Have we mentioned how much we like Tabata Ramen? The Hell’s Kitchen noodle shop turns out chicken bone broth-based soups, a couple of which are of killer bracingly spicy versions, but because it’s located in that weird industrial area right by the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, it’s rarely so busy that you have to wait for a table.
But because we very rarely find ourselves in that area–because really, who does?–we were pleased to learn that as of yesterday, there’s a second outpost of Tabata at 557 Eighth Avenue, and this one is located close enough to Penn Station that you could stop by on the way to your train, thereby foregoing the mostly shitty food options in the station itself.
Of course, that might make this outlet busier. So could the fact that this space is smaller–the narrow hallway, which looks into the kitchen in the back, holds just a few tables and a counter, unlike the original address, which is two rooms deep (Tabata 2 is also starker–which suggests it’s meant to be much more of a quick-service counter joint).
But this new sibling offers a similar though more concise menu, replete with staples like the curry-based Tabata ramen, a tonkotsu version (made with pork bone broth), shio and shoyu soups, and, our favorite, the spicy miso-imbued Sutamina ramen, which swims with tender morsels of bird as well as a poached egg. So what’s different? The angry looking lava men and the “hellishly” hot geki kara ramen appear to have been nixed from this joint, so if you want your chili fix, you’ll have to head to the original.
The menu rounds out with an appetizer section full of gyoza and various bits of fried seafood sided with spicy mayo; we’d skip the wasabi-infused octopus next time because our fish was a little tough. Wash it all down with a $5 Sapporo or an individual-sized bottles of sake.
Hit the next page for a few photos of food.