Monday, July 15, 2013
While the ramen fad peaked in 2011 (or was it 2010?) and the world has moved onto things like cronuts, I haven't moved on yet. I don't like change. I like constancy. Or maybe I share some similarities to the Pokemon Slowpoke. Today, in the middle of this assclown ridiculously hot and humid summer, I'm going to tell you a secret that's utterly useless to you now. A secret I held near and dear to my heart for years out of fear that tourists and douches would ruin it if it got legitimately popular - stares in the general direction of Prosperity Dumpling. Today, I shall reveal to you my favorite Japanese noodle place in the entire world. Including Japan. Although I've never eaten ramen there (except in the airport), so that's somewhat of a bullshit claim. Whatever, I feel like I eat enough of a variety of noodles where I can claim some sort of demented expert status in this kind of thing. Anyway, while almost every blogger in NYC will prematurely ejactulate over Ippudo or touch themselves at the mere thought of Totto Ramen - I can't get behind that crap. I'm not prepared to wait 30 minutes for a bowl of noodles (up to an hour if you're unfortunate). Frankly, I don't care for the atmosphere either. I just want to shove my face full of fatty-ass pork, slurp up some noodles, and drown in a thick creamy broth. That's where Minca comes in.
There's a saying in software development that was made popular around the time Facebook started blowing up... "move fast and break things." Well Minca's ramen is delivered way fast, and wreaks havoc on my digestive system. So there's that. One of the huge draws is the fact that I literally don't have to wait for shit. I've never had to wait for a table (grabbing a seat at the bar is almost always an option), and within 5 minutes of ordering, there's usually a bowl of sensual flavors sitting in my face. Look at that photo, that guy is literally servicing 6 customers at once. No inefficiencies in this place.
Damn, their gyoza sure are pretty. To be honest, I feel bad paying for gyoza. Yes, they're innately different from the 5 for $1 dumplings in Chinatown - they're more delicate, less doughy, and comprise of more meat, but they're still a horrible value for what you're paying. That said, Minca's are pretty tight. They have a certain fragrance of pork that's just a cut above what you normally get with cheapo dumps. The skins are insanely thin, yet eerily resilient. They're like that kid in highschool that got picked on all the time and you thought would just fucking lose it, but doesn't. That kind of resilience.
But you're not there for the gyoza. You're there for this shit. There are few things that bring me more joy than Lord of the Rings lego sets, and their Minca Sio ramen is one of them. You like fine-ass noodles with snap and elasticity? Hell yeah they got that shit locked down. You like rich creamy pork broth heavy on the garlic and sesame oil? They got those too. You looking for tight as fuck roast pork that they freaking flame torch on the spot? They've got that in spades (and are probably one of the only ramen places in NYC that does it). The components all sound wonderful, but the amalgam of bits results in a bowl of soul soothingly smooth noodles that has character from start to finish. The first bites are almost overwhelming, but as you take bite after bite, the flavors mellow, the tastes meld, and the experience is indescribable. Each mouthful of noodles gets intercepted by bites of crispy pork, rendered fat, and crunchy seaweed. It's honestly a whirlwind of textures layered on top of in your face flavor.
I'm not terribly good with words, but this is one of those places I go to even during the summer. Even when I'm sweating up a tropical storm of perspiration, I have urges. Just like sometimes you gotta rub one out, sometimes I gotta get my ramen on. Minca is probably the only place that can settle my 'congeez,' as my Nigerian friend would say.
tl;dr - in an effort to keep assclowns from ruining my favorite ramen place, I've waited three years to reveal my go to joint. If Minca were a significant other, it would be sexual in all the right ways, and dependable in all those other boring ways. Their ramen is just short of god-like. Ippudo can suck it.
536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009