Today my husband and I jumped into an Uber and headed from Brooklyn, into the city, hoping to arrive at a ramen shop we’d found online.
After almost 40 minutes my husband decided to check his phone and realized we where going the completely wrong way, and somehow the link on google maps that connects to the app, hadn’t relayed the right address.
I was devastated, as I stood like a drowned rat, in the rain, on a curb in NYC.
‘What do we do now?’ I asked my husband.
Quickly, he pulled out his phone and told me he had a better plan; after a 10 minute walk, and a stop in the rain, I looked up to see a sign which read ‘Oramen’, another Japanese ramen shop.
At first I still couldn’t believe we hadn’t gone to the ramen joint of choice, and with ramen joints literally spread all across the city, I worried how authentic a lot of them would be, and if this trip would be a complete fail or not.
Trusting my husband wholeheartedly I stepped out of the spitting rain and into the this small establishment.
The wave of delicious smells hit me as I peeled my wet jacket off, and I instantly felt my stomach tighten in hunger; it was almost 2.30pm and we still had yet to eat that day – shocker!
The inside was stylish, minimalistic, and nothing too crazy; our waitress sat us down immediately and a menu seemed to appear before my eyes.
Usually at any ramen joint I can’t help but dive into a Tonkotsu, but today the menu had another option that literally had my gasping and jumping up and down in my seat.
Shoyu Duck ramen!
I think duck is now becoming one of my most loved proteins, and not only could I get a duck ramen, I could also get a duck and hoisin boa bun; it was going to be a good day.
My husband ordered the Tonkotsu, and a spare rib bao bun, and we promised to let each other try a bite of each; it was an exciting time.
Here is a look at all of the delicious items on the menu, because if you want good ramen then I’d recommend you make the trip.
As we sat waiting for our food I couldn’t help but glance around me at some of the dishes coming out of the kitchen; this place was holding its own in ramen making, and I prayed it would taste as good as it looked.
Whilst discussing our love for ramen, my husband and I spoke about our love of soupy dishes like ramen, and pho, on cold days and why they’re just so good at picking people up and fixing the world.
I strongly believe that a good steaming broth, the perfect ramen egg, and a great meat are the way to go in any life situation for fixing any problems. If you have a food choice question, the answer is always going to be ramen or pho for me on rainy days and hangover days – but really, just any day of the week.
As I tried to imagine the look my duck ramen would take, and the tastes it would have, my beautifully plated duck bao arrived in front of me, along with my husbands short rib.
First, the look; these little bao buns where so perfectly dressed that they almost looked fake!
I couldn’t stop staring at their sheer beauty.
I lifted my little bao high up to my face and inhaled, the smell was more than anything I could handle at such a Hangry point of the day.
Without hesitation I took my first bite.
The duck was so incredibly perfect that I couldn’t even wait to take a second bite.
To me, it had the perfect sear on the outside, which added the perfect salty edge and depth of flavor that makes duck stand out in its own league; it also fell apart so gracefully that I wonder, if after the sear, this little duck breast took a ride into a slow cook and spent multiple hours perfecting itself into the piece of duck in front of me.
Of course, hoisin and cucumber always fair well with duck, and I’m pretty sure there are few combinations more sacred and sweet than that, but mix all of that into a bao bun and you have an explosion of taste heaven that nobody can pass up.
We where off to a great start.
I also managed to snag myself a little piece of the short rib bao from my husband, and that too was so flavorful and full of character that I wish we could have spent the rest of the meal ordering bao after bao, until we couldn’t physically eat anymore.
The short rib tasted almost stewed to me, just like when I was young and my Mother would make a hearty stew.
Of course I would prefer my duck bao each and every time over the short rib, but both had qualities that could make you weak at the knees.
All too soon our little bao love affair was over, and we sat with two empty bamboo baskets in front of us, staring at each other across the table in sheer happiness.
Before we had time to really mooch over the bao buns no longer being around, our ramen came steaming it’s way towards us on a tray, and I instantly tapped my husband to tell him of its approach.
We both sat, staring at each other, waiting for the bowls to descend, and oh boy where we in for a treat.
I had never in my life seen a duck ramen quite so incredible; I couldn’t wait for it to cool so I could dive straight in.
As my husband plopped his ramen egg into my bowl, I destroyed the first one, and instantly felt good about the situation we had come to be in.
Everyone knows by now that I’m a total egg slut, and I usually pick a ramen joint based off of the ramen egg I see in pictures; it’s my life goal to find the perfect ramen egg! It’s always the first thing I try on a bowl of ramen, and usually it can be the make, or break, of the dish.
This ramen egg met my expectations of a good egg, and I happily ate my husbands half too (I really wish he liked eggs enough to just try a ramen egg once, but for now I’ll continue to happily eat his).
Next up, the duck; it was a little chewy with the fat but the actual duck breast was glorious in its own right, and the perfect hint of salt to an already salty shoyu.
My only qualm is that I wished they’d really gone to town on the fat and seared it until the fire alarms sang their victory song – ha – but it was still beyond anything I’d expected, and I happily tucked in.
Following my usual ramen bowl deconstruction I went to the next step – the broth – and as I took the first sip I instantly asked my husband to try it too; the broth was salty, it was fatty, and it was a quality of shoyu that I’ve only ever had in Japan itself.
Win. Win. Win. Win. This ramen was hitting all of the spots; even as I shoveled some noods into my face I noticed how these noodles where different then other noodles, and slightly aldente; the flavor was almost buttery, which paired fabulously with the saltiness of the dish, and I knew right there and then that these noodles had been freshly made.
As I sat, shriveling from sodium, I took my last mouthful – clearing the bowl entirely – and asked my husband if he’d also had a great experience with his Tonkotsu, which was also on the verge of completion.
Without a second of hesitation he nodded an eager nod of approval, and held out a piece of pork and some broth for me to try.
The broth was extremely rich and dense; if it had been my dish I would have needed to water it down a little to break through some of the pork fats involved in the cooking process, but it was beyond a shred of a doubt a labor of love that had taken place right here at Oramen.
The pork was also crispy and tender, which my husband described as the ‘best chashu pork he’s ever had’ and that’s really saying something.
Happily full, and eager to get back home for a food coma ramen nap, we paid our tab and headed for the door.
Our original plan was to Uber into the city, and then take the public transport back to Brooklyn, but this ramen had destroyed us in the most beautiful way that we were just too full and too sleepy to be bothered with the hassle; instead we paid $35 for a ride home, making our total travel expenses for the trip $55 alone, and we couldn’t have cared less. The food at Oramen was worth every single cent spent, and given the chance I’d do it all again and change nothing.
I believe our Uber driver dropping us off in the wrong place at the beginning of the trip was pure fate. I 100% believe that we were suppose to end up at Oramen, and have one of the best ramen experiences we’ve had in a few months.
Thank you, a million times over, Oramen; it was a pleasure to accidentally stumble through your doors today.
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Until next time,