Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Ramen Miss


Minca, a total miss for me.

An "out in the open" cooking area

Two waitresses

Brick walls with random art

Ordered & excited

Homemade pork Gyoza- pan fried pork & veggies
A major no-no on how they can serve very burnt Gyoza to us customers. 

Taste of bland pork & veggies, burnt Gyoza wrappings, & oiliness

The initial factor to Minca being unsatisfactory. 
It doesn't matter if it's just the appetizer. Customers are still paying for it & it is part of their order of what they want to try & eat. Serving burnt food especially shows lack of concern with the restaurant's cooking & preparing. 

Our ramen orders

Mine- Spicy Basic Ramen (in pork broth)

My boyfriend's- Basic Ramen with salt & roasted garlic flavor (in pork broth)
This ramen was definitely the best out of the 2.

His was worth finishing up

My bowl was nowhere close to being all clean like his!

Hmm… seems like the latest restaurant reviews are on noodle soups! I do love my oodles of noodles in hot hot soup :D

Address--- 536 East 5th Street New York, NY 10009

Reservations--- If you see the interior & vibe of Minca yourself then it's pretty obvious that there isn't a system in taking reservations. 

Interior--- Two words for this restaurant… tiny & low-key! But if it's during the summer then 3 words, tiny, low-key, & HOT. A simple & unpolished interior with an inadequate amount of wooden tables, brick walls, an open kitchen with a bar & seats and window seats in the front.

Dress code--- At your most comfortable. The type of outfits that you wouldn't concern about droplets of soup from all the noodle slurping going onto your top & clothes you wouldn't mind having an oily aroma afterwards.

Type of food--- Japanese ramen! Ramen that are different from each other by the type of broth. Broths like pork, chicken, both pork & chicken, and soy bean + pork + chicken. There are the non-spicy, vegetable, salty & garlic-y, spicy, & of course miso ramen categories for your selection.  For instance, there is a ramen called, Minca after the restaurant which is in a pork & chicken broth with added on soy sauce flavor and... a Kimchi miso ramen which has a broth of pork & chicken as the base.   
Supposedly it says in the menu that you can choose the type of noodles you want for your ramen. Either thick / thin / wavy wheat noodles / whole wheat noodles / bean noodles. But I don't remember the waitress asking us which noodles we wanted xP
And if you're not in the ramen mood, there is only 1 rice dish- Charshu Don (pork over rice).
Let's not forget the appetizers-the little satisfactions for our rumblies in our tummies-the previewing sides ;) Like pork or shrimp Gyoza (I wouldn't suggest ordering, skip it, save your $5.25/$6!), bean sprout salad, radish salad, kimchi or tofu.

Service--- I have to say I was a bit surprised to see that Minca needed to have 2 waitresses working because the place itself is so small. But then again with all the hype & popularity (?) this place has, I guess it's understandable & much needed. The time that we went, there were very few customers & it was during the day in between lunch & dinner. The service was more on the slow pace. It helps if you keep the conversation going with whomever you came with or if you're by yourself then any distraction, a book or technology would be key. Don't think while you're checking out the scarce interior decorations the food will be placed in front of you.
Sometimes when there's an open kitchen, we tend to think that our orders will be right out but for this restaurant it was not the case.

Highlights--- The Basic Ramen that my boyfriend ordered. As for another highlight but on a personal note, the fact that we didn't have to wait at all for a seat.

Warnings--- I was pretty disappointed with the ramen I ordered, Spicy Basic Ramen. I expected a savory & with a kick type of spicy ramen but it was neither. Instead, it had that "down flavor" from the 1st bite til' the last bite I could manage. My meaning of "down flavor" is there's no kick when the food is supposed to be spicy, more to the heavier side, & none of that desire to want to eat it again in the future. On top of the "down flavor" the broth was overly thick & OILY. So oily that I couldn't finish it after a few slurps & gulps. We were a tad happier & more relieved that at least the Basic Ramen made up for it but still. 
As for comfortability while you dine, if you despise the heat & tend to quickly sweat and a lot then do not come here during the summer! When we went, they had the front door open & just a central fan on! Talk about sticky hotness.

Suggestions--- If you're iffy in the ramen scene & debating what to order then I say, try their Miso Ramen. All ramen restaurants have miso ramen, it's like the main traditional sort of ramen & a staple on the menu. Of course each & every miso ramen tastes differently from each restaurant but if a restaurant doesn't have a good enough miso ramen then that's questionable. It's like a Korean restaurant that should have good kimchi or an Italian restaurant that has spaghetti & meatballs as 1 of their signature dishes or that you can rely on. You might think that it's boring, ordinary, or plain to order common dishes from any restaurant but the core & basics gotta be done right in order for everything else to be delicious :) that's what I think!
If you want to avoid any waiting or crazy crowding then definitely go in the afternoon after lunchtime or early nighttime. The weekdays should be fine whereas the weekends are doubtful if we're talking about going there for dinner. 

Overall experience--- To come back or to never come back…? No, thank you!