New York City was the last place on earth I expected to find an unforgettable bowl of ramen. Much less from a Japanese restaurant specializing in yakiniku (which is said to be one of the best in the city.) But I did. In the West Village, Takashi flips its yakiniku operations around and for two midnights a week, serves up beef-centric ramen that contains. The winning formula for the only and best beef ramen of your life:
Beef broth + beef belly + fried beef intestines
This effortful method to obtain Takashi’s ramen did not deter my friends and I. After watching a Broadway show ending at 10.30pm, we made our way down to the West Village and wandered around just to keep ourselves awake and appetite ready for 12am.
When we arrived on Hudson Street just before midnight, it was not hard to locate the restaurant. There was a small crowd standing outside. Promptly at midnight, we were ushered into the restaurant and handed red menus. Only two dishes were available: Takashi’s Original Ramen ($16) and Grandma’s Spicy Ramen ($17).
One could add extra toppings.
We skipped this and all went for the simplest bowl of noodles. A page on the menu described in detail the origins and effort gone into preparing each element. Now I know why the whole kitchen has to shut down just to prepare one ramen.
Before long, huge steaming bowls were seen being carried out of the kitchen. The whole room was filled with the most comforting fragrance of beef. I could feel my stomach rumbling. Then my bowl of ramen finally arrived! When placed before me, my face was engulfed in fragrant steam that rose from a deeply flavored bowl of ramen. The beef broth was extremely rich with small fat globules on the surface. Despite the visible fat, the velvety broth was still palatable and I relished every drop until the end.
Of all the elements, it was the Kobe beef belly that I was eagerly looking forward to and liked the most. The thick slab was spent hours braising and does all but melt into the broth when it’s placed there. The texture resembled a finely-braised pork belly but with a rich beef flavour. Plus check out those sexy seared marks! How is it that I only discovered the joy of beef belly after 28 years?!
Addictive crackly pieces of beef intestines provided an incredible crunch component. I wanted more of it.
Takashi uses custom-made noodles from Sun Noodle; they’re especially thin to entwine the soup’s toppings. To be honest, I much preferred a thicker studier noodle to match with the rich elements. Still, with the ubiquitous soft-boiled egg tender and delicate, floating alongside a handful of scallions, it was first bite magic. A shame that beef ramen is so hard to find. You have to visit Takashi and try for yourself his ramen. Even the usually-carbophobe me (when I’m not training for a race) ate the hearty bowl without regrets.
456 Hudson Street, NYC, New York
Ramen only at 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday. Broth (and so the ramen) usually sold out by 1:00am.