Thursday, February 4, 2016

Zundo-Ya, Ramen - East Village, NY

January can be blistering cold, and ramen always seems to be the answer on those cold nights.

Tucked away on the side streets of where the infamous Ippudo is, lay a very hipster ramen joint. Zundo-Ya is the first international ramen joint opened by Tatsuya Hashimoto, he already has 19 shops in Japan.

When you walk through the door, it felt like a cafeteria. Open space and large communal tables, and to mention, it gets quite loud here. The staffs look like they came out of a Grease musical, so cheery and chipper to serve. Service can be a bit slow but nonetheless the entire experience was pleasant.

The menu was very straight forward. J and I were greedy so we decided on the Zenbunose Ramen which has all the toppings they offer, it can be hefty at $18 a bowl but I'm not eating this all the time, so I can definitely justify it. Besides the ramen bowl/flavor that you choose, there's also noodle type and broth richness you can choose. Talk about life decisions here. I had the straight noodles and J has the wavy, we both agreed on the regular richness for the broth. I'm sure we had that moment and realized that we don't want to mask the beautiful taste of the entire ramen by clogging our arteries, plus I don't think we can totally appreciate the super rich super fatty broth yet.

Alongside the ramen, we also ordered the Kaarage. I have this weird fascination with Japanese fried chicken, they're just so delicious, if made correctly. This here came with Japanese mayo and salt and pepper dip, so good. The chunks of chicken were big and juicy - that's what she said.

Onto the Zenbunose Ramen. Honestly, can words even describe it? It was absolutely worth that $18. The bowl looked very vibrant with all the different toppings, soft-boiled eggs, roast pork, garlic chips, dried seaweed, scallions, spicy oil, and bean sprouts. Plus, they give you sesame seeds, pickled ginger, and pickled cabbage on the side. Of course, we threw all those in the ramen also. The medley of all the ingredients made the broth super delicious, it had that umami flavor - indescribable but just insanely good.

I'd come back, I also don't want to recommend this place because I'm greedy. I want this all to myself and let no other know. But with all my raving, that's not going to happen.

Food ~ 5 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 3.5 out of 5

Additional Toppings
Japanese Beer
Zenbunose Ramen

84 East 10th St
New York, NY 10003

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Maison Premiere, Cocktail Bar - Brooklyn, NY

Oysters, cocktails, and absinthe. How can one say no?

J and I thought we were being smart by heading over to Maison at 4:15pm, happy hour time is from 4-7pm. But when we arrived, the place was already packed. The maitre d put our names down for a 5pm seating so we had to kill about an hour around the neighborhood.

We weren't able to get seats at the bar or a table. Instead, we sat at the corner, with the ledge as our table and stools as our seats. J made sure we can order oysters and be served it when sitting there since the counter space looked very limited.

The wait staff were very professional, and the cocktail connoisseurs were helpful in helping us choose the right absinthe to start the night with. Maison is one of the hot spots in Brooklyn that serves absinthe that is dripped with sugar and chilled water. Quite amazing, really.

Since it was happy hour, we ordered pretty much every oyster on the menu. They have a variety of oysters from Connecticut, Massachusetts and British Columbia Canada. Other than the oysters, they have an a la carte menu that specializes in seafood. But honestly, once you're on the oyster wagon you wouldn't want anything else.

The cocktails here are amazing, the atmosphere was so fitting. I can stay here for hours just drinking absinthe and slurping on oysters but that would probably end terribly. One thing that stood out from this amazing experience (yea, there's even better), was when J ordered the Old King Cole Martini which was stirred table-side. The set up for this cocktail was placed on this copper tray, although it might not be copper since the lighting was so dim, the waiter was literally the table that held up the tray and the connoisseur started his performance. He explained the liquor that was being placed into the mixer and how many parts of each. It was nice. What's even nicer? The olives was served separately and when you're ready you can place it on the martini or you can just munch on it without having it soak up the cocktail. I have to say, the olives were good and I hate olives. This definitely might be a turning point for me.

Food ~ 5 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 5 out of 5

Happy Hour Menu
Absinthe Selections
Vilya Absinthe Verte
The Great Bambino
Endless Oysters - so delicious
American Pharoah
Old King Cole Martini
The making of Old King Cole Martini

Maison Premiere
298 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ganso, Ramen Bar - Brooklyn, NY

A good ramen shop is hard to find, let alone trying to find one in Brooklyn.

It was one of those nights where J was craving for ramen and I refuse to head out into the city, so we were left with limited options in Brooklyn. After minutes of deliberation, we chose Ganso. It was on my radar, but back like 2-3 years ago, and to be honest, I don't even remember why I wanted to go there.

The ramen shop was quite large, more spacious than your average traditional ramen joints. The place was very modern and chic, with random Japanese posters all over the walls. I chose to sit at the booth, nice secluded seats to be away from people and you don't have to worry about speaking over or under people's voices.

We ordered two appetizers and then our own bowl of noodles.
The Braised Short Rib Buns were served first. It felt very underwhelming when I bit into it, the bun was filled with shredded scallions to a point of which it should be just known as the scallion bun, the miso-mustard glaze was barely there, the taste of the beef short rib was bland, I couldn't find a thing about the bun that was good...maybe the bun itself?
The Japanese Fried Chicken on the other hand was a different story. When it was placed on our table, I literally just stared because it was the least eye-appealing fried chicken I've seen. The pieces were small and oddly shape. At first taste, the chicken were extremely over-seasoned and salty. But, dip it in the yuzu-mayo sauce and it turned into a perfect little morsel of goodness. That literally made me do a 360.

After finishing the appetizers, which I rather go on and on because I was enjoying the Japanese crafted beers with it. This is one of the few ramen shops that carry a variety of Japanese crafted beers. Their menu on it is quite descriptive, so you'll definitely be able to pick on to your liking; bottled or draft.

The ramen was bomb. I honestly wasn't expecting much but I was glad I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought. The Spicy Soboro Miso ramen had a kick-ass spicy miso broth which was addicting. The chili was ground and mixed in with the miso paste which gave the broth a really different and special taste. Noodles were bouncy, al dente and also a lot. J's Tori Shio ramen was good also, opposite spectrum from mine. His had a more clearer broth, very flavorful and oil-less; it's like a Japanese version of mom's chicken soup.

Food ~ 4 out of 5
Price ~ 3.5 out of 5
Service ~ 3.5 out of 5

Japanese Crafted Beers

Japanese Fried Chicken

Beef Short Ribs Bun

Spicy Saboro Miso Ramen

Tori Shio Ramen

Ganso Ramen
25 Bond St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Being Back

I admit I had been on a long hiatus and I didn't have the motivation to blog about anything. It was a time where I was conflicted, lazy and lost interest.

But after thinking about it weeks and weeks, I did realize that I did want to do this. It's a passion, and I believe I do still feel it. Being able to eat and experience new cuisine and share it is quite a blessing, either for my own reference or for those that are curious and willing to learn.

Catching up is going to be a bit difficult, I've been to a lot of places since October of last year and all worthy of sharing; whether it be something out of this world, average, or merely sub-par.

Let 2016 be something different. And hopefully, something more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Gramercy, NY - Beecher's Handmade Cheese

Cured Red Snapper
Pan Roasted Halibut

900 Broadway 
New York, NY 10003
(212) 466-3340

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chelsea, NY - Le Grainne Cafe

Cafe Au Lait
Chicken Crepe
French Toast

183 9th Ave 
New York, NY 10011
(646) 486-3000

Monday, October 5, 2015

Park Slope, NY - Spice

Thai Iced Tea
Steamed Dumplings
Tofu Pad Thai

61A 7th Ave 
Brooklyn, NY 11217 
(718) 622-6353