Kuboya – 11.18.2010

Kuboya
536 E 5th St #2
New York, NY 10009


Not your typical ramenya storefront

Kuboya serves a great bowl of ramen but it is far from a traditional ramen restaurant.  The ramen is as much a product of NYC as the owner and head chef, Hiroshi Kubo.   Just imagine:  Drummer in a Japanese band with a passion for ramen, marries an American woman with 2 kids, takes a corporate job at Japanese mega-firm only to come running back to his true love, cooking.  With the birth of his son, Hiro finishes ramen classes to open a store in a former French restaurant next to an already popular ramen joint (Minca).  Only in New York.


Yaki gyoza (fried dumplings)


Kubo-Chan Miso Ramen


Closeup of broth, scallions, and charsui


A noodle waterfall

I love dumplings but I don’t know much about how Japanese dumplings should taste.  The fried dumplings here were definitely not from a package and although good, ramen joints never give enough;  they should really be served in multiples of 12.  But alas, ramen is why we came here and the miso ramen is what I ordered.

The soup arrived steaming and perfectly hot, just below scalding your mouth.  The pork based broth was good…very good.  After each sip, the soup in your mouth lingers for more than a few seconds as the aromas circulate through your olfactory senses.  You have to savor the richness of this soup like you would a fine wine or a craft beer.  This is what ramen-heads live for, try doing this with your cup ramen.  The noodles were cooked al dente (or perhaps slightly more toothy).  Springy and wavy with the pale yellow hue, I can just stare at the picture above all day.  As I attacked the bowl of ramen, I eventually took a bite of the roast pork (charsui) and knew Hiro meant business.  The fatty pork slice was cooked perfectly, juicy and dense with pockets of melting fat and cartilage.  My only critique, thicker slices and more of them please.

Good
Kubo-Chan Miso ramen is deep complex and satisfying, especially on a cold city night.
Easily one of top ramen joints in the city, I WILL come back.
Helpful albeit fobby waitress.  At leasts shes legit Japanese.

Bad
It’s in AB city.  A hike for most.

Ugly
Trying to decide between Kuboya or its neighbor Minca without going to both.


Strange ramen eating music

UPDATE
Re-visited Sapporo in midtown and it pales in comparison to Kuboya.  Sapporo churns out ramen with factory like timing and blandness.  Kuboya has expertly crafted ramen with attention to quality and detail.  It is like drinking a Budweiser and then sampling a Dogfishhead 90 Minute IPA.  Once you try, you will know.

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