After years of wondering about but not really feeling compelled to try the famed Momofuku ramen, we finally stumbled into the Noodle Bar this afternoon. I was starving and raring to eat anything so even though the $16 ramen price tag elicited "what the f*cks" from our party, we dove in anyway.
Our friend Wendy ordered those oft-praised pork buns. Being Chinatown frequenters, our eyebrows raised at the $9 pricetag for two tiny pork buns, of course. One bite made us a bit more accepting. The white bun was soft and creamy, and filled with pork slices rather than the usual shredded pork. Each pork slice had an ample bit of fat and crisp skin, and was seasoned with hoisin sauce and paired with refreshing cucumber slices. It's like a cross between a pork bun, a peking duck roll, and krispy pata (for non-Filipinos, that's deep fried pork belly). Good stuff and perhaps worth coming back for.
Now on to the ramen. Considering that I was starving, I expected to be more blown away than I was, if the Momofuku ramen was indeed so wonderful. But it was just alright. The broth was sufficiently salty and tasty, but not as complex as, say Ippudo. The ramen itself also did not have the perfect al dente consistency as, say Ippudo. What I did like was the wonderful pork slices in the soup (David Chang knows his pork belly, I concede) and the poached egg. Nice stuff. But overall, was it worth $16 and worth coming back for? I think not.
Where: 171 1st Avenue between 10th & 11th Streets, New York, NY 10003