Tabata Noodle Restaurant Now Open, and Serving Ramen
Thanks to Lunch’er Michael for letting us know about this one! You might remember his report on the ramen at Ronin (on 37th btw. Mad+5th). Today he files this report on the newly open Tabata Ramen.
Okay, it’s about time that Midtown West had a really good ramen place, and this one’s even doable for a quick (albeit commute-challenging) dinner pickup to bring home to Jersey and beyond if you go to Port Authority. One of my co-workers found out about Tabata Ramen (on 9th Ave. btw. 39+40th), and he knows how crazy I am for noodle soups and how I lament the lack of good ones thereof.
I went the day after he handed me the menu and ate there. The negi charshu ramen was amazingly perfect. I didn’t think to take pictures, I was that hypnotized. I normally like salt or pork bone broth a lot more than soy broth, but this soy broth blew the one at the Mitsuwa Marketplace ramen shop square out of the water. I went back again to grab some take-out, and I’m going to make this a VERY regular run for me when it gets colder.
I ordered the Kyushu ramen with roast pork. It was ready by the 7 minutes it took for me to walk from my office to their location on 9th just shy of 40th. Just a few doors up from Atomic Wings, it’s easy to just walk past if you miss the banners.
It’s all done here up front. I saw a couple of rice dishes coming out of the kitchen. Be prepared for the entire staff to shout “IRRASHAIMASSE!” at you. Don’t be alarmed.
If this is as legit as it tastes, it’s probably been going overnight at the very least. Couldn’t make out the components.
My Kyushu ramen was $10.62 with tax, not including tip (yes, I did tip). Just over the limit, but well worth it. Only one dish is menu-priced at above $10.
I took it back to the office and assembled my joyous bowl of love. They give you a pansy little salad that’s just iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, and a single piece of frisee. Not worth writing home about. The broth, though, thoroughly floored my sales director, who is a huge fan of Totto and is going to drag me there one day. (Editor’s Note: You should probably hit up Totto before proclaiming there is no good ramen in Midtown West.) I poured him some into a cup. He loved it. It’s cloudy, rich, and delicious. Look at how cloudy this is! I had the salt ramen at Mitsuwa just over the weekend and while it’s got such a wonderful cloudiness to it, this was definitely more opaque. Mmmmmm.
The Kyushu ramen comes with scallions, bean sprouts, roast pork or chicken (I picked pork, of course), and soft-boiled eggs. It poured out so deliciously. The egg had maintained its yolk in a barely fragmented state. Perfect. My only complaint: the noodles liked to retain their shape from the plastic container. It took some work to get them undone.
The broth is as flavorful as pork bone salt ramen broth gets. No, really, it’s got so much umami it made me sit back between sips. The noodles, despite wanting to stay in a cylindrical take-out container shape, were at perfect springy doneness. They didn’t seem like the meh-quality noodles that some places will swap in if they’re running low. They’re a little springier than Ippudo’s, but not as springy as Menkui-Tei, both downtown. They had enough bite back to be juuuust al dente.
This is a four-leafed pork clover. It was very flavorful, but the pork in the negi charshu ramen was a LOT fattier. Maybe they used a different kind, but this was fall-apart melty delicious pork.
I can’t say enough good things about Tabata. It brings joy to my heart that something’s walkable for me. You’re only steps away from PABT, so if you don’t want to face the manifest ugliness of that transit hub, this is a good place to fortify your eyes and mind. I said when I reviewed Ronin that I’d go back – well, to hell with that. These guys are better, with less than 1/4 the walk – at least for me.
The + (What somebody who likes this place will say)
- 9001 times better than Ronin/Washoku Café
- Accessible to Midtown West
- Fast service both for takeout and eat-in
- Delicious and varied broths and ingredients – as close to a downtown ramen joint as it gets
- Probably forever unnoticed by tourists and business power lunch types
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place will say)
- Just barely at the tail end of too expensive for lunch
- Inconsistent pork fattiness
- My noodles didn’t want to decompress from the container all that much
Tabata Noodle Restaurant, 540 9th Ave (btw. 39+40th), 212-290-7691