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Nov 19, 2006 06:26 PM

New York Style Ramen?

Kumako, a newcomer to Japantown in San Jose, California bills itself as serving "New York style" ramen. Both of the owners spent their careers in NY managing Japanese restaurants, including Men Kui Tei. I've been to Kumako twice now -

and am wondering if my issues with the product are typical of what you find in NYC. To me, the stock is too dilute, not just lighter in style, but watery and lacking meatiness and focus. The noodles are too soft. And, there's no attention to presentation. On the other hand, the roast pork is excellent, but can't quite compensate for the other minuses or justify the high price compared to the competition.

So, I thought I'd ask here, what defines New York style ramen?

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  1. i've never heard of that before, ny style ramen that is.

    otoh, we certainly get our fair share of your concerns at our ramen joints, thankfully not a perfect storm like all three problems at once, but overcooked noodles, etc happens, so its hard to say. most of us ramen fans out here complain about the chukasoba noodles more than anything else.

    here is a an old ramen shop article in the nytimes that will interest you:

    1. There's no such thing as NY style ramen. It hasn't been around long enough to have created its own style. Basically, I think what they're doing is a gimmick, like those places in NYC that claim to serve "mission style" burritos. Seems quite fallacious in either case. The only thing that can possibly be called NY style ramen might be the one served at Momofuku, though I don't feel to the need to waste my time with it again. Menkuitei is one of the places where you can get passable ramen, and it's been that way for a while. I think it's first necessary to make a good version of one of the Japanese styles of ramen and then branch out from there. So far no one has achieved that yet.

      1. Melanie,

        That's very interesting. As you may have seen, ramen debates can rage on this board. Though I have never found ramen in NY that beats great ramen in Tokyo on a cold day, good places here range from reasonably authentic (Minca) to reasonably nouveau or fusion (Momofuku). I am certain that bad places exist, but have never found a common "New York" ramen which meets your description.

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