Minca Ramen Factory
Around the holidays, we ate at the Minca Ramen Factory, a tiny ramen restaurant in the East Village (536 E. 5th St b/w A & B). It's cozy, but definitely not as cramped as Rai Rai Ken. At Minca, you can choose to site at the half dozen or so tables, or at one of the seats at the bar, where you have can observe the ramen production firsthand.
The Minca mise en place.
Pork gyoza. These were served piping hot and with a lovely layer of crispy on one side. DMR burned his tongue, I think. I for the life of me cannot replicate this at home. My gyoza always winds up sticking to the pan. Am I just not using enough oil?
We both opted for the house Minca ramen, which centers around an earthy broth made with pork, chicken and dried seafood. The noodles are imported dried from Japan and were more toothsome than I've been accustomed to. Topping the noodles were handfuls of marinated bamboo and black mushrooms (I picked all of these out, I hate these mushrooms despite being a mushroom lover), half a soy-sauce marinated hard boiled egg, a couple thin slices of tender pork and a sprinkling of scallions. A square of seawood is placed upright in the bowl as well. Next time, I'll probably order a different soup base and ask them to hold the mushrooms.