Minca Ramen Factory, 536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009
Every Tuesday at 2pm I order the #1. Tonkostsu at Minca Ramen Factory in the East Village. Sure everyone has their special ramen spot, or has at least heard of a popular shop in town. But, really the #1. at Minca is the richest, most umami packed broth I’ve been able to find in the city, trust me.
It arrives, glistening fat droplets dancing above fading convection currents. A dark green square of nori protrudes only a few inches higher than the three thin slices of nearly melted pork belly. Perched gently next to a small bed of tiny mushrooms and sautéed bambu shoots. And, a brown miso infused soft boiled egg across the bowl draws your attention to the center, at a delicate matrix of interlocking noodles and bright scallions. This bowl of ramen is attractive.
Ramen is only a small sect of the greater noodle family, it is an age old take on thin eggy doughy strings that has expanded all over the world. If you don’t know, its like udon, or fresh egg pasta, but with a firmer bite and tangled all the way threw. Ramen is still growing, nearly as ubiquitous as bagels or pizza in the city for example. And with good reason, it really is that delicious. Perfect for lunch, dinner, even an early morning cup’o’noodles, it’s always a wise choice.
Sit on the rounded bar at Minca and you get a full view of the cozy metalic kitchen, as four cooks zip around nearly overflowing stock pots and boiling tanks. Sit at a table and you can feel the release of endless fragrant steam. The whole place smells like wood and pork, of nori and beer. And, as you enjoy your meal plastic water glasses are constantly replenished, or if you’re into milky sake they’ve got that too.
Could you want anything else on a cozy Tuesday afternoon?
What’s truly unique about a bowl at Minca Ramen Factory though is how they defy the exploding ramen-centric hype. You walk in, you sit down and you eat. It’s simple, it’s never overcrowded, has delightful service, and is entirely affordable.
A steaming bowl of noodles is only a quick walk away. Nothing can compare. Minca is special, go when you can or maybe, I’ll just see you next week.