Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ramen Kuboya 03-12-2011

Location: 536 E. 5th St.
Time: 1pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: The day after the earthquake and tsunami hit the eastern Japan, I was surprised to find myself maintaining the famous Japanese stoicism and fatalistic sense of being. There are reasons why there has not been any looting in Japan after the quake, and that is due to the way we approach life-- "Shikata ga nai," as we say. Nothing can be done about it, is the literal translation, and we accept our fate as it is and keep moving forward. On that day in particular, I wanted to be around the Japanese people and food to feel "Shikata ga nai" to further maintain my inner peace. The day like this, I need ramen.

Ramen Kuboya is located right next door to the well established ramen shop, Minca. Their ambitious choice of location made me even more curious about their ramen. The interior did not scream Japanese or ramen shop at all. With wooden tables, brick walls and French music, it gave the vibe of a new American brunch spot.

RB and I both ordered their wafu style ramen ($11), which came with Japanese style broth without tonkotsu (pork bone broth). It was light and flavorful without excessive amounts of salt or grease. The noodles were nicely thin and chewy, and I was impressed with how fresh and tasty toppings were. I felt the sense of care from my bowl of ramen. New Yorkers who are used to a sinfully greasy bowl of ramen with tons of toppings might not be happy with this delicately flavored dish. I also don't recall tasting ramen quite like this in Japan, so I appreciate this new tasty twist.

The ultimate question is, which one would you go--Minca or Kuboya?
Here are the answers:

1) If you're eating alone - Minca
2) If you're on a hot date -Kuboya
3) If you're on a bad date and want to go home early - Minca
4) If you have a stroller - Kuboya
5) If you're a vegan - Minca
6) If you love good shrimp gyoza- Minca

The quality of ramen is equally good at Minca and Kuboya, so I would decide mainly by the atmosphere.