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I am meeting up with my sister near Union Square and want a moderately nice but not suuuper expensive dinner. The entrees should be below $30, and we’ll eat just about anything, but I hate mayonnaise and am a wimp about spice. We don’t want Javelina, and we don’t want to do a crazy wait like at Sugarfish.
Have you checked out E.A.K. Ramen yet? It’s the first U.S. outpost of a pretty big Japanese chain, and I think it’s serving one of the best new bowls of ramen in New York, particularly if you’re down for a rich broth.
E.A.K. serves iekei-style ramen, a tonkotsu-shoyu blend that’s still fairly uncommon in New York. Go for the classic, which clocks in at an approachable $15, or the zebra, a $16 bowl that adds nori, butter, and roasted garlic umami oil. The flavor of the broths will pleasantly fill your mouth, but the texture is what really stands out. It’s amazingly smooth, with none of the slight residue found at popular (and still delicious!) tonkotsu or paitan houses like Ippudo or Totto. The noodles, too, are unique from many other fancy ramen spots around town. They’re thick, giving them a bite and chew that’s in the same family as an udon. It’s lovely, and the space is nice enough to make you feel like you’re not phoning it in on ambiance.
It will be about a ten minute walk from Union Square, and it will be easy to avoid mayo, spice, and a horrendous wait.