Hey everyone! Sorry for the long gap in between updates. We actually went on a ramen quest a couple weeks ago but I have been very slow to write a new post – consider it a mark of an inexperienced blogger. Marion’s done a great job of badgering me over the last couple days so here we go. The spot was called Tabata Noodle, and we met a couple friends from college there for a late lunch on a hot day.
Tabata is an interesting place. Physically, the shop tries to pull off a cutesy and intimate setting – however the cheap tables and chairs accompanied by the myriad posters and flyers on the wall give off a vibe that is more tacky than authentic. The place is dimly lit, which either serves as a mood setter or a means to save money on energy costs, depending on how cynical your perspective is. Another strange tidbit was that for most of the meal, there was a Tabata employee sleeping in a wall booth literally one table over from us, which was both weird and unprofessional. However, the staff enthusiastically greets you with a chorus of “irrashaimasei!” upon entering, which is something that I have not personally experienced at many other ramen places in NYC so far, so it was a relief.
I ordered the shio ramen with extra corn, Marion got the tonkotsu ramen and our friends all had the Tan-Tan (spicy) noodles. Overall, we thought the food was solid. My ramen had a nice balanced aroma and flavor. It was citrusy, salty and light, yet I felt it did not have the same depth as other places I have been to. Still, it was a good bowl of noodles and the generous amount of toppings definitely filled me up. Marion’s tonkotsu bowl was also decidedly average. A good pork broth should be salty, meaty and full-bodied. It should also leave a warm, tingly sensation on your lips and mouth when eating it. Her bowl of soup had all of these qualities, but in less than ideal amounts. The Tan-Tan noodles that our friends ordered had a nice spicy kick. The broth for this soup was similar to Marion’s in that it had all the necessary pork broth flavors, yet they were less pronounced than one would like. The accompanying vegetables and toppings still made this a dish worth eating, though.
All in all, Tabata Noodle falls in the middle of the pack in terms of the ramen places we’ve visited. The physical space is somewhat dingy and tacky, yet the service is friendly. The food here is solid and unspectacular; it will fill you up and leave you satisfied, but not necessarily wanting to come back. If you are in the area and willing to (perhaps) put up with someone sleeping right next to you while you eat your food, then this is the place to go. Otherwise, there are plenty of other, better spots in NYC for ramen noodles. We give Tabata Noodle two and a half stars out of five.