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momofuku noodle bar type places in boston???

mainecoastchef Jan 31, 2010 10:47 AM

I've been cooking a ton out of this new book, anyone know a place in boston that would be in the style of momofuku ??

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  1. Luther RE: mainecoastchef Jan 31, 2010 01:07 PM

    You can't even get a passable bowl of "regular" ramen around here... sorry

    Though if you want other noodle soups (HK-style, Thai) or steamed pork buns or Korean food... there are options

    7 Replies
    1. re: Luther
      another_adam RE: Luther Jan 31, 2010 02:18 PM

      In my book, Ken's is quite passable- maybe not fantastic, but definitely a decent bowl of ramen (particularly if you shell out for the Nishiyama ramen, and get shio+butter). In fact, I might have said that it's just about the *only* Japanese or Korean noodle dish that is passable in the area, since there's really no great soba, udong, guksu, naengmyeon, etc.

      However, in spite of the name, I don't think of momofuku noodle bar as all that noodle-oriented a place, anyway... Although there's nowhere really that style, maybe you'd like Shiki in Brookline, for an assortment slightly fusion-type small Japanese plates?

      1. re: another_adam
        mainecoastchef RE: another_adam Jan 31, 2010 02:30 PM

        thanks for the input, apparently the whole northeast is a noodle wasteland. I have been making variations at home but wanted to experience a "good" restaurant style to compare mine to see if I'm close.

        1. re: mainecoastchef
          kobuta RE: mainecoastchef Feb 14, 2010 02:06 PM

          Wow, waste land? Chinatown has decent noodle soups, and NYC certainly has some really good noodle soups that are darn close to what you'd find in HK and perhaps and China, where soup noodles have an even longer history than ramen does in Japan.

        2. re: another_adam
          hckybg RE: another_adam Jan 31, 2010 02:32 PM

          Do you reject all the noodle options at Porter Exchange? Just curious, as I find several to be quite good, especially Tempopo. I just had a curry udon noodle bowl with chicken and egg last night that was great and comforting.

          As for the original poster's question, the new East by Northeast in Inman Square and Myers + Chang in the South End are the most Momofuku-like places I have found here. Neither is an exact replica of David Chang, nor do they aspire to be, but both have modern riffs on traditional Chinese dishes and their own versions of pork belly buns. Both restaurants are excellent, in my opinion.

          1. re: another_adam
            Luther RE: another_adam Feb 1, 2010 03:15 AM

            I don't understand the positive opinions of Ken's. The egg and pork are cold and overcooked, and the broth is fairly flavorless (specifically referring to the one you mentioned). The noodles are prepared rather well, though. Ramen contains an awful lot of ingredients (compared to, say, wontonmin) and the ingredients need to be balanced, or at least make sense (compared to, say, bun bo hue or laksa where it's kind of just a happy deluge of powerful flavors). I'd rather make instant ramen at home and put the appropriate, well-prepared toppings in than eat a bowl of Ken's ramen and suffer bad ingredients.

          2. re: Luther
            BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: Luther Jan 31, 2010 02:33 PM

            What about Ken's makes it less than passable?

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
              Luther RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Feb 1, 2010 03:16 AM

              see above

          3. MC Slim JB RE: mainecoastchef Feb 1, 2010 09:07 AM

            Ken's is my favorite ramen in town, but I'm no proper judge of the dish. Fascinating NY Times article on ramen obsessiveness in Japan, which despite my love of Tampopo as my favorite food movie, I had no idea existed to the extent that it currently does: http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/...


            3 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB
              lipoff RE: MC Slim JB Feb 1, 2010 10:18 AM

              Was going to suggest the NY Times article as well.

              I'm no expert on ramen, but I've had friends who've enjoyed both Ken's in the Super 88, Ittyo in Porter Square, and Men-tei in Back Bay. I've had excellent soba at Shiki in Brookline, and very good Chinese beef noodle soups at Wang's in Somerville and Jo Jo Taipei in Allston.

              As for more vaguely "Momofuku" like places, I would add the new Ginger Park to that list.

              1. re: lipoff
                Beachowolfe RE: lipoff Jan 29, 2011 09:38 AM

                Ginger Park is closed

              2. re: MC Slim JB
                fishmanator RE: MC Slim JB Jan 28, 2011 12:12 PM

                I had the noodles at the shop in that Times picture at 7AM. One of the top breakfast in my life.

              3. r
                RoyRon RE: mainecoastchef Feb 1, 2010 11:09 AM

                Ramen in Japan is almost a religion. As noted in the NYT article people are passionate about their favorite places and the good news is that in Tokyo there are literally thousands of places to choose from. Some of my favorite memories of living Japan are of the various Ramen shops I went to but sadly there is absolutely nothing in Boston that even comes close. Ken's is not bad and probably comes the closest but , in my opinion, nothing in the Porter Exchange is worth going to. It's amazing that such a simple dish is so difficult to get absolutely perfect.

                1. m
                  mainecoastchef RE: mainecoastchef Feb 14, 2010 07:51 AM

                  happy to report Myers & Chang was pretty good. The atmosphere was friendly and the food was decent. I am doing better things in my own kitchen though.

                  1. ecwashere7 RE: mainecoastchef Feb 14, 2010 10:22 AM

                    I apologize for going off-topic, but does anyone know what to look for when buying your own noodles at a place like H Mart? I was in there the other day looking at noodles with the intent of making my own ramen and was completely overwhelmed by the options. David Chang suggests Kansui noodles, but I don't think I'd be able to find them anywhere locally (If they were at H Mart, I wouldn't have known it).

                    So any advice you can share would be awesome (things to look for, etc.).

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: ecwashere7
                      mainecoastchef RE: ecwashere7 Feb 14, 2010 01:36 PM

                      I had the same problem at Mings, 8 million types of noodles, go to the fresh section and still nothing that says ramen so I am going to make my own this week. Mings was an eye opening experience though, I could spend a half a day in there.

                      1. re: mainecoastchef
                        durjoy RE: mainecoastchef Feb 14, 2010 02:17 PM

                        A few thoughts from a recent NYC-transplant (but Boston native):

                        1) I've had a few good bowls of Ramen at Wagamama-- the Pru was a little inconsistent when it first opened, but it has settled down. I recognize that Wagamama is not David Chang, but it's pretty decent for what it is. I also like that our three in town are the only three in the US.

                        2) North by Northeast strikes me as the most "Momofuko" that I've been to. They're still getting their menu together, but the noodles are fresh.

                        3) Love (LOVE) Myers and Chang, but never even noticed traditional Ramen available there.

                        And if you happen to be in NYC: http://www.ippudo.com/ny/ is pretty amazing.

                        1. re: durjoy
                          mainecoastchef RE: durjoy Feb 14, 2010 04:46 PM

                          no ramen at M&C, they should though it would fit well with what they are doing. The food was good there just not as good as it could be. Lacking depth I would say. Great atmosphere and very friendly staff, I would go there often if I lived in Boston.

                          1. re: mainecoastchef
                            Alcachofa RE: mainecoastchef Feb 15, 2010 05:00 AM

                            What specifically did you order?

                          2. re: durjoy
                            headmaster RE: durjoy Feb 14, 2010 05:48 PM

                            I just need to chime in, because I find the David Chang aura hilarious. I was one of David's high school teachers in Maryland long ago, and I loved the kid, but never would have foreseen this. None of us, even his most ardent admirers, would ever have dreamed of writing the sentence "I realize that [so and so] is not David Chang..."

                            Okay, end of name dropping.


                            1. re: headmaster
                              hckybg RE: headmaster Feb 14, 2010 05:56 PM

                              He would definitely agree with you. I went to see him at Harvard Book Store and his major refrain was "I have no idea how this happened, I am very lucky." He told of how he has done the wrong thing almost every time he had a choice and yet it has worked out quite well.

                              1. re: hckybg
                                headmaster RE: hckybg Feb 14, 2010 06:30 PM

                                Darn! He was here, signing?? Oh that would have been a hoot. A few years ago, several of us who taught him were attending a conference in NYC. I tried to organize an outing to his restaurant (the manager was THRILLED at the idea that we might show up and heckle him!!!) but schedules didn't work out. Such a shame I missed the book signing!

                                1. re: headmaster
                                  hckybg RE: headmaster Feb 14, 2010 08:08 PM

                                  It was in mid-December. He was very smart and endearing and gave each customer a handshake and a nice note in their book. Not at all an arrogant guy in person.

                                  1. re: hckybg
                                    SmartCookie RE: hckybg Feb 15, 2010 07:10 AM

                                    When looking for fresh ramen noodles, look for "Chaku Soba"; that is the Japanese name for them.

                                    1. re: SmartCookie
                                      Luther RE: SmartCookie Feb 15, 2010 01:22 PM

                                      * chuka soba

                              2. re: headmaster
                                scotty27 RE: headmaster Jan 28, 2011 05:12 AM

                                I bet he didn't cook for you!

                                1. re: scotty27
                                  mats77 RE: scotty27 Jan 28, 2011 06:27 AM


                                  1. re: mats77
                                    djd RE: mats77 Jan 28, 2011 10:41 AM

                                    Ha, I saw this thread when searching to see if anyone had asked about hand-pulled noodles, and immediately dismissed it because I too have read that cookbook and the emphasis is not on noodles! People I know who have gone to the restaurant talk only about the pork buns. Should've read beyond the thread title.

                        2. r
                          RoyRon RE: mainecoastchef Jan 28, 2011 11:58 AM

                          This is a bit off the subject but I recommend seeing the movie The Ramen Girl for a very entertaining look at the ramen culture in Japan. It is available on NetFlix. It is in English with subtitles when there is Japanese.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: RoyRon
                            Stride RE: RoyRon Jan 28, 2011 12:03 PM

                            Or "Tampopo", which will leave you with a noodle craving for sure!

                            1. re: Stride
                              yumyum RE: Stride Jan 28, 2011 12:04 PM

                              +1 My favorite movie.

                              1. re: yumyum
                                StriperGuy RE: yumyum Jan 28, 2011 04:07 PM

                                Awwwww, I love Tampopo too.

                                1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                            2. re: RoyRon
                              MC Slim JB RE: RoyRon Jan 28, 2011 12:47 PM

                              I wondered about Ramen Girl, will have to check it out. Tampopo is my favorite food-themed movie, too.


                              1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                              1. re: RoyRon
                                another_adam RE: RoyRon Jan 29, 2011 09:41 AM

                                Or, speaking to an area of noodle culture that I *really* wish we had in Boston, the movie 'Udon' is also delightful! I'm pretty sure there are no places around with in-house udon, but are there any markets where good frozen udon can be found these days? (The usual suspects like Reliable seem to mainly have the ubiquitous Shirakiku- their Sanuki udon is OK, but sort of boringly... uniform. Does Ebisuya have a wider selection?)

                                Shirakiku Restaurant
                                13 Broad St, Nashua, NH 03064

                              2. digga RE: mainecoastchef Jan 28, 2011 05:53 PM

                                Old post, but since it's been dredged up, to the OP - I noticed your handle...have you tried Pai Men Miyake in Portland, ME? We tried it a couple of weekends ago and, though not replicating the best ramen we've had in Tokyo, it was wonderful, particularly B's kimchee/pork belly ramen. The interior was cool (we were there for Sunday lunch, but could imagine a rockin' Sat night there), cool guys waiting on us (in a good, not annoyingly hipster, way), and a well-edited food and drink menu (not a bazillion items). It reminded us Bostonians that we NEED a place like this in the Greater Boston area. Why hell don't we?!

                                I haven't been to Sapporo in ages but recent reports sound like there's been improvement. I used to love it in my college days, but in my old age, it seemed less appealing. I have to return.

                                1. MC Slim JB RE: mainecoastchef Jan 29, 2011 10:14 AM

                                  Contributing to an ancient dredged-up thread, a few places around town are doing the kind of pork belly buns that are really popular at Momofuku Noodle Bar, which are indeed terrific. I've had similar ones at Myers + Chang, East by Northeast, and Clio (from the bar menu).


                                  East by Northeast
                                  1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                    Jenny Ondioline RE: MC Slim JB Jan 29, 2011 10:41 AM

                                    Kantin at the HKM food court has been doing these buns with both pork belly and Peking duck for several months now.

                                    1095 Commonwealth Ave Ste 203, Boston, MA 02215

                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                      MC Slim JB RE: Jenny Ondioline Jan 29, 2011 01:21 PM

                                      I think many Taiwanese places -- Shangri-La, Taiwan Cafe, JoJo Taipei come to mind -- do a traditional version of a similar dish called gua bao (same mantou bun and crisp pork belly, plus mustard greens and something crunchy, crushed peanuts?), but I only went with the fancier versions. The Peking duck bun you mention hits many similar notes. I have to spend some time at Kantin!


                                      149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                                      1095 Commonwealth Ave Ste 203, Boston, MA 02215

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