Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tabata Noodle House - Great Ramen in Midtown

"There MUST be a ramen joint somewhere around here", I thought, when I started my new job in Midtown West (a few blocks north of Penn Station).  However, somehow I couldn't find any - two favorites, Sapporo and MenKui Tei - were over ten blocks uptown; not a feasible option given my limited lunch break.

Thus, I happily settled into a routine of rotating Chipotle, McDonald's, Bonchon, and the incomparable Go Go Curry, among others. But after a few months of downing tacos and burgers, I renewed my search and found Tabata Noodle House, located on a stretch of Hell's Kitchen not known for being a culinary haven. Heck, I'd go as far to say that a more unappealing location couldn't be possible, with the restaurant saddled between the Port Authority and the Lincoln Tunnel entrances. But it was a few blocks stroll and for that reason only worth a visit.

With all the options at ramen places these days, figuring out what to order can be tough. Tired of shio, shoyu, miso, and even tonkotsu? For a change, I opted for the eponymous Tabata Ramen, which seemed like something out of a Thai menu with the cilantro and red onion seasonings in the coconut-flavored broth. Think tom kha gai but a bit spicier.

It's quite a unique twist on ramen, and I've gone back twice to order the Tabata Ramen. Not to neglect the rest of the menu, I've also had the hot and spicy Lava Men a couple of times and loved it as well. Now that warmer times are here, I'll give the less spicy ramen versions a try, and perhaps the rice-based dishes. It might be located in a culinary wasteland, but Tabata Noodle House is a gem and fast becoming my Friday lunchtime mainstay. 

Tabata Ramen on Urbanspoon

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