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Momofuku Noodle (lunch question)

Planning to take my gf for the veggie ramen, heard it was suppose to be good. Lunch, right when it opens, is that a good - less line/wait - time to aim for?

And... any recommendations for non vegetarian option/ramen? Remembered being mostly underwhelmed when I went years ago. But all the press and publicity is making me reconsider Chang. And to give it a try once more.

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  1. I had the hozon ramen this weekend and thought it was spectacular. i'd say it's their best noodle dish, aside from the chinese sausage, cashew, and spinach dish. while it may be a "vegetarian" ramen, it's not missing meat and no meat eater should hesitate to order it.

    the same goes for the shiitake bun. while the pork bun is the more popular, the shiitake isn't to be disregarded as an alternative for vegetarians. i like the shrimp the least of the current bun offerings.

    1. Avoid the scallion noodles veg ramen, i've had it many times (it was the only veg option forever) and its nothing special....
      Love the shitake buns, and whatever the pickled veg app/side of the day is. I haven't tried the hozon ramen yet.
      Weekday lunch will have minimal wait.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Ttrockwood

        The hozon ramen is the one getting the hype, and that's the one my gf is going to get. I'll get to hear where she ranks that with the other veggie ramens.

        But I'm the one that needs help, in this case. Definitely not vegetarian. And Momofuku wouldn't be my normal ramen destination.

        1. re: villainx

          You stole my chance to write up our very recent lunch at MNB. Oddly enough we were there for the exact same reason you are going; my GF is a vegetarian (I am not) and we heard good things about the hozon ramen.

          We went for a very late lunch (4:00, they take orders 'til about 4:30), it was a great time to go and there was absolutely no wait, we sat at the counter.

          We started by splitting an order of the shiitake buns and as mentioned by coasts and Ttrockwood they were really really good, I was not missing the pork, IMO they are a "must get" item. We also shared the pickles and I had the kimchi (if you like kimchi this is one to get, good amount of heat and good crunch in the thicker portions of cabbage - mouth just started watering thinking about it). Then my GF had the main reason for being there; the hozon ramen, a very nice dark broth with lots of flavor, a mid thick noodle with great bite, chick peas, kale, and these awesome cracker like things made from chick pea flour (I get to try all of here food but she doesn't get the same deal). I had the Momofuku ramen and absolutely loved it (I am quick to admit I am not a ramen expert but I do know what I like), taste wise the broth is fantastic (I like the mouth feel of Ippudo's a little more but that's nit picking), the noodles were fairly thin but not vermicelli thin, and I really enjoyed the texture, the charsu was very good, the pork shoulder was extremely good. I was very very happy with this ramen.

          Service was good, never felt rushed even thou we were there during the "break" between lunch and dinner.

          The veg ramen got us to try MNB but the overall experience makes us want to go back.

          1. re: Spiritchaser

            Great report! I definitely need to visit Noodle Bar again. Had two wonderful lunches at Noodle Bar in Toronto, and I agree with you (as usual) that although I'm not a ramen expert, I do know what I like, and I loved the original Momofuku ramen. I definitely want to try the hozon ramen and the shiitake buns. Also want the pretzel cake truffles since they're my favorite!

            1. re: ellenost

              Thank you ellenost.

              Pretzel cake truffles! We didn't even look at dessert because we were full so I didn't even see that (shame on us); just the name makes it sound like something we would enjoy, oh well, next time.

              1. re: ellenost

                I was fairly disenchanted with Momofuku's noodles mainly cuz I tried it early on, and I think it was before it got its leg/vision behind it, back when they sourced noodles from - I believe - Chinatown.

                Though honestly, I'm not super impressed with the Sun-sourced noodles either (from the other ramen places I've tried).

              2. re: Spiritchaser

                Well now i have to go for the hozon ramen! After my last mediocre scallion ramen there i kinda wrote the place off and would go to ssam instead (full disclosure i have a friend on staff at ssam who gets me off the menu veg dishes :)

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Please go and tell me what you think; it always cool to see how our tastes align with others.

          2. Went today and ... my gf didn't love it, with most of the fault being the soup. In the sense that hozon is like a miso product (per Eater article) it's fairly flavorful (and unctuous) but with the prominent note being salty. The rest of the components (especially the crunchy chickpeas) were good, but there's no way to avoid the soup. If you like miso ramen, hozon should be pretty good. If you don't, it's quite miso-y.

            The momofuku ramen ... I thought was unspectacular. Good enough to be enjoyable.

            Not sure if it's on the menu or not, but they do give extra noodles (kaedama).

            We got the shiitake buns. It was a little heavy on the hoisin (and would ask them to go easy on it next time) but it was good, very tasty - the shiitake was juicy and crispy. My gf found the hoisin too much though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: villainx

              the hozon flavor is most similar to doenjang, the Korean fermented soybean paste which is often made into a broth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doenjang

              my wife, who is generally sensitive to salt, enjoyed it. sorry you didn't have a better experience.

            2. Had dinner last night at Noodle Bar to try the new Hozon Ramen and Shiitake Buns. Loved them both! My sister joined me so we had a "ton" of stuff. My sister classed the shiitake buns as the "meatiest" vegetable dish she's eaten. Also loved the new corn dish, the spicy cucumbers, the special eggplant, and the pea shoots.