Marion and Julian ventured to Manhattan Valley to meet up with their friend Richard and seek out delicious ramen noodles. What they found was…well, not that. At all.
What to say about Yasha Ramen? It has a great location, being on a bustling block Amsterdam Avenue close to Columbia University. The interior is nice, with wooden tables and a counter to sit at for a full view of the open kitchen. However, that is where the positives end, which should say a lot when they are basically that the restaurant is well-furnished and in a good area.
For starters, despite being on a well-trafficked part of Amsterdam Avenue, this place was not at all crowded when we went there. 1:40 may not be peak lunch hours, but a good ramen place should see a steady flow of people in and out the door as long as there isn’t a horrific blizzard going on outside. That should have been the first hint that something might be amiss.
It’s difficult to speak to the quality of the service other than to say it was perfectly adequate. Since we were among the only customers in the restaurant, our food arrived relatively promptly and our server was nice.
Richard and Julian ordered pork buns while waiting for Marion. The meat inside was similar to pulled pork, and there were bits of mixed greens, sliced cucumber and spicy mayo to finish it off. The dish was garnished with more mixed greens. At the price ($5), this was an acceptable appetizer, and certainly the highlight of the meal.
Moving on to the ramen – what should have been the star of the show. Each of us ordered a different bowl. Marion got the Signature ramen with an egg, Richard the Tonkotsu and Julian the Chicken ramen with added corn. When the bowls arrived, all signs pointed to the ramen being good. They were aesthetically pleasing, the ingredients seemed fresh and the soup was hot. The problem? It was bad! The chicken soup had a nice chicken flavor, but was slightly too sweet. The char-siu chicken, which is a unique item that surely not a lot of New York ramen shops offer, tasted basically like normal roast chicken. The tonkotsu broth was probably the flattest, most bland pork soup I’ve had in any ramen shop anywhere. It honestly tasted like pork-flavored water. All in all, this was very disappointing ramen – I simply did not want to finish my bowl, which is telling since I have done that at every other ramen place we have gone to, including ones before this blog started.
Needless to say, avoid this place. The ramen is underwhelming if not downright bad, and especially considering there are so many other, better options for noodles in New York, you shouldn’t bother with this one. One star out of five.