Are you sick of reading about me eating Ramen? Too bad. Because I will continue to eat, talk about, dream about, and write about Ramen until my dying day. So get used to it! To make matters easier, I’ve developed a rating system for my Ramen escapades. Four criteria; Broth, Noodles, Toppings, and that certain Je-ne-sais-quoi that makes a perfect bowl of the stuff–this takes into account things like meat and toppings ratio, temperature, etc. Each of these falls on a scale of one to five, for a total possible score of 20. When I find my perfect 20, I’ll put down the pen, pick back on the chopsticks, and gorge myself until I never want to eat the dish again.
Ramen Thukpa is located on the corner of Commerce St. and 7th Avenue South, in the West Village. Its nondescript exterior and general lack of patrons caused me to avoid the restaurant for over a year, but I was wrong to do so, and I’ll regret that time wasted every day. Now I frequent the spot almost weekly, either for one of their Ramen variations, their extraordinary Dan Dan Noodle, their Roast Duck Noodle Soup, or their House Cold Noodle. The cucumber salad and the soup dumplings ain’t half bad either. I’m partial to this place because it’s about a two minute walk from my apartment (don’t get any ideas, you creeps), but even if it weren’t a neighborhood haunt, I’d still give it high marks.
For this particular meal, I got the West Ramen. It comes with a creamy chicken and pork miso broth, Chashu pork, wood-ear mushrooms, and corn. I added spicy miso paste, and Menma, which are those yummy little seasoned, fermented bamboo shoots.
This is a solid bowl of Ramen. The noodles are perfect; a little bit bouncy, not soggy or overcooked. The broth is rich, but not overwhelming. The toppings are tasty, though I could do with a little more of everything, and the altogether effect is satisfying and familiar, tasty enough for you to finish almost the whole bowl, but it doesn’t leave you salivating for more. It’s a no-frills meal I’ll happily eat again. All things considered, I give the West Ramen a 15 out of 20. Now, I know that this score seems modest based on my praise, but here’s the thing, Ramen has the potential to simply blow your mind; to satisfy on so many different levels at the same time. I know the ideal bowl is out there, awaiting my consumption, and I need to leave some room to grow into that perfect score.