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Jan 31, 2010 10:47 AM

momofuku noodle bar type places in boston???

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. 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

      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

        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

          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

          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

            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

            What about Ken's makes it less than passable?

          3. 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:


            3 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              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: MC Slim JB

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

              2. 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. 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. 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

                      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

                        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: is pretty amazing.

                        1. re: durjoy

                          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: durjoy

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

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

                                  1. re: mats77

                                    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.