Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is a household name in the food broadcast world, but his profile in the New York dining scene hasn’t been quite what it used to be. While his flagship Morimoto in Meatpacking District is still perpetually packed, critics seem to agree that the venue is really more appropriate for a night out than a serious dinner. I haven’t been to Morimoto yet so I can’t say definitively whether I agree with critics, but when the Iron Chef decided to get into that ever popular ramen shop business, I knew I had to check it out. At the moment, New York is having a great time in the ramen department, so the standard to please the ramen lovers in the city would be quite high. Overall, my recent visit on a Saturday lunch was pleasant; the surprise was that the ramen was not the star at this joint.
My dining companion and I ordered a number of appetizers to start the meal, and I loved all of them. Typically, ramen shops pay more attention to the ramen dishes than the ones that come before. If you look at the appetizers in Momosan’s menu, they look fairly predictable. That didn’t mean I absolutely enjoyed the fresh zuke maguro (soy marinated tuna with tataki cucumber), which would be an ideal dish to stimulate your taste bud before the heavier dishes come in. Pork and chive gyoza with ginger scallion sauce served on an iron skillet also had nice texture to it, and my dining companion was raving about pork chashu salad with cucumber, romaine and spicy garlic sauce, another dish that was perfect for a leisurely weekend lunch in the summer, with nice balance of flavor and texture. Now onto the ramen. The selection at Momosan is rather small (four), and I figured the classic tonkotsu ramen with pork chashu would be the way to go instead of other fancier options. The ramen was delicious, having noodles with right degree of firmness and the broth that was delightfully aromatic. Is this one of the best ramens in the city? I probably would give that distinction to other heavy hitters like Totto, but the tonkotsu at Momosan wasn’t bad at all.
I’ve been hearing that Momosan has been absolutely packed since its opening in the spring. If that is still the case, you should try for lunch time, where the dining space has fewer people and you won’t have problem getting seated right away. The restaurant has sake, wine and beer options that you can complement your meal with. The clean, modern space is just what you would expect from a place like Momosan. My visit to Momosan was a pleasant one, and I would perhaps come back more for the appetizers than the ramen (or maybe I should try other ramen dishes next time).
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 342 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Telephone: (646) 201-5529