Yuji Ramen – Some Very Interesting Ramen…At Whole Foods

Yuji Ramen is run by Yuji Haraguhi and was originally a pop up at Smorgasburg.  However, he has now set up a temporary pop up restaurant on the 2nd floor the Whole Foods on Bowery and is moving to a permanent space in Brooklyn after July.  Besides being well known for having some very unique ramen, Yuji is also interesting because they do a ramen tasting menu, which unfortunately is completely booked out.

The space is just a long wooden counter on the 2nd floor of the Whole Foods, so there isn’t too much to say about the restaurant itself.  It’s very casual and similar to going to a food court because you order at the register and then can either eat at the counter or one of the various tables on the 2nd floor.

Here’s what we got:

Bacon and Egg Mazemen:

Mazemen is a style of ramen that is basically ramen with very little or no soup; I believe it’s a fairly new concept from Japan (feel free to correct me on that).  They use a thicker yellow egg noodle that is kind of like fettuccine.  The noodles are excellent; they are perfectly al dente and have great texture.  The toppings are a soft boiled egg, crispy pieces of bacon, dried bonito shavings and greens.  There is also a light slightly sweet sauce that I believe is soy sauce based.  It’s quite a flavor bomb between the bacon, bonito and sauce.  It was pretty tasty although heavy and probably not something I would order very often.  7.75/10 (8.5/10 for the noodles, 7.5/10 for everything else)

Salmon Cheese Mazemen:

This mazemen has salmon cured with lemon zest and Sichuan peppercorn, nori (seaweed), greens, the same light sweet sauce and yes it has cheese on it! The cheese sauce is a mix of Camembert and heavy cream.  The creamy sauce goes well with the noodles and salmon although it’s quite heavy.  Overall, it was a bit more a novelty for me than something I’d probably order again although it was reasonably tasty. 7.5/10 (8.5/10 for the noodles, 7.25/10 for everything else)

Roasted Miso Vegetable Mazemen:

This mazemen has cauliflower, carrot and turnip in a barley-based miso sauce topped with shredded kale and seaweed.  This one tastes exactly how it sounds and is definitely the lightest of the mazemen offerings.  It’s not quite the flavor bomb that the other two are, but I probably liked this one the best because I could eat it on a more regular basis. 7.75/10

Shoyu Ramen:

While everyone has been talking about the unique mazemen and the ramen tasting menu, the star for me has been the shoyu ramen.  The broth and toppings change daily depending on available bones and trim from the Whole Foods meat and fish counters downstairs.  The noodles are the thinner ramen noodles, which were nicely al dente and good quality.  The broth was pork bone based; it was very nice and had a level of complexity that doesn’t just rely on a lot of salt and can only be done by teasing the flavor out of bones.  They had smoked blue fish as the topping, which was nice and complemented the ramen nicely without overpowering it.  I really liked the ramen here and it’s probably my favorite ramen in NY right now.  8.25/10

Overall, I really like the shoyu ramen here and the mazemen is definitely interesting.  I look forward to trying to ramen tasting menu one day (probably once they open in Brooklyn).

95 E Houston St, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10002
(646) 262-1358

Misoya – Interesting and Tasty Hokkaido Style Miso Ramen

Misoya is a Japanese chain of ramen restaurants that is the latest addition to Manhattan’s growing number of ramen shops. Misoya specializes in miso ramen meaning that the broth is miso-based unlike other ramen places in the city such as Ippudo which specializes in tonkotsu broth (pork bone) and Setagaya which specializes in shio broth (salt). I believe their specialty is also supposed to be Hokkaido style ramen which is quite a bit different than most other ramen as the condiments consist of things like corn and a slice of butter among other things. I’ve only had Hokkaido ramen a few times, so I was quite interested to try it here.

The restaurant is located in the old Nori space right off Saint Marks. The space is a long narrow space with tables lined to the left and the right. The décor is fairly plain with wood panels on one side and a painted wall on the other. There is a TV where you can see the chefs preparing everything, which was kind of weird, but I guess if you’re paranoid about the chefs messing with your food know you’ll know what they’re doing.

The service was fine albeit a little disjointed as the waitresses seemed to have some trouble communicating with the chefs properly as our order was a little messed up, but they were nice about it and fixed everything. Also, unlike other ramen places when they first open it was very easy to walk in an get a table, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing, but it made my life a lot easier than waiting for an hour to get a table at Ippudo.

Here’s what we got:

Kome-Miso Ramen with Cha Shu:

This was the Hokkaido style ramen that used red miso. The condiments consisted of corn, salty minced pork sauce, cabbage, bean sprouts, diced scallions, menma (bamboo) and cha shu (roast pork). The broth was salty from the miso, but in a good way, it had a nice savory flavor and was rich because I believe they put a slice of butter into it. The noodles were good although I prefer mine a little more al dente, it wasn’t overcooked per se, but I just prefer ramen noodles to be a little more al dente. I actually really liked the corn as I thought the sweetness of it went well against the saltiness of the broth. The meat sauce was good although it was salty so I found it better to mix in with the corn against the soup broth. The cha shu was really the standout, this was much better than any of the other ramen houses’ cha shu. It was beautifully grilled where you could really taste the pork and the grill flavor. It had enough fat where it was very tender although not overly fatty. Overall, I thought this was quite good although it was definitely on the rich side. 8/10 (7.5/10 for the noodles, 7.75/10 for broth, 8.5/10 for the cha siu)

Spicy Shiro Miso Ramen:

My girlfriend got this one. Shiro miso is white miso. The condiments consisted of salty minced pork sauce, bean sprouts, diced scallions, menma (bamboo) and fried tofu. The broth tasted similar to mine actually, but it was spicier and was a little heavier in flavor. The noodles were the same. Overall, I thought this was similar to mine although I preferred mine as I liked the condiments better. 7.75/10


These were simple fried dumplings. They were pretty mediocre though, they honestly didn’t taste much different than the frozen kind you can get from the grocery store. They tasted fine and were freshly fried, but were definitely nothing to write home about. 6.75/10

Spicy Fried Rice:

This sounded good, so we decided to try it. Unfortunately, this was also mediocre. I believe it was made using only egg, oil, sesame oil and Korean gochujang (a sweet chili paste). It wasn’t spicy at all, it had decent flavor, but had no “wok hay”, which is the flavor you get some essentially smoking the rice in a very hot wok. Also, they used rice that was too fresh as the rice was too moist (you’re supposed to use day old rice as it cooks better). I wouldn’t order this again. 6.5/10

Overall, I enjoyed the ramen here and I definitely think it’s one of the better ramen places in the city. They need to do some work on their sides, but I’d definitely recommend trying it out.

129 Second Ave (Between 7th and 8th Street)
Manhattan, NY 10003
(212) 677-4825