New ramen joint Hide-Chan perches on the same second-floor space that Yakitori Torys occupied until recently, and is owned by the same restaurant group. Like Ippudo, it specializes in Hakata-style tonkotsu, the rich broth made from long-simmered pork bones, and serves thin, straight, wheaten noodles.
First you choose a bowl of ramen: plain pork, garlic-scented, spicy, miso, and so on. But Hide-Chan’s gimmick is that you can then choose the texture of your noodles (very firm, firm, medium, or soft) and the level of pork fat you want in your broth (light, medium, or rich).
Sorry, friends, but I chose light pork fat in the spicy miso ramen. I have to at least attempt to avoid a heart attack sometimes. And actually, the broth’s surface still shimmered with small droplets of lipids, a restrained but tasty amount. You must stir the miso into the soup yourself, along with the small heaps of bean sprouts, scallions, black mushrooms, and the sheet of nori that garnish the bowl. And there was certainly no shortage of pork: Four slices of pork belly and a flotilla of ground pork lurk in the broth.
The soup ends up tasting extremely salty (even for miso ramen), and peppery-tingly rather than spicy — almost like that citrusy numbness you get from Sichuan peppercorns and/or like a big dose of MSG, which I don’t necessarily mind. The broth is good, but it’s not nearly as delicious as the spicy miso broth at Ramen Setagaya.
And to me, the firm designation worked perfectly for the noodles. When they arrived they had serious al dente bite, and as I ate the soup they softened slightly, but not to mushiness. I wouldn’t go any softer than firm, though, as the noodles are so thin.
All in all, it seems a good addition to Midtown East, though some will miss Yakitori Torys.
248 East 52nd Street
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 19, 2010