MAJOR SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY CONSTRUCTION has been more than a minor inconvenience to the businesses that dot the sidewalks of the new line. far too businesses have already closed, some that have been around for generations.
So it is with tenuous optimism that new stores boldly open. Especially if it's a restaurant trying to compete not only with the high concentration of competition from other eateries, but with the fickle tastebuds of the rise of new resident Millenials who are quick to jump on then hop off anything the remotely resembles a trend.
Boding well for Second Avenue dining options is the arrival most recent of MEIJIN RAMEN and DESSERT BAR a, yes, legitimately traditional ramen house boasting a chill vibe, modern and clean décor, enthusiastically attentive staff, and—if the first two dishes I sampled are any example—some really great dishes.
The first I tried was their Japanese fried chicken. More authentically called kara age, these boneless chicken pieces are deep-fried, with a mildly seasoned, crispy yet not overly crunchy, exterior, and are juicy and tender to the bite. The come served with a smile pile of sanshopepper and salt—so you can season to your own taste—and a spicy mayo for dipping if you want a little extra kick.
I then opted for their summer hiyashi ramen dish of cold ramen noodles with chashu pork, green onions, soft-boiled egg, bamboo, bean sprouts, cucumber, red ginger, corn, and tomato. It is although a broth-less, which let me enjoy the genuine taste and texture of the noodles themselves. The dish does come with a soy-sesame dressing, adding just enough umami and salt to highlight the tender pork, and compliment the fresh, crisp vegetables.
Purists will defend that true appreciation of good ramen comes from the hot broth. I don't disagree. So the promise of my first two plates have me eager to revisit to try the variety of hot broth dishes they of course also offer.
And if that wasn't enough reason to return, there is still the promise of a Japanese dessert menu they plan to have ready to offer by next week, being featured at the full bar in the space next door that is also part of the restaurant. The neighborhood-specific novelty of a ramen and dessert spot could ultimately be a much-needed major coup for Second Avenue.
Bun Apple Tea!