My friend Anne came to visit me in NYC, and like any good hostess I immediately took her to my favorite ramen place, Hide-Chan in Midtown East. They open at 11:30 a.m. and usually I try to get in line right when the doors open so we don't have to wait, but unfortunately Anne's flight was delayed an hour for weather and she ended up getting into town a little later than expected. We rushed over to Hide-Chan and got in line. I got a little nervous at first because the line was on the stairs in the hallway, as is so often the case, especially for cold rainy weather such as that particular day. We got in line and when we got closer to the front, I asked the waitress how long of a wait it will be and she said 15-20 minutes, so not bad. When I went here for my first time, we waited over 60 minutes and it was still worth it!
We sat down and were promptly greeted and handed our menus. Their turn and burn philosophy is nice when you're waiting in line, but inconvenient if you want to have a nice leisurely lunch or dinner. If you're just sitting there talking and not eating, they will ask you to leave if there is a line waiting, which there usually is. So we looked at the menu and I suggested to Anne she get the spicy garlic ramen because, spicy... garlic... ramen. To no surprise to myself, I choose the miso ramen. We decided on some takoyaki and my usual spicy pork buns.
The menu looks unassuming but if the constant line out the door is any indication, it's worth the wait! If you come for lunch Monday through Wednesday, you're offered a free topping which is pretty nice. I always ask for avocado in mine because it's delicious and if they have any, they are more than happy to oblige.
The appetizers promptly came and we quickly burned our mouths as is the Japanese tradition of takoyaki and it was pretty good. The spicy pork buns are always a hit and I'm glad they were extra delicious today! And I don't like spicy foods but these were definitely doable! We did order a little bit too much food, and usually the pork buns and a bowl of awesomeness is sufficient if not transcendent, but Anne and I are huge fans of takoyaki; when she came to visit last summer I introduced her to them and they're been in a fairly serious relationship since. Takoyaki is fried octopus balls, but really any filing can be used. The batter is very liquidy and it's cooked on a griddle that are half spheres, slowly being turned until they are a delicious golden brown while still very gooey inside. Then you top it with kewpie (Japanese mayo), takoyaki sauce, bonito flakes, and sometimes aenori but this one wasn't. Yum!
Now on the the stars! The ramen! What can I say? You can choose your noodles (wavy or straight) and their doneness. You used to be able to choose the richness of the broth but sadly that is no more. The spicy garlic sauce is just so unctuous it's heavenly! It has chasu, scallion, kikurage mushroom and their spicy garlic sauce. And my favorite, the miso ramen has sliced chasu, scallion, bean sprouts, corn, a medium boiled egg, and I added avocado. The avocado was a little ripe but most of it was really good. Basically when the ramen comes, we shut up and pay our respects, and slurp up the noodles as our compliments to the chef.