Tag Archives: midtown west

Tabata

Tabata is a small, no bullshit ramen joint on the corner of 40th Street and 8th Avenue.

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The place is legit. Nothing fancy inside either – it gets right down to fucking business.

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We started with some crispy baby octopus. These were tasty. Not the most tender I’ve had, but the crisp was nice and the lemon really made them pop.

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I had “lava men,” which is their tonkotsu broth (I chose pork rather than chicken) with a spicy kick. It was pretty good. Noodle quality was good to above average, flavor was good, and I had two very nice slices of pork that were soft and flavorful with no rubbery chew. Great part about this little joint is that you get a whole egg in your ramen, not just a half. A third slice of pork would have been awesome, but at only $11 it really was a great bargain.

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The real winner here though was my wife’s bowl of “tabata” ramen, which is the owner’s Burmese, non-traditional version of ramen, with a soy and coconut curry broth that was both sweet and savory, with a little kick of spice and some fresh herbage from the onion and cilantro. This was so creamy and flavorful. Man. Amazing. One thing I would love to see is a little pile of sliced red chili peppers for a little extra boom in the spice department.

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TABATA
540 9th Ave
New York, NY 10018

Puff Cha Ramen

In the annals of not-quite-ramen joints that use the word “ramen” in their name to draw in Ippudo and Totto overflow business in the midtown west area, Puff Cha has to be one of the best.

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The place is small inside, with seating for a maximum of 18 guests, but it is very nicely and basically decorated. Colorful.

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Like Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns “Ramen,” Puff Cha serves up a bunch of dry and soup noodle dishes, among other things like Thai curry puffs and bubble teas. These are essentially empanada-like puff pastry dough turnovers filled with all sorts of goodies. We tried the Korean BBQ varietal, which was okay but I imagine their signature Thai offerings are much better.

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We also dabbled into their chicken wings, which, despite not being as crispy as I like, were definitely nice and flavorful, with a soy-based sticky sauce coating them.

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We tried some lunch specials since we were both off from work and wandered in for the deal. I tried the roast pork noodle soup, which was really awesome.

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The broth was packed with flavor, yet thin and clear. It was served with thinly sliced roast pork, fresh baby bok choy, scallions, cilantro, and a fried egg roll wrapper of some sort. The noodles were ramen style, and cooked just right.

My soup came with a spring roll too, which was decent. Not greasy, and very light.

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My wife tried a “mock duck” in Thai peanut curry sauce, which was surprisingly delicious and very reminiscent of actual fatty duck skin. Nicely done! It was served with rice, baby bok choy, and a bowl of clear fish broth.

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My wife’s dish came with a steamed dumpling, which was definitely more Thai or Vietnamese flavored as opposed to Chinese.

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The greatest part of this meal was discovering that they have fresh, lightly pickled spicy jalapeño peppers and red onions in a dish for adding to your soups or rice/noodle dishes. Awesome!

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In the back, they have a counter-top display case with some homemade desserts that looked simple and nice as well.

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Very affordable – especially during the lunch deal times (until 4pm).

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PUFF CHA
457 W 50th St
New York, NY 10019

Smokey Burger

Smokey Burger is a little organic burger shop on 44th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. I found out about it through a Living Social deal.

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I went with the signature “Smokey Burger” which involved cheddar, grilled onions, mushrooms, and chipotle sauce. This was an above average burger. The bun (I chose white) was supple yet durable. No ripping or tearing. The meat was properly cooked to medium and pretty nicely seasoned. Looks gorgeous, right?

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But my wife’s “Cabana Burger” was the winner. It was topped with a sunny side up egg, and had a little bit more of a robust kick to it from the pickles and turkey bacon. Why not real bacon, you ask? This place happens to be halal, for you practicing Muslims out there.

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On the side we had an order of onion rings and an order of fries. Both were a little bit limp or soggy, but nevertheless tasted good because they were well seasoned.

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I also had a vanilla shake, which was incredible. For $6 it is well worth it, though I wish it was double the size. Very tasty.

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SMOKEY BURGER
339 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036