“Forget sushi, forget sashimi, forget tempura or yakitori. I prefer ramen.” —Anthony Bourdain
I have had some of the best sushi both here and in Japan but like Anthony Bourdain of CNN’s parts unknown, my favorite Japanese food is Ramen Noodles.
It was cold blustery evening and I was in the mood for ramen noodle soup. Fortunately, we found the perfect place near our hotel off the beaten path on Hudson Street in Hoboken, NJ. The quiet, cozy, L-shaped restaurant wasn’t very busy. There was one other couple. We were greeted by a smiling Korean man, we presumed to be the owner. He handed us a menu. There was a sushi chef behind the counter. Had we known it was BYOB we would may have brought some wine.
I ordered Ubu Chicken Ramen and was hoping for the best. Cecile ordered a rice bowl with fresh slices of avocado and seasonal herbs. We also decided to share an order of edamame. I was brought a starter salad and a side of rice and Cecile was served a small cup of miso soup that came with our entree. We were also given a complimentary dish of tofu and rice roll which and a big cup of traditional Japanese Tea.
When our main dish arrived, I secured a pair of chopsticks and began slurping away which is the common way to eat ramen noodles which is the most popular fast food item in Japan. In order to eat ramen without burning yourself, slurping simultaneously cools the noodles while driving them down your throat. My bowl also contained tender chicken and a partially submerged boiled egg that was cut in half. The broth was a thick milky miso based chicken broth stock. The food was fresh, tasty, fragrant and the service understatedly phenomenal. Two more couples walked in for dinner, but for the most part Cecile and I felt like we had the restaurant all to ourselves.
When I scooped up the last of my broth and drank it, our waiter served us complimentary round puffed pastry balls filled with ice cream.
We felt fully satisfied, happy we had chosen the right place. It was one of the best tasting meals we had during our stay. We paid our reasonably priced bill, and the same Korean man who greeted us with a smile upon our arrival now stood patiently waiting at the door to thank us and bid us a good night. His name was Gang Kim. We told him how wonderful the food was and that we would be back and the next evening we returned for a repeat performance.