The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ramen Setagaya First Taste

My office closed early last Friday so I headed to the recently opened, much-hyped Ramen Setagaya for a late lunch. Although the restaurant wasn't full and the lines hadn't formed yet, it was a pretty good showing for 4PM on a dreary day. I took a seat along the bar in front of the food preparation area, hoping I could get an insider's look, and ordered a shio ramen and pork gyoza combo. I have to say, I wasn't all that blown away. No photos unfortunately as my camera decided to stop working.

The ramen was good enough, but nothing I'd wait in line for. The noodles came nestled in a bowl with slices of pork, seaweed, marinated bamboo, half a boiled egg and thinly shaved green onion slivers. A tiny sprinkling of pulverized, dried scallops topped off the dish. The pork was flavorful, but on the dry side. I did love the egg. The yolk was barely set, with just a thin layer closest to the white having firmed up. For some reason, seeing the kitchen crew slice the eggs using a piece of fishing wire tied to a cabinet handle delighted me to no end.

The dumplings were a disappointment. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see them being pulled frozen from a bag. I imagine most places use frozen gyoza. But there was a strange taste from either the dipping sauce or the dumplings themselves. It was sort of familiar and though I couldn't quite place it, I knew it was a taste that didn't belong.

At the back of Ramen Setagaya, near the lone bathroom, is another restaurant! It's a completely different place serving pasta and sushi! The other surprise was that the kitchen staff was clearing speaking Korean. So were some of the waitresses. I thought this was a Japanese joint! I'll have to return to investigate.

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