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BEST RAMEN AT MISOYA

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A new restaurant will open this weekend. Misoya at 129 second ave.( near st. marks)
I had the opportunity to sample the food pre- opening. They focus on miso based ramen. Miso is so healthy. I liked the kome style better than the shiro. However, both were excellent. The kome had "fuller" flavor. The noodles were wavy and perfectly prepared. The broth was also perfect. The ramen here is far superior than other ramen places in NYC. Most are not Japanese even though they have Japanese names. IMHO Ippudo was my favorite up until now. Misoya's ramen I thought was better than Ippudo's. The prices here are more reasonable as well. They do not have an extensive menu. They have gyoza, which were really good. They have a hijiki tofu dish which was OK, but nothing special. The pork katsu was excellent. The seared tuna salad was very good. They will be adding new dishes I am told. I would certainly try any sashimi oriented dish, as the staff has alot of past experience with sashimi and sushi. The restaurant is Japanese owned and operated. The ramen is exceptional and the recipe is from very famous Japanese recipe. The place is small, the cooking is done downstairs. They are open for lunch, dinner, and stay open late( until midnight). I hope they add pork bun or chicken bun to their menu.

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Ramen Misoya
129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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  1. So this is what is going in the old Nori space? I really like Nori (except for the one time when they mismade an order for me and gave me crab which I'm highly allergic to, but I digress). How did you get to eat at the pre-opening? I look foward to another ramen option.

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    Nori
    129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    1. From a Village Voice blog post (blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/2011/09/ramen_misoya ), it sounds like the owner of Nori has set up a shop of this company- http://www.misoya.net/ .- which offers recipes, business models, etc. for setting up a miso ramen franchise....Ramen, gyoza, sashimi, katsu, pork buns...????...Hopefully they will concentrate on the ramen. And hopefully it won't go the way of Ramen Setagaya.

      1. I know this is a digression from your post but why do you say that miso is so healthy? Tasty for sure and I love all the things it goes into - soup, dressings, etc. But its tremendously high in sodium and not at all low fat. Put a scoop of miso into an already salt laden broth and you're probably at double the recommended salt intake for the day. Doesn't stop me from having ramen, but like Ivan Orkin said - don't kid yourself that ramen is healthy food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bkeats

          On another note - I will add Misoya to my list of places to try. How's the ramen compare to Totto, Hide-chan or Santouka?

          1. re: Bkeats

            The recipe on the corporate website lists two types of chicken fat as the first two ingredients in the broth. Actually the whole rise in popularity of shio ramen is a result of its' real and/or percieved, healthier value option vs. tonkotsu and miso soups.

            1. re: Bkeats

              Miso is healthy

            2. Very interesting, a branch of Misoya has also opened in Northern California in Santa Clara (silicon valley to be exact).

              According to a friend's review (not CH), the Santa Clara location's menu:

              1. Hokkaido style of miso:

              - Kome-miso ramen basic

              - Kome-miso ramen with cha-shu

              - Spicy Kome-miso ramen

              - Kimuchi Kome miso ramen

              2. Kyoto style of miso:

              - Shiro miso ramen basic

              - Shiro miso with Cha-shu

              - Shiro miso Vegetables Yasai

              - Shiro miso ramen Spicy

              - Shiro miso ramen Kimuchi

              3. Nagoya Hachyo style:

              - Nama miso ramen basic

              - Nama miso ramen with Cha-shu

              - Nama miso with Vegetable Yasai

              - Nama miso Kara Age (fried chicken)

              2 Replies
              1. re: K K

                That's from the Yelp review, right? On the corporate website, it describes some of the different miso used- but it's a little different:

                Edo-mai Miso- "Beloved taste of Edo-ites, mildly sweet rice miso". This may be the one called "Kome" mentioned above by OP. "Kome" means "rice"...Edo is old name for Tokyo.

                Hokkaido (dark) Miso- "Blend of Sado Island and Nigata miso, salty, red miso with mild spiciness." Most places would call this "aka-miso" I think. I guess this is made with rice as well.

                Shinshu (old timey way of referring to Nagano Prefecture) Mild Dark Miso- Blend of light and dark miso, slightly sour, and fragrant." Never heard of this stuff.

                Kyushu Mugi Miso- "Warm climate, well-ripened sweet tasting miso from Kyushu, made from wheat. Light to dark red color" Never heard of this stuff.

                ..Kyoto is known for white (shiro) miso such as sweet saikyo....Nagoya is famous for miso in general. Hachyo miso is made from only soybeans and mildler than others.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Thanks for the corporate website explanation, very helpful.

              2. this sounds exciting

                1. i ate here last weekend, ill post up my full review by the end of the week

                  1. I came on Sunday during lunch and had their lunch special. I was gonna try the Mame Ramen, but they were out so I go the Kome Ramen. I really enjoyed it.

                    It came with a Chicken Karage which was incredibly moist chicken and the fried outside is both moist and crispy. Tasty sweet sauce on top too.

                    I thought the Kome Ramen was really hearty amazing Ramen. Large portion of everything. Nice perfectly chewy, wavy noodles. Thick, pork heavy broth. Had corn, bamboo, ground meat, and interestingly potato wedges.

                    Excellent new Ramen option for the neighborhood, but they gotta do something about the music... a jazzy version of "My Favorite Things" from The Sound Of Music was on repeat the whole time.

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                    Ramen Misoya
                    129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                     
                     
                    4 Replies
                    1. re: MWinston

                      Don't let the corporate website and the feeling that this is a chain scare anyone off.
                      The ramen and other dishes are prepared with great care by Nori. You can watch him on the TV screen "real time" while he is in the kitchen. He puts his heart and soul , and knowledge of Japanese food into his cooking. His focus is on ramen, and I love the Hokkaido style kome ramen, especially the corn in it. I do think they have to add some things to the menu i.e. pork buns, chicken buns, maybe some rice dishes. Ramen will always be the focus, but to stay in business here in NYC one needs some other dishes. Ippudo and Momofuko have the formula for success with their extra dishes. Misoya has great ramen broth and noodles. I do want to see them vary from the corporate menu and add a few things that will help their success. It will also get the waitresses bigger tips. They have a great staff there. I went back the other night for a late night meal.

                      -----
                      Ippudo
                      65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      Ramen Misoya
                      129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                        I just went here for lunch. Maybe it was a fluke. What ruined it for us was the menma(bamboo shoots). They use really bad quality canned or prepackaged menma that totally leaves a bad aftertaste in the broth instead of making it in house like other places. I assume they stir fried all the vegs together with the miso before adding it to broth in typical hokkaido miso ramen fashion, which is why I could taste the funky menma in every sip of the broth. The thick cha shu was excellent though. The gyoza was pretty unremarkable other than the crispiness and the skin.

                        1. re: Ricky

                          Ricky
                          The menma(bamboo shoots ) are fresh , and prepared fresh everyday. If you ask Nori ( the owner) to show you , he will be glad to. I was there the other day, the ramen was great ( love the corn), the lunch special they throw in 3 gyoza or 4 pieces of fried chicken on the side. The chicken was not best pieces of chicken, the gyoza good.

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            They just tasted bad and off that day. And I happen to really love menma. I even love the prepackaged Yamachan menma.

                    2. Dropped by the Santa Clara California location of Misoya tonight.

                      The waitstaff wore black t-shirts. Front side says "I (heart) miso". Back side says

                      Miso Ya

                      New York & Silicon Valley

                      So yeah, one on each side of the coast.

                      1. I just reviewed Misoya:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811411

                        http://www.lauhound.com/2011/10/misoy...

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: Lau

                          Good review Lau. I concur with your thoughts. I liked the corn in the ramen also. I believe Nori will be working on the side dishes in the future. Right now, they are trying to make sure the ramen is good and consistent. It is a new restaurant with a new menu for him. They are also somewhat governed by corporate at the moment, so varying from the menu is not an option yet. When they realize, if they add some of the buns like Ippudo and Momofuko have, and some other dishes like maybe mentaiko rice, etc it will help alot. So I think in 6 months we will see many additions to the menu. I will have to go back and check out the bamboo shoot issue that Ricky mentioned. i did not notice any problem with them, compared to other ramen places. I rate Misoya's ramen, among the best in the city, the side dishes mediocre, the tonkatsu however, was very good

                          -----
                          Ippudo
                          321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            yah it'd be great if they'd step up their side dishes. i didn't have any issue witht the bamboo either and i agree that misoya's ramen is among the better ramen in the city

                            1. re: Lau

                              Like I said I think it was a fluke. I'm more than willing to go back again and try the nagoya style miso ramen. I hope they start serving a chashu don because their cha shu is excellent.

                              1. re: Ricky

                                yah their cha shu is very good, so much better than other ramen houses in NY

                                1. re: Lau

                                  If or when you go back to Misoya, tell the owner Nori, that they need to increase their side dishes. I will keep doing that until they do it. They have to fight the corporate model to get it done, but if NYC needs that, then they should do it

                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                    Why would you do this? Aren't there are enough pan-Japanese food restaurants in the city? You made a similar appeal w/ regards to Zabb Elee to ad pad thai to their menu. Let's allow these regional and specialty places to thrive by concentrating on their expertise. Their menus shouldn't have to serve as a panacea for everyone's broad cultural food craving.

                                    1. re: Silverjay

                                      i actually dont want them to increase their side dishes, id rather either have them make them better or just not have them

                                      im a big proponent of specialists restaurants, in asia (my personal food paradise), most restaurants are specialists and it leads to a restaurant being outstanding at a particular dish or type of food and i much prefer that as opposed to a jack of all trades master of none approach

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        Yes. In Japan, my personal food paradise, this is an absolute given. Many of the great ramen shops these days do not even offer side dishes. I'm not advocating that for Misoya, but miso ramen, gyoza, katsu, tori age, seared tuna, sashimi, pork buns, mentaiko rice and more? Sounds like a regionally schizophrenic Japanese airport foodcourt.

                                        1. re: Silverjay

                                          Or a marketing gimmick to rebrand as "izakaya" for trendy hipster dining.

                                          The Silicon Valley California branch of Misoya has the same menu and side dishes pretty much just chicken karaage and gyoza...just another distractive option to build up more protein, grease, and calories. I think some of the mid 1990s Japanese TV dramas did show some footage of ramen with gyoza, except when the characters went to a yatai that had one kind of ramen only...and probably brainwashed some of the Taiwanese and SE Asians who saw subtitled versions of the soaps to think gyoza has to go with ramen (who were the early adopters of the ramen craze before it hit the USA). I'm more curious if ramen and gyoza are found on the menu in the chuka ryori restaurants in Japan, or if only one and not the other (even if ramen meant a simplified version that only had chive and egg and veg).

                                          It's weird...Yelp reviews for Silicon Valley Misoya...most of the Asian American (non Japanese) types slam the broths for being super salty yet overlook the uniqueness of this specialty (well 3 regional variants), the nice firmness of the noodles, or the fact that if you ask nicely ahead of time, waitstaff can provide additional base broth to dilute and make the bowl less salty....yet the same folks have no problems going to their favorite MSG enhanced tonkotsu ramen joints of which there are way too many. Wonder if NY Misoya will have this kind of review phenomenon.

                                          Though the Nagoya style miso ramen with the ebi furai is a bit of a strange combination together.

                                          1. re: K K

                                            The nagoya style miso ramen with ebi furai might be a play on Kishimen.

                                            1. re: K K

                                              Yes, in Japan, gyoza and ramen.are ubiquitous partners, especially at chuka-oriented places. That is usually with a relative thin, lighter shoyu broth... I can't really speak specifically to Asian-American tastes on Japanese food. But there are a lot of dumbasses of all denominations on Yelp...Anyway, speaking of ramen in New York , my wife is saying that Tabata, the new Burmese run Japanese style place in Hell's Kitchen, makes a damn good broth. I had to tell her after the fact it is a Burmese run, but anyway....Hmm.....She said they do a nice seafoody shio broth....

                                              -----
                                              Tabata
                                              540 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018

                                              1. re: Silverjay

                                                haha a burmese run japanese place....wow, i sort of want to try it just for that fact

                                                1. re: Silverjay

                                                  I wasnt too impressed with Tabata, the broth was decent, the noodles and chashu were just average. Check out Tsushima for their shio ramen, seafood and pork based on Wed.

                                                  -----
                                                  Tsushima
                                                  141 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

                                                  Tabata
                                                  540 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018

                                                  1. re: Ricky

                                                    Went to Misoya today and posted on Lau's thread- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8114... . Wife thought Tabata's soup was better, richer, more complex.

                                                    1. re: Silverjay

                                                      People who like Momofuku ramen and think ramen places should serve pork buns should not be reviewing ramen! Momofuku is not a Japanese ramen restaurant and real Japanese ramen restaurants do not serve pork buns.

                                                      1. re: Silverjay

                                                        Silverjay I read your old post on Misoya. I still think Misoya's Hokkaido ramen is the the best I've had. The pork is usually nice and fresh and juicy. The waitresses are Japanese, I'm not sure where, how or when you had a Chinese waitress. The owner and chef ( that you see on TV) is Japanese. However, I have not tried Tabata or Tsushima, but I will try them for sure. The other Village ramen places, I believe are all Korean owned, one is Setagaya, which I think is not good at all.
                                                        As far as koby's post, it is my opinion, that serving pork buns or other dishes in a ramen place in Manhattan, will help make it successful. It will also help the waiters and waitresses make larger tips. It will keep a place in business. If you look at the " so no Japanese" Ippudo <cough> they have great buns. Misoya initially had to stick to the menu they agreed to when they became a branch of the California sister restaurant. But Nori, who had a sushi restaurant before Misoya, in the same space, had some nice appetizers. He was not allowed to add them, now he has added a few. That will help the success of the restaurant. NYC is not Japan, where there are strictly ramen restaurants, strictly tempura, crab, eel, etc It doesn't work in NYC.

                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                          Minca/Kambi and Kubota are Japanese owned EV ramen places. I have no issue with ramen places that offer side dishes. But sashimi and tempura, are broad categories of items that will stretch the kitchen thin and they are not particularly complementary to a bowl of ramen anyway.... The girls at Misoya were definitely not Japanese. And the chashu was pretty lousy. This was rather close to their opening so maybe they've turned over staff and fine tuned the pork. I'll swing by again for a bowl...Speaking of ramen, Ramen Yebisu is a Japanese run place set to open in Williamsburg soon. There is also an interesting uni maze-men at Yuji, which is a weekend pop-up also in W'burg.

                                                          1. re: Silverjay

                                                            I don't like Kambi ramen, I thought they were Korean owned, I guess not. Misoya is better now than when they first opened. The owner has worked hard to make a good ramen and has gotten better at it. He prides himself in the quality of all the ingredients. The pork I think is better also. As far as the food besides ramen. He added just 2 tartare dishes. They are good. He is not going to make it a sushi restaurant. There is no room for that , and Nori is snot a sushi chef. He is a good cook though. So I imagine he will offer specials , rather than expanding the menu.The waitress es are Japanese now. At least the ones that are there when I go there. I recommend you request to talk to the chef, you will see from talking to him that he wants the best, authentic Japanese ramen.

                              2. New Hiyashi Ramen at Misoya. One of the better cold ramen's I've had in NYC. Cold noodles in a sesame shiro miso broth, topped with a hanjuku tamago, cha shu, ground pork, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chopped hazelnuts, and they give a side bottle of apple vinegar to add to the ramen.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Ricky

                                  ohhhh i love hiyashi chuka, so hayashi ramen sounds interesting

                                  1. re: Ricky

                                    I had the Hyashi Ramen at Misoya today. The taste was excellent, both with and without the apple vinegar. They say it is a Kyoto dish. The broth is more of a sauce for the noodles and lettuce tomato and meat. The pork was both ground and cut into strips and very delicious.
                                    I have had other types of cold ramen but more with a kind of sour taste. This was quite full bodied with a wonderful bunch of flavors that blended well together.

                                    1. re: Ricky

                                      Tried it last night. Thought it was alright. We've actually been making a goma-miso salad dressing lately that is similar to the broth. This version at Misoya was fine. Chashu was a bit dry. I also ordered two slices of grilled chashu. This was really lousy. Almost close to being gristly. It was salty and overly fatty in taste. Waitresses weren't Japanese but are very sweet and helpful. I'm inspired to make the dish at home with our dressing now.

                                      1. re: Silverjay

                                        Their chashu is really inconsistent. One time I traded slice for slice with my dining partner and his was fatty and moist, mine was thin, hard and dry. Everytime I got its one Japanese waitress and one non.

                                        1. re: Silverjay

                                          im surprised at the bad pork. I always enjoy the portk. But I will say the narrower pieces in the cold ramen were much drier than usual. As far as the waitresses go there is only one non-japanese waitress ( Nepalese ) who works there, the rest are Japanese, I am sure of this.But all the waitresses are very nice.

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                            Does it really matter if the waitresses are Japanese or not when the chefs are? Even Rokurinsha in Tokyo has a few chinese waitresses

                                            1. re: Ricky

                                              I'm pretty sure they were Chinese at Misoya as well. Doesn't matter to me, but I think it's interesting.

                                              1. re: Ricky

                                                It doesn't hurt the food at all. But I do like Japanese waitresses in Japanese restaurants. And just to get my last 2 cents in. There are no Chinese waitresses in Misoya. I am 100% sure.

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                  there was an indian waitress when i was there and the other waitress was asian, but not japanese and i dont think she was chinese either so im not sure what she was

                                                  i believe he chefs were japanese though

                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    The head chef is Japanese 9 he is the owner) ,, the waitresses are Japanese except for the one from Nepal ,,but she may be Tibetan. The staff in general is very nice.

                                        2. Just had lunch. Best ramen in NYC. Spicy ramen was delicious