Friday, June 19, 2009

Ramen Setagaya University Pl 06-19-2009

Location: 90 University Pl.
Time: 6:30pm
People: RB and myself

Feelings: Setagaya opened their third ramen shop in Union Square area specializing in shio based ramen, so as a writer of something called "Ramen and Friends," I had a resposiblity to go. Their second location on St. Marks offers shoyu based ramen, which I have not tried. Although widely popular, I was not a huge fan of their first location on 1st Avenue, but I thought I would give this new conveniently located version a try.

I ordered shio tsuke men, a dish served with separate bowls for ramen and broth. The noodles were thicker than most other ramen joints and less egg-y, almost to the point where I felt I was eating thin udon rather than ramen noodles. The portion of noodles was quite large, and for $9.50, it is a great deal. Nowadays it is hard to find noodle soup for less than $10 unless you go to a hole-in-the-wall shop. However, the broth of this inexpensive dish was overly salty for my taste. I understand that they specialize in shio (salt in Japanese) ramen, but does it have to be that salty to be considered salt ramen? As I consumed a sip of fatty sodium induced broth, I felt my throat tighten up and my tongue became numb.

RB enjoyed his $12 chashu shio ramen although his dish came five minutes later than I received my ramen. He had Asahi beer to compliment the saltiness of his ramen, but he still thought the broth was too salty. But he said, "It's shio ramen. Of course it's salty."

We left Setagaya with full stomachs within our budget, but the thirst drove us to near madness. I thought I saw an oasis on the horizon, but it was only Jamba Juice. I feel Setagaya lacks the greasy feel I require in a great ramen joint. Setagaya is too clean and polished for the sake of ramen. (If you want to go posh, then go for Ippudo.) My favorite ramen joint in the city still remains to be Rai Rai Ken.

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