Zen Restaurant – 03.03.2011

Zen Restaurant
31 St. Marks Place
New York, NY

Zen is located in the heart of St. Marks amongst the multitude of asian eateries; and much like the people, all the storefronts look the same:  yellow and foreign.  Step into Zen and you will be transported to a no frills NYC-style Japanese joint.  A dime a dozen or a yen a dozen rather.


A pitcher of Kirin draft will set you back $12, not too shabby.


Zen’s signature Tonkotsu Ramen ($8.50).


Another noodle waterfall.

Ramen is the reason Eatclub meets and ramen is what we ordered.  The waitress recommended the Tonkotsu ramen:  original garlic salt flavored noodle soup with meat, mushroom, egg, and baby bamboo (shinachiku).  Eatclub has eaten enough ramen to be critical and to be brief, this ramen was slightly above average.  The noodles were wavy and chewy, the best thing going for this dish.  The meat (charsui) was average, the egg was overcooked with a greenish tinge, and sadly the broth let me down.  Perhaps it was the garlic salt base but a ramen called “tonkotsu” has to deliver in-your-face porkiness.  Instead the soup was thin and bland, especially when compared to more complex blends such as the broths at Ippudo and Kuboya.  However, if I ever had a hankering for ramen in the East Village, I would consider going back to Zen, especially with good company and a thirst for Japanese brew.

Good
Noodles and beer. In that order.

Bad
Signature ramen’s soup was just meh.

Ugly
The storefront, it looks like a bad 3-D Japanese/English ransom note.

– ramen boy


An extra seat is available single ladies.

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