Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Misoya in New York

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When Nate was still living in Tokyo a few years back, our frequent ramen outings would end not with the standard gochisosama, but with the rhetorical question, "Another bowl?" It isn't something I do much anymore, two bowls of ramen in the span of an hour, but that old spark was still there, and we went for another bowl.

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You shouldn't have a problem getting a seat at Misoya, the place was practically empty on a Tuesday night.

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This shop is loosely related to the 麺場 group of shops in Japan, out of Chiba. Though the name 蔵出し味噌, kuradashimiso, is on the sign, Misoya gets the point across. Miso, miso, miso. Three different forms of miso ramen; Hokkaido style, Nagoya style, and Kyoto style. You have probably heard of Hokkaido style, the thick white stuff from Japan's northernmost island. But you might not know about Nagoya or Kyoto style. That makes two of us.

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I could wax on about local foods in Japan for pages upon pages, but I'll cut to the chase. There is no such thing as Nagoya miso ramen. However, take a brochure from the information desk at Nagoya station, a little inspiration from column A, top it with something from column B, add some noodles . . . Nagoya ramen. The sweet, red miso is a Nagoya thing, as is the fried shrimp on top. You could even nerd out and say that the bowl is reminiscent of the earthen pots used in the region.

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The Sapporo version is fairly true to it's roots, except for the addition of some fried potato on top. Nothing to write home about, and this bowl kind of put the proverbial nail in the coffin on miso in America for me.

Don't feel bad for the red, white, and blue, most miso ramen in Japan falls short of amazing as well. Kuradashi Miso (miso straight from the warehouse?) gets the point across, and might be just enough for a satisfactory stateside miso slurp.

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