Souping it Up at Sapporo With My Family’s Soup King

Sapporo, Midtown NYC

On Friday I had lunch plans with my brother, who is hands down the soup aficionado of our family.  I don’t mind soup; he can’t get enough of the stuff.  To decide where we would go for lunch, I sent him a link to Lunch’er Grace’s Ultimate Midtown Soup List, and after careful perusal, he chose Sapporo- so we could try their tantan-men, a Japanese sesame paste broth with pork and scallions.

I hadn’t been to Sapporo (on 49th btw. 6+7th) in awhile so I was happy to oblige. Out of the three Midtown Lunch’ish, sit down ramen places in Midtown (Sapporo, Menchanko Tei and Men Kui Tei) I’d probably rate Sapporo my least favorite, but after this visit, I am starting to really enjoy the charm to the place.  It has a casualness and vibrancy that is missing from the stodgier other two.  And while their ingredients (especially the pork) aren’t as high quality, they do make a mean bowl of soup.

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We both really liked the tantan-men.  Despite being rich looking, the flavor of sesame wasn’t too overpowering.  It had a great kick, and if you like ground pork and scallions, you will definitely enjoy this soup.  As always the noodles were perfect.  It’s a nice change of pace if you are sick of ordering the miso or shoyu ramen (the two most popular choices.)  Admittedly the tantan-men doesn’t have as much “stuff” as the other soups, and it is slightly more expensive, so if the fillings is what you’re after, you may be better off going with a different choice.

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Since it’s summertime, I went with the Hiyashi Chuka, or cold noodle soup special.  Available only during the summer months, Sapporo’s version is very good.  Chock full of stuff (unlike the tantan-men) I could do without some of their seemingly out of place toppings (the fake crab sticks, corn, and tomato) but overall the sweet and vinegary sauce/cold broth at the bottom was pretty tasty.  My favorite part?  They give you plenty of karashi, a mustard-like paste that I’m guessing they mixed with wasabi; it had an awesome kick.  Smudged against the side of the bowl, you can perfectly distribute the spiciness as you see fit.  Although I’ve always said Men Kui Tei was my favorite ramen place, Sapporo’s hiyashi chuka may be better.

Thanks to Lunch’er Grace for the fantastic suggestion.

Related:
Sapporo (6/14/06)

8 Comments

  • Off-topic, but has anyone been to The Ginger Man, on E. 36th? How’s the vibe there? Food any good?

  • I learned about Sapporo from this site and I am addicted to thier Gyoza and Katsu Curry. I don’t ever go for the ramen….

  • Yeah, that hiyashi chuka is pretty good. I am addicted to this stuff, I wish the ramen joints would serve it all year long. Rai Rai Ken’s hiyashi chuka is chock full of stuff, it might be my favorite version.

  • The beer selection at Ginger Man is great. Vibe ok – very midtowny, but there you go. I’ve heard that it can get annoyingly packed at happy hour, but when I went it wasn’t so bad. Though I think packed is more the norm.

  • Mamacita, I agree with LC… Great beer selection but the vibe isn’t that great.

    Happy hour was ridiculously crowded the last time I went, but that was in the winter. I think it maybe less packed now when all the rooftops are busier after work. I remember splitting a sandwich of some sort there that was pretty good, but the main reason I would go is for the awesome beer selection.

  • Ginger Man – i agree about the annoyingly packed factor. But they have delerium tremens, for like $7/cup which is really pretty decent. love that shit.

  • Sapporo is all about the corn for some reason. I don’t remember which one, but they got some ramen where they add corn in there. Completely random topping for ramen but I like corn so it’s all good.

  • Mamacita, OK, so, I have to admit I’ve never been to Ginger Man, but that’s because it looks huge and obnoxious from the outside. If you must stay in the area after work, there’s a decent small bar (that’s not terribly midtown/murray hill-y) right across the street, Under the Volcano.

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