Oodles And Oodles Of Ramen Noodles & A Sake Lesson

courtesy of urbandaddy.com

Good ramen makes me feel fat, simply because it’s a big portion of noodles, vegetables, meat and broth, and I find myself slurping the entire thing down to the very bottom of that massive bowl. That big bowl is always bigger than my head, and ask anyone, my head is abnormally large.

On a chilly evening a friend who not only loves Asian food, but knows quite a lot about it because he travels a lot, suggested that we stop by Sapporo in midtown for their tasty ramen. Never one to turn a new restaurant down, of course I went

We started with cold sake…

Side note about sake: Unless I’m freezing and want to warm up, I always order cold sake over hot sake. The flavors come out beautifully and are actually quite refreshing when you drink it cold. Not to sound cheesy, but the taste really does dance on your tongue. It is also usually a higher grade of sake than the sake that is served hot. One time, while sitting at a Japanese bar with a non-Asian girlfriend, the bartender who I was quite friendly with gave her a big toothy grin when she placed her order and even shook his head slightly. He said to her with a chuckle, “Americans always get the same thing, hot sake, salmon roll and spicy tuna roll.” He wasn’t trying to be mean, but just making an observation out loud. She was mortified, though I didn’t really see why she was, after all, she is American. It wasn’t until then that I began to notice that it was true. The majority of people, who don’t come from Asian families, that I have dined with always ordered hot sake over cold and many of them, after I asked, told me that they had never tried cold sake before. So just remember, the next time you order sake, try a cold one if you never have before. A lot of the time, hot sake is really just a lower grade sake that is heated so that you can’t taste that it’s cheap. Besides, with summer coming up, cold sake will really hit the spot.

After starting on a bottle of sake, we munched on pork gyoza, which are simply pork potstickers or dumplings. Not the best I have ever had, but I would order them again. The meat was flavorful. Though, the skin was a bit soggy and the bottom should have been crispier. And then our ramen came.  I wish I could have said steaming ramen, but it wasn’t.  Not that I minded that it wasn’t burning hot. It was at a temperature so that you could start eating it right away, which was a nice for me. But if you like it boiling, you would need to send it back to get it reheated. It might be strategic to get customers out faster or maybe our waitress just left it sitting out there too long.  I ordered the Shoyu ramen which has a soy sauce based broth, thin wavy noodles, pork slices and a fish cake. The broth was great. Simple and savory, I drank every drop of it. And to me, when it comes to ramen, the broth is very important. The pork was lean, I wish it had more fat like Minca pork slices do, but that’s just a personal preference. The noodles were tasty too, no complaints here. Overall, a tasty place to go for a bowl of ramen. Do I like it better than Minca? No. Would I go back? Definitely.

Note: It’s cash only.

6 out of 10

152 W 49th St, New York NY10019

-Joyce Huang

Sapporo Restaurant on Urbanspoon