The Early Word: May Chan Ramen

Beef chahan and miso ramen lunch special
Beef chahan and miso ramen lunch special

The best thing there is to say about May Chan Ramen (119 Second Avenue), the ramen and yakitori joint that took over the storefront vacated by Love Saves the Day, is that the lunch special is a pretty good deal. You get a half-portion of ramen along with a bowl of chahan (Chinese fried rice re-imagined in Japan) for $9.50, and the portion would be enough for two light lunches. The worst thing there is to say is that the ramen is deeply mediocre, while terrific ramen can be had just a few blocks away.

The miso ramen comes with a slice of braised pork belly, a hard-boiled egg, and greens. The broth is thin and salty, tasting like canned chicken broth with miso stirred in, and the noodles are the yellowish, crimped sort, with a tough, plasticine texture. On the plus side, the pork belly and egg were both delicious (if you screw up pork belly and a hard-boiled egg, you're really in trouble). Chahan was fine, something that you might make with leftover rice, with bits of egg, carrots, and peas.

We've heard that the owners, who also own May Sushi, next door, are Korean, so maybe the Korean menu items, like pajeon, are better. (Not that we subscribe to the belief that you can only cook the food of your own ethnicity. Just looking for an upside.) For ramen, there's no reason to choose May Chan over Ippudo or Rockmeisha.


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