A Tale Of Two Ramens, Part 2

Yesterday, we had Part 1 of Trey Popp’s ramen adventure. Today, we present the conclusion, in which he and his faithful companion actually go and eat some ramen in an attempt to determine what the big deal is all about. ~JS

First, we went upscale.

To my palate—unschooled and therefore unspoiled by expectations—the pork belly ramen at Morimoto (above) was remarkable mostly for how thoroughly porky its broth was. As Asian soups go, my touchstones are the intensely aromatic soups of Thailand, and the heavily spiced and condiment-doused foe of Laos (the identical twin of Vietnamese pho, only spelled in accordance with a different transliteration system). The tonkotsu at Morimoto struck me as the product of a different priority: It was less about showing off its ancillary aromatics than emphasizing pork flavor to the nth degree. This it did splendidly, with a full-throated flavor but without the off-putting coagulation of fat that marred a subsequent bowl at Nom Nom Ramen. The noodles were cooked the way I like most noodles: Tender but retaining the spring promised by their kinks. On top were a couple quarter-inch thick slices of pork belly and a hard-cooked egg split down the middle (a minute or two past the soft-cooked egg the menu advertised). Still, it was pretty delicious. I’d slurp it up happily in the winter, though $15 is a stretch for any soup.

My friend the globetrotting ramen expert, though, dismissed the pork belly as inauthentically thick “window dressing.” But it was exquisitely tender, and the soup overall was good enough to win the Iron Chef’s “schtick” a pass in his book.

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A Tale Of Two Ramens, Part 1

A couple weeks ago, I tasked Philly mag’s food critic, Trey Popp, with what I thought was a fairly simple task: Go check out the ramen that has been on the menu at Morimoto forever and see how it stands up to all the newcomers in town. Unsurprisingly (in retrospect), he approached the assignment with a bit more…rigor than I expected. This is Part 1 of his ramen report. Check out Part 2 tomorrow. ~JS

I am a ramen virgin.

There, I said it. Can there be a more embarrassing ignorance for a Philly food writer to own up to in the spring of 2012? Ramen, as you’ve no doubt heard, is the next Next Big Thing. It’s this year’s Korean shortrib taco, the new hand-stretched fior di latte, the next Izakaya pop-up. And here I am, 12 years on from a 12-hour stint on Japanese soil—ten of them in a long-haul-layover coma and the rest waiting for a flight to five-dollar-a-day-land—trying to explain to my wife that there’s apparently more to ramen than peeling the top off a plastic cup and plugging the electric kettle into your dorm room wall.

Exactly how much more, though, is the question.

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Truffle Omakase At Morimoto

Morimoto Wall

Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has launched a seven course winter Truffle Omakase dinner.

The menu blends sushi, meats and dessert with truffles for $150 per person. A beverage pairing is available for an additional $75 per person.

Check out the full menu after the jump.

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Morimoto Adds Cheesesteak

MorimotoMorimoto has added an upscale cheesesteak to its menu in honor of the Phillies being in the World Series. It’s made with wagyu beef and topped with sweet soy sauteed onions, enoki mushrooms and grilled scallions on an Amoroso roll. The sandwich is served with house made made tonkatsu sauce (Japanese ketchup), pommes frites and a seasonal salad for $35.

Also added to the menu is Cracker Jack ice cream for a chilly $10.

Morimoto [Official Site]

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