Hide Chan’s Lunch Specials Hit the Sweet Spot

This is a very old picture I dug from the archives.

It’s been eons since Midtown Lunch even breathed Hide-Chan’s name, which is unfortunate. In the 4+ years since it was mentioned here, a lot has happened; Totto opened directly underneath it (that link has a far more recent photo of what the front of Hide Chan looks like), the menu has undergone a lot of changes (they no longer offer megaton ramen, for example), but the most important question is: has the ramen remained delicious?

Find out after the jump…

The first time I visited, I was immediately seated at the bar as I was dining alone. Perfect, as it’s a 10 minute walk from my office. I discovered that for lunch, only one dish is at the $10 ML threshold. Sorry bubs, but it’s their plainest ramen- the classic ramen, which the menu lists as “since 1963 – sliced pork (2pcs), scallion, kikurage mushroom.” During lunch hours, for a small surcharge, you can add various menus to complete a “lunch set” – already over the ML limit, I figured what the heck and my first lunch visit I tacked on a pork bun for $3.

A perfectly suitable version of the same pork bun being offered at all of the ramen-ya around the city now, I found my piece satisfyingly tender porky with a bit of mayo to add some fat in case you were worried there wasn’t enough in the pork. It’s not a must-have, but a pretty good start to ramen.

One of the nice things about the ramen here is that you can choose your type of noodle – I like very firm, wavy noodles, and these were perfect. Chewy, delicious, and the perfect companion to a savory, rich broth that I slurped happily (okay that’s a lie, I don’t slurp, but I sip). I was happy with my meal, though at $13+tax&tip, it’s well out of the ML price range and an occasional treat… but I was very full and those of you with appetites more in line with my normal one would probably be happy with just the ramen, dropping the price to just $10+tax&tip.

On my second visit, I was very surprised to see that the entire place was packed and super busy, though I arrived at the same time as previously. I waited an anxious 10-12 minutes, while the waitstaff apologized a few times to me and thanked me for waiting when I was finally seated, and then realized the reason for the wait.

It was Wednesday, and Monday – Wednesdays for lunch you get a free topping. Ah. While it doesn’t include ALL of their toppings (avocado isn’t on there; though I wouldn’t think to put this on my ramen, as I was paying I heard someone order it though he also sounded like he’d never had ramen at a restaurant), there’s certainly a wide range of choices to help make your $10 classic ramen even more delicious.

Once again, I chose to add a dish on to make it a lunch set – this time picking kara age, or Japanese fried chicken. Four deliciously crispy, juicy pieces of chicken thigh appeared, with a dollop of a slightly spicy mayo alongside for good measure… for an extra $3. If you at all like fried chicken, you HAVE to order this – it was absolute perfection. Four pieces was even almost too much – I was super stuffed after the ramen… but oh my gosh, this was awesome.

And again, classic ramen with wavy, very firm noodles, but for my free topping I chose the seasoned egg. Though I failed to photograph an open shot of the egg, trust that it was cooked to exactly the right shade of done – oozy, creamy yolk, fully cooked white. Exactly how I want my eggs… sigh.

Once again, a very satisfying and filling lunch. Please note that they charge for green tea – it’s on the menu – which I would have known, had I paid more attention to the menu. Oops.

In any case, Hide-Chan is definitely great for those days you just want a big bowl of steaming ramen — for those with budgetary concerns, likely not a weekly spot, but for those who don’t have those problems, yeah, you should come here and come often.

By the way – there’s also a happy hour from 4:30-6:30 pm, Monday – Friday, where appetizers (gyoza, pork bun, side menu) and alcohols are half price – Sapporo draft is $2. For those of you who are interested in such things!

Hide-Chan Ramen, 248 E. 52nd St, 2nd Fl (btw. 2nd+3rd) (212) 813-1800


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