Tokyo’s E.A.K. Ramen Takes on America
Can’t get to Japan to feast on sushi and noodles? Luckily for New Yorkers, there’s been a steady influx of stellar, Tokyo-based food concepts, like Ikinari, Ichiran and TsuruTonTan.
The latest is E.A.K. Ramen; newly situated in the former Kin Shop space in the West Village. And while New Yorkers tend to think that, at this point, they know everything there is to know about ramen, the prolific chain focuses on a seldom-seen variant known as iekei.
And just what is iekei exactly? A happy medium between ultra-rich, reduced pork fat tonkotsu, and light and fragrant chicken and soy-based shoyu, the base broth is made from bleached bones boiled in water, resulting in a potage that’s more delicate than the former style, and denser than the latter. Another unique element is the straight, plump noodles — more like an eggy spaghetti than the standard wavy angel hair — which are specifically designed to absorb and hold the liquid (generally with ramen, the idea is to slurp your pasta as fast as possible, to avoid the dread broth bloat).
In addition to the signature E.A.K. (topped with egg, chashu, spinach and nori), the pork and chicken mixture is found in the “thick and bold” Zebra bowl, slicked with butter and roasted garlic oil, as well as the spicy “Oh So Hot;” featuring cabbage, ground chicken and fiery miso. And vegetable broth is substituted for two “healthy options,” including the “Go Green” with kabocha, baby corn, mini tomatoes and shredded red chilies, and the vegan “V Garden,” bulked out with cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and radish sprouts.
So forget what you thought you knew about ramen. With Japanese establishments continuing to set their sights on New York, we expect our horizons will be increasingly and deliciously expanded.
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