Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ramen x2 c/o Nom Nom Ramen

Over the last six months two new ramen joints have opened in Philly. I carefully followed the press on both, and long wanted to form my own opinion, but things always came up and the gratification of this desire was delayed. In April I was on my way to a Punch Brothers and Jesca Hoop show at the TLA when I suddenly found myself outside of Nom Nom Ramen. I had plenty of time before the show, so I went inside to finally see what all the hubbub was about. I ordered a small bowl of the Shio ramen:  tonkotsu broth seasoned with salt and white soy sauce along with pork belly, mushrooms, naruto, scallions and pickled ginger. I added an extra egg to the mix. I sat quietly at a booth and slurped my way through the bowl. Not quite as complex as the Ippudo broth of my first ramen experience, but definitely a dish with some depth of flavor in the broth. The noodles were pretty good too, not quite as 'springy' as I might have expected, but still with some bite and chew to them, not mushy or overly soft. The pork was properly tender and fatty. It was a good first experience and an excellent way to get myself ready for the concert - and later, the worst date of my life.This is not the venue for a real discussion of that date. But let me just say this: sometimes I feel like I'm a grumpy person, or someone without a lot of interesting things to say about myself...this date reminded me that I do have joy in my life, and that I do believe in basic etiquette. Moving on.
So, in the last three weeks or so I've started taking indoor rowing classes with AS. Our aim is to go three times a week. The first week I ended up going twice. The second week three times. This week, well, today will be my first of the week. So last Friday AS and I went to our scheduled rowing class and found ourselves with an instructor we hadn't had before. This man was the devil. Not really. But he was serious about sit ups, lunges, push ups and something called "Romanian Dead Lifts" or drop lifts, I'm not quite sure. At the end of the 45 minute class we were both in a daze of exertion and feeling pretty much every muscle in our bodies. The plan was to then meet up with Mr. Ass for ramen at Nom Nom, which is exactly how the plan went. This time I tried the Karai-styled ramen, which basically was the same broth only spicy. I liked the little extra kick of the 'nom nom sauce' but didn't find the broth/bowl all that spicy or different from the Shio version. I ended up adding a fair amount of sriracha to my bowl. I actually prefer things to be less spicy than I expect than more, as it's easier to make something hotter than it is to change something from too spicy to less so. If you know what I'm saying. The point is that while it wasn't to terribly spicy, I thought this was probably the better approach. I didn't quite slurp each and every last drop of soup up, but I think this was more a result of my recent exercise than a comment on the quality of the dish.
Mr Ass. ordered the pork buns and loved them. I took a bite and wasn't quite as into it.
This is a pretty no-frills establishment with a simple menu, fast service and minimal attention to decor. You order at the counter (cash only) and then they call your name when your bowl is prepared. A regular bowl with added egg and a soda runs you about $10. So it's definitely a bargain. I'll have to get to the other new place to better compare the two, but it gives me great comfort that Nom Nom is not so far from me...that if I get a hankering for some creamy, porky broth and above average noodles, there's a place to go without having to cross Broad Street.

1 comment:

nc catherine said...

Ok this is a food blog basically but what the hell is an indoor rowing class that ends up with the instructor from hell (yes I have had those my own self no elaboration needed) and it is 45 minutes of other torture??? Rowing is tough enough, if I understand rowing, but Romanian dead drop lifts? WTF. But you will be buff. I so long for my body pump copyright symbol here classes. Yes yes I do. No can afford the gym freight to take advantage of them. Sigh.