfectly al dente and had a bit of that alkaline musk on the back end.  Personally, I’d prefer even more of that flavor in my noodle, but can see where others would prefer less (kind of like how yogurt-zingy do you like your Greek yogurt?  I like it more like in Fage, and some like it light like in Chobani).  So the noodles were pretty good in terms of taste and texture.  Unfortunately, that’s where “pretty good” was replaced with mountains and mountains of “meh”.  The broth, which I feel is a super-critical component of ramen, as it’s the background for every bite you’re going to encounter, was kind of wussy.  It was thinner than Ippudo’s, and, similar to what Mr. Etchells had to say, it was a little lacking in oomph.  Sure, there was salt, so I was quite happy with that, but it was missing the heart, the soul, the rustic meat flavor that Ippudo delivered.  And, unlike Mr Etchells’s experience, it never quite went anywhere or did anything, no matter how long I waited.  Darn.  Instead, I found that the more Nom Nom I ate, the more I wished I was at Ippudo (and from what I hear, Ippudo is nowhere near the best ramen in NYC).  The pork belly was very chewy and refused to be rent asunder no matter how much I tug-of-warred it between my chopsticks and my teeth.  The other ingredients didn’t really have that “freshness” that I’d normally expect them to bring to the party.  And finally, there’s the egg … the “poached egg” … which apparently means “soft-boiled egg”.  I guess in the end, both preparations would accomplish similar tasks, but I have to admit that it was weird to be promised one but delivered another.  That’s ok – maybe it was just an oversight on the menu.

As you can probably tell, I was a little let down.  But I think it was my fault.  My initial hopes were likely too high.  Damn you Ippudo!  Of course, it was half the price of NYC ramen, so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on it.  And after all, it’s not like it was in the least bit “bad” – I finished every noodle and add-on:

all gone ... and I like the reflection of the naruto fish cake from the sign outside

BUT, I think that this photo depicts my point: the broth just didn’t provide me with a compelling enough reason to finish it off.  Bummer.  I hope someone in this city makes some actually blow-your-socks-off-good ramenbefore the craze dies down, because I’d be sad if this was supposed to be a shining example of the best ramen the city has to offer.  Actually – you know what – get Pierre Calmels of Bibou in there to make some ramen.  Sure, he’d be completely out of his element in the beginning, but I’d bet a dollar that the end result, which would be in no way traditional (“?rustic French ramen?”), would be so profoundly flavorful that not a single person would care.  Where the crap did that random-ass thought come from, you ask?  Well, let’s just say that more on Pierre (and Charlotte) is coming soon …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

6 April 2012 at 1:12pm

3 Responses

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  1. So i went there too, and had the Karai broth, similar experience, noodles were good but the broth was missing the oomph!


    9 April 2012 at 10:52pm

  2. actually, i was very disappointed with this place and all I have to say is Nhan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House is amazing ramen! and CHEAPER than Nom Nom Ramen. It was also much more healthy. I cannot believe Nom Nom Ramen got onto the best of philly list 2012. Ridiculous…


    17 October 2012 at 1:22pm

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