"" What's She Eating Now?: Terakawa Ramen, Una Gyoza Por Favor

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Terakawa Ramen, Una Gyoza Por Favor

Despite the proliferation of ramen joints of late I was excited to hear about the May opening of Terakawa Ramen, which I learned about in Chopsticks, a magazine available almost exclusively in the vestibule of Japanese restaurants. Upon entering, however, my enthusiasm was tempered by uninspired atmosphere and an odor somewhat reminiscent of a highway rest stop.

Not knowing if it would be a wise decision or not we soldiered on, not comforted in the least by the shout of “Una gyoza por favor,” coming from the kitchen or the gansta rap emanating from the speakers. My dining companion ordered the shoyu ramen set with gyoza. I ordered the Terakawa ramen. Terakawa does not have a beer and wine license we learned while ordering, which sent me to the 7-11 around the corner where it was a disappointment but not a surprise not to find any Kirin, Sapporo or Asahi to go with our meal. A tallboy of Stella would have to do.

I got back just in time for the arrival of the food. The gyoza wrappers were good and the dumplings properly pan fried, but the filling was somewhat dull and non-descript. The shoyu ramen broth was similarly flat, neither salty nor rich in pork flavor. The pork, which was the same in both soups, tasted better than it looked but was average at best and overly fatty. The highlight of the shoyu was its wavy noodles, which had good texture and flavor and were well cooked.

The trip was salvaged by the Terakawa ramen. The broth was rich and sweet and a good complement to the ingredients including pork, burdock root, bamboo shoots, scallions, egg and pickled ginger. The thin noodles were good, but I wondered whether the wavy noodles of the shoyu may have worked better with the house broth. All in all, it’s hard to say whether the Terakawa was good, or just good by comparison.

With all the good ramen in this city it’s hard to justify a return visit to Terakawa, unless I find myself with a restraining order prohibiting me from the East Village. The next time the craving strikes it will be Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200, straight to Rai Rai Ken for me.

Terakawa Ramen

18 Lexington Ave
(between 22nd St & 23rd St)
New York, NY 10010
(212) 777-2939

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