RAMEN MISOYA: “Me So” Salty!!!

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Dear Food Diary:
Yes, winter is here and “ramen season” has started, but is there room on this tiny island of Manhattan for yet another ramen joint? Apparently so. With stores in Tokyo, Kyoto, Silicon Valley and Taipei, I wasn’t going to let this one by without slurping a big bowl of steaming goodness.
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Ramen Misoya took over that “doomed” spot on 2nd Ave, right around the corner of St. Mark Place. Over the years, this narrow little space has hosted a number of eateries, none memorable. There’s a tv screen on the back showing you the kitchen, sort of like an open kitchen I guess? Though nothing beats sitting at Totto Ramen’s counter and watching them torch the pork and prep your ramen.
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The menu consist of 3 different types of miso(miso paste is made with fermenting rice, barley and or soybeans with salt and fungus. Different combinations/fermenting time/preparation make the types of miso).

• Kome MisoHokkaido style is a rice miso, the color is more yellowish and is made from boiled soybean (steaming the soybean would darken the color). Mild in flavor, it’s the most commonly used.
• Shiro Miso Kyoto style is a white miso that has more rice and barley than soybean, hence the lighter color. It’s the most popular since it has a short fermenting time. Sweeter than the darker miso, it has less umami and is mildly salty.
• Mame Miso Nagoya Hagyo style is a soybean miso, it’s darker in color, more of a reddish brown. The long maturing of this miso makes it less sweet and stronger umami.
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I went for the Shiro Miso CHA-SHU (which is almost $14). Their broth is made with pork and chicken bone (usually is one or the other). It also has garlic, ginger and seaweed kelp. Unfortunately, the broth was super salty (I’m guessing for the amount of miso), so it overpowered any other flavor and topping (They have potato which I’ve never had). Nothing subtle here. Ultra rich with a layer of fat floating, which I’m ok with, but did I mention it’s just overly salty?! It’s not like I eat light, low sodium or anything, in fact, my mom complains of my salt intake in general, so if this was salty for me, I’m pretty sure it is. Any doctor would be horrified with this level of sodium.
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The noodle was good. Thick and bouncy, but it wasn’t enough to balance the saltiness of the broth.
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Their homemade pork cha shu was a winner. Nice thick pieces of tender fatty pork. The outside is nicely marinated and flavorful (with their secret marinade), I tasted some soy sauce involved. Perfectly grilled edges. Drooling chard flavors. This is my favorite pork out of all the ramen places, yes, I just said it! My favorite… too bad the broth wasn’t a hit.

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StalkerBoy saw miso, cheese and butter broth on the seasonal menu and couldn’t resist. I on the other hand was put off by all of those ingredients together in a hot soup. Separately I love, but fusion like this is not my thing. Yes, that is a dab of butter on top, this is fit for those with the same palate as Paula Deen. The “snow powder” is a visual play on grated Parmigiano cheese. Once the cheese hit the broth, it stuck together and chunks were floating amongst the sea of salt. A big bowl of thick, warm and heart clogging fat. Yeah, this was also very very salty as well. It was definitely a spoonful I would never want to repeat again.

I was hoping love at first slurp… and kick the long wait for Ippudo and Totto Ramen to the curb, but unfortunately I’ll have to get back in line (sigh). Though I loved the pork cha shu, it wasn’t enough to make me want to skip the lines elsewhere and come back for another bowl. In the end…What did the Miso Ramen say? “Me so” SALTY!!! I had to drink bottles of water afterwards, no joke.

P.S. Chubby’s Rating: chubby rating 2.5
129 Second Avenue (East Village)
Ramen Misoya on Urbanspoon