Our quest next took us to Hide-Chan, located on 52nd Street in Manhattan’s East Side. We actually had tried to go here once before but didn’t get there on time – that was the day that we went and reviewed Terakawa. So both of us were excited to finally eat here.
You can almost walk right past Hide-Chan if you are not looking for it. Since the restaurant itself is on the second floor of the building it’s in, the entrance is just a glass door with some writing on it. Inside though, the place is well-decorated, with clean wood tables and countertops, and an assortment of drawings, illustrations, and calligraphy adorning the walls. They had rows of Japanese-style rengaes (soup spoons) stuck on to the wall near where we were sitting. I’m almost always a fan of restaurants utilizing items that they themselves would use to prepare or serve food as decorations. I couldn’t even really say why – I just think it’s cool, interesting, and adds character to the establishment.
Hide-Chan’s food was among the best that we have had in our (limited) quests. We both had gyoza to start with – I got a combination of shrimp and pork while Marion had ones with just pork – and they were fantastic. Lightly fried, with a nice balance of meat and scallions, these served as a great appetizer for our ramen. The ramen itself was very delicious. Marion got the Tonkotsu Miso, and I ordered the Shoyu Tonkotsu. Her broth had a great miso flavor and bite to it. Mine struck a good balance between the richness of the pork tonkotsu broth and the lighter flavors that a shoyu broth brings. The pork that came in both of our soups was nicely seasoned and had everything that you want in ramen broth – sweet, savory, and a definite toothiness that makes its flavor really linger in your mouth. We both got our noodles firm, and they were cooked very well. I even ordered us a kaedama (extra serving of noodles) because I couldn’t get enough of the soup.
Hide-Chan is definitely worth a visit. The food itself, not just the ramen, is really good, which isn’t always the case. While you can tell that the place is meant to emulate a traditional ramen house in lots of ways, at least in terms of the staff and the items they have on the menu, Hide-Chan is also nicely modernized, with a nice interior space and a slightly more classy feel than many of the other spots we’ve visited. The wait staff are nice and the service is fast and friendly. Marion and I would both come back here, and we encourage you to go try it if you haven’t been. Four and a half stars out of five.