Hide-Chan Ramen: New York, New York

I love noodles.

Actually, I love New York (cliché I know, who doesn’t love New York?).  What’s great about New York  is that if you can “think” of something, anything, chances are New York will have it and it would the best of it’s kind.  Hence my trip to New York would not be complete if I didn’t get me some ramen.

Calgary has ramen eateries, but New York’s are at a whole other level.  I’ve been to Totto Ramen and Ippudo’s on my previous trips to New York.  This time around I wanted to try the other popular ramen joint,  Hide-Chan Ramen.   Hide-Chan Ramen is on E 52nd St between 2nd and 3rd Ave in Midtown East.  Like most New York restaurants, this place was small.  You have to go up the stairs and chances are there’s usually a wait.  Luckily, Ben and I didn’t have to wait very long and found a spot at counter.

Hide Chan Ramen Beer Set- Draft beer with 3 appetizers. $10

Once seated at the counter, I immediately look for their beer deals (there’s always a beer deal at these ramen joints) and found they had a draft with 3 appetizers for only $10.00.  Given that I was starving and thirsty, I order it and got a nice cool mug of Sapporo accompanied by some menma, chashu, and a nice slice of mentaiko.  The mentaiko was my favourite.  It was salty with that slight roe sweetness you get afterwards and I love the crunchy texture you get when chew it.  The menma was crunchy and had that slight soy saltiness to it.  The chashu was slightly chilled but tender so it was easy to pick apart to eat.

So…. we were really really hungry that night, we ended up ordering an additional 3 appetizers from the menu to start us off.

Bao

Hide Chan Ramen’s Spicy Tuna Buns:  Tuna, Mayo, Cheese, Hot Sauce and Iceberg Lettuce

Close up of Bao

Hide Chan Ramen’s Spicy Tuna Buns $8

The first one that came was the Spicy Tuna Buns.  The waiter highly recommended it but it was your typical tuna salad in the middle of the bun with melted cheese and hot sauce with two piece of iceberg lettuce in between.  It was tasty, but it was ordinary.  Personally, expected this tuna bun a little different in my head.

Gyoza

Hide Chan Ramen’s Homemade Pan-Fried Dumplings with Ponzu mixed with grated Japanese radish & scallions.  (5 pcs for $7)

Our second appetizer was the Pan-Fried Dumplings with Ponzu mixed with grated Japanese radish and scallions.  This was a really interesting way of presenting dumplings.  I’ve never had panfried dumplings that didn’t need to be dipped in a sauce.  The grated Japanese radish (daikon) had a refreshingly cool taste and the ponzu gave it this slight citrus acidity.  The interesting thing was that my dumplings weren’t soggy.  Having mixed the ponzu into the grated radish really helped in keeping the dumpling skin crispy.  The dumplings themselves were stuffed with your typical garlic chive pork filling and tasted good but grated radishes really elevate this humble dish.

Hide Chan Ramen Homemade Tofu $7

Hide-Chan Ramen Homemade Tofu $7

Ahhh…. this was my favourite!  My last appetizer was amazing! This is Hide-Chan Ramen’s own Homemade Tofu.  I can still taste the tofu in my mouth till this day.  The tofu  was topped with bonito flakes and scallions with a side of freshly grated wasabi and dark soy sauce.  The tofu was really fresh and slightly grainy, visually the texture was similar to feta cheese but not as dense.  It was soft but enough to be picked apart with chopsticks without falling apart to easily.  The bonitos gave the tofu this smoky saltiness that it needs.  The fresh wasabi root gave it a subtle heat that complimented the ongoing freshness that you taste.  The tofu was served cold and it tastes so much better cold.   I loved this.  Given the chance, I would order this again and I probably would eat more tofu if all tofu tasted like this.

Hide-Chan Ramen’s Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen$13.50

After finishing all of the appetizers (we cleaned them up good), our ramen came.  Ben ordered the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen which had a tradition pork based broth with two slices of chasiu pork, kikurage mushroom (wood ear mushrooms), scallions, cabbage and nori.  {Sorry, he was too excited and messed up his bowl before I took the pic- but I swear to god it looked pretty}.  The noodles are the straight kind of ramen noodles and you can select the how firm you wanted the noodles.  Ben ordered his noodles medium firm.  The broth itself was really rich, savoury and borderline fatty.  It’s truly a pork broth.  You can really taste the fattiness of the broth and get that gelatinous, slippery feeling on your lips after taking a few sips.  It’s also very seasoned with salt so the flavours here are very heavy in every way.  Ben really liked it, the chashu pork itself was not fatty.  It was pretty lean, which he really preferred in this given how rich the broth was.

Hide-Chan Ramen’s Hakata Spicy Black Ramen $12.50

I got the Hakata Spicy Black Ramen which also came with the same tonkotsu broth but with an addition of a black spicy sauce, kikurage mushroom, cabbage and chashu pork (made usually of pork belly or pork shoulder meat).  The black spicy sauce is actually charred garlic oil.  Believe it or not, it didn’t taste burnt or smell burnt.  Instead, the charred garlic oil was really delicate and the garlic flavour blended really well into the pork broth.  Just like Ben’s ramen this was just as fatty, rich, salty.  This was probably the most, “in your face” ramen I have ever had.  I’ve also ordered my noodles extra firm too, which texturally was phenomenal.  The noodles were perfectly al dente and had that great crunch to them.  Believe me, you don’t want soggy soft noodles in a broth this rich (or any broth for that matter).

Overall, I really liked Hide-Chan Ramen.  Unlike other ramen joints, this place specializes in their tonkotsu pork broth.  I would say that the broth was fatty.  It’s rich for me, it actually was just borderline too fatty for me.  I wouldn’t be able to finish the entire bowl of broth.  That being said, the noodles and the meat worked well with the broth but the broth on it’s own would be too much for me to handle.  So for those who plan on eating light or don’t like that gelatinous feeling on your lips,  then this might not be the place for you.  If you’re adventurious and like bold, inexcusable, in your face flavour and fat –  then you must check this place out.
Hide-Chan Ramen on Urbanspoon

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