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Tampopo in Japantown--More to noodles than dough

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steve drucker Apr 22, 2001 10:40 AM

Attending a two day conference at the Radisson Miyako in Japantown this week, we had the opportunity to eat once each at Sapporo-ya and Mifune.

On successive days, each served us absolutely superb freshly made noodles.

They were so good that Bob, our marketing director and affirmed Italian pasta bigot and exotic food hater, ate every bite.

But there was one big difference: The broth at Mifune were far superior to that served at Sapporo-ya. The ramen broth at Sapporo-ya had some kind of chemical magic--I don't know whether it was bullion or a commercial soup base.

The Mifune broth was light but true, and achieved richness only when the egg served as part of Nebeyaku Udon was stirred in.

The thin slices of rolled roasted pork shoulder in the Sapporo-ya ramen were superb. Warned by the waitron that the Sapporo-ya pancake with shrimp was a 15 minute order item we ate the ramen first. The pancake was about a 1/4 inch thick, very eggy and definitely savory, with over cooked thinly sliced shrimp on top, and slathered with a brown bottled sauce with dancing dried coconut atop the sauce. For our tastes, we scraped off the sauce and coconut.

I really liked both places. Mifune with its 80 or so seats was bustling and busy. Sapporo-ya, upstairs in the mini-mall at the corner of Webster and Post, was much smaller and intimate.

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    Deb H. RE: steve drucker Apr 23, 2001 01:36 PM

    Was the 'pancake with shrimp' at Sapporo-ya okonomiyaki? If so, the dancing dried coconut on top of the sauce was probably dried bonito fish flakes (katsuo bushi). Link below is to the Tokyo Food Page description of okonomiyaki.

    Best,
    Deb H.

    Link: http://www.bento.com/rf_ok.html

    1 Reply
    1. re: Deb H.
      s
      steve drucker RE: Deb H. Apr 23, 2001 02:59 PM

      Yup--You may be right, they well could have been bonito--but the sauce was sufficiently sweet that the fish flavor was masked and they weren't tan but minute and whitish.

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