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