Unconventional Ramen From Open Kitchen Makes Up For Weak First Visit

A first visit to Open Kitchen on William St. (at Beaver) did not go well. Not all of the stations were open, things seemed disorganized, and the employees didn’t seem to be on their game. Did I mention the food I got was not that great, but they do have good coffee? Luckily, this time the food was better and the operation seemed to be running more smoothly. 

The weather was snowy and miserable on my repeat visit so I headed for the ramen station. (There was a delicious-sounding lamb sandwich on the menu, but I’ll save checking that out for another time). With the ramen ($9) you get a choice of house or spicy broth, proteins such as beef, chicken, tofu, and spicy pork or calamari. Then you get your pick of four toppings, most of which are vegetables.

My choices were beef in spicy broth with the default toppings of scallion, mushroom, carrot, and baby spinach. A couple of dried strips of tofu were thrown in as well. The good news is that the broth and noodles were really good. The noodles had a good bite to them and avoided the downfall of getting mushy in the broth and falling apart when you try to eat them with chopsticks. The broth was surprisingly rich, actually spicy, and ended up being the best part of the soup for me. Another high point was a beef, which had been marinated so it was tender, and I didn’t even care that it tasted more Korean than Japanese.

The vegetable toppings also had more of a Korean bent to them (the counter also serves bibimbap and a couple other dishes) but were fine. Next time I’d do without the carrot that kind of threw the flavors of the soup off. Otherwise, the toppings were fresh and not limited to canned bamboo and onion.

With the cold winter weather just beginning, I’d definitely hit up Open Kitchen for some ramen again although it’s definitely a bit more expensive than other deli noodle soup offerings in the area.

Open Kitchen, 15 William St. (at Beaver), (212) 785-5555


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