1st Ave between St. Mark's and E. 9th
Alexis: So we finally tried Setagaya. There was a short line outside and we were seated after about 30 minutes. We ordered the cha-syu men - pork and salt broth. It came with several pieces of thick, grilled pork, which I've never had in ramen. Topped with some scallion chiffonade, medium-boiled egg, bamboo shoots and seaweed, all served over thin ramen noodles.
I know their specialty is salt broth, but it was almost too much. After dinner I felt like downing a gallon jug of water. Grilled pork was really good, tho some pieces a little dry. But a nice contrast to the fatty parts. Noodles were alright. But I think they need to water down their broth a little bit.
Haven't yet found a place that can hold a candle to Chikubu's shoyu ramen. For comfort I will continue to frequent Men Kui Tei as I have been doing for years. By work, I have Menchanko-Tei which is decent, and Saburi a few blocks down which serves cold ramen with duck. My friend Ricky told me another Japanese chain is opening up in the East Village in the same area, called Ippudo, to rival Minca's tonkotsu ramen. But really, I think we need more shoyu in our lives.
In other news I've just started drinking Guayaki Yerba Mate in the morning, which is said to be good for energy and memory and one even claims that it made his allergies go away. I like it - tastes faintly of the Chinese herbs I had to choke down as a kid for my nosebleeds but with a little brown sugar, the bitterness isn't so bad. Brew it dark and strong.
Alex: Pretty forgettable. The broth wasn't too tasty (but I didn't think it was as salty as Alexis did) and the meat was maaaad dry to me. Not to mention it was 100 degrees in that joint! Meh.