You Can Finally Take Ramen to Go from Kuro-Obi in UrbanSpace
One of my biggest issues with ramen places like Ippudo and Totto Ramen is that they never let me take the food to go. No doggie bags and no to go orders. So to experience one of those places at prime time, you had no choice but to wait in line and sit at their bar and who has time for that??
Kuro-Obi, which just opened their second location in UrbanSpace, has changed that. This corner ramen stand is from the folks at Ippudo and even if you sit at one of the food court’s tables, they still package the soup in a container to take away.
I stopped by at an off hour so there was no line (I can’t speak to how crazy this stand is during weekday lunch) and the ramen took just five minutes to prepare. Their focus here is on tori-paitan ramen, based on a creamy white chicken bone broth (similar to Totto Ramen’s). The prices are on par with Totto (hovering just out of budget between $10-$12).
The Kuro-Obi sounded too good to resist, so I splurged on $12 and got my bowl of piping hot ramen. First thing I noticed was the amount of empty space in the container. It looked like the portion was lacking, but I think they just use very large bowls. After stressing out for a minute that I didn’t get my money’s worth, I realized this is probably for practicality and makes less mess potential when transporting the soup.
I ended up walking away rather full so I think there is an equal amount of food as you would get at most ramen shops. The rich, peppery broth was loaded with excellent chewy noodles and plenty of ingredients. Many flavors came to life thanks to garlic oil, mushrooms, scallions, and a dollop of their Umami miso paste. Their chashu pork was also good, but I prefer it to be a little more smoky and charred than these were.
All in all, it’s a pretty good bowl of ramen and a game-changer since you can now take this with you to your office and annoy all your co-workers with your slurping.
UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, 230 Park Avenue (at 45th Street), (212) 529-9262