H1 the Swan and I have eaten at Sapporo on countless occasions. That's not to say we find the ramen particularly inspired, but for a lunch option on days when we just wanted to get out of the office, Sapporo was our go to spot. Although we've been a lot of times, due to the fact we usually end up there during lunch office hours and it's a madhouse in there during those times, I've never actually reviewed the place with pictures or written text. Well, now's a good time as any to do so (for you, Habboi!).
After the Animal Crossing Launch Event yesterday at Nintendo World, my friends and I were famished. Just a couple of blocks away, Sapporo made the most sense for a filling, decent yet cheap option for some food. UI had not been before either but Em and my Imaginary Friend Fred liked their Miso Ramen quite the bit and were willing to go back for that plus the Special Set.
In fact, they were rather excited when speaking of the Gyu don. Huh? But why? For $2 extra, when you order one of three ramen options off the menu you could get a Special Set (which is a smaller portion than say a menu sized regular portion) of a particular item to go along with your bowl. The additional set options include your choice of three pieces of gyoza, a beef bowl, a side of curry rice, and if I'm not mistaken, a side of fried rice, amongst other things.
What made Imaginary Friend Fred and Em so excited was the size of the beef bowl. While the set items are relatively tiny, that beef bowl was a pretty good deal for $2 more! I seem to recall the curry rice set a relatively sizable portion as well but yeah... it looked like good stuff.
It doesn't look like much here but it's a lot. There's a ton of rice under all that beef.
For their main meals, the boys all went with the Miso ramen. The miso ramen is by far the best ramen on Sapporo's menu as far as H1 and I are concerned. It's a little bit spicy but not overly so, and comes with two slices of pork. The pork itself usually tends to be on the lean side but these days, I've noticed that Sapporo has stepped up its game by giving slightly fattier cuts. Fattier of course means tastier and I'm perfectly okay with that. The texture of the noodles is quite good at Sapporo and the copious amounts of minced pork all up in the broth always makes me happy.
UI's bowl of miso ramen. Notice how he's added an egg to his bowl. That's a mighty fine looking egg. Was it UI? Was it cooked to perfection? I.E. was it not too solid, not too runny and had a delicate balance of flavour?
Em got an onsen egg for his addition. I wonder how that went for him... I never asked. I shall do so. Look at the pork on his ramen though. See it?
I will state though that while I don't mind Sapporo, I determined a long time ago that I just cannot partake in eating their ramen very often. Ever since I ate at the amazing Ippudo (which I hope to throw a review up of some time), Sapporo does not satisfy my ramen needs but if I do go with a Ramen option, I'd faster get the curry ramen. For me, I find the broth on the miso ramen to taste just okay. I don't know what it is and it's not horrendous but I think I've been spoiled by Ippudo, honestly.
The steam! It's everywhere! See the noodles? The noodles throw me off at Sapporo taste wise, but at the very least, the texture is fine.
What I do love at Sapporo however, is the Pork Katsu Curry rice. For a while there, they started using lean pieces of pork and I switched over to the chicken which was just heavenly. But yesterday, oh my word... I had every intention of ordering the curry rice as I always do but I looked at the menu always just to see what's going on since you never know when new things are added.
To my delight, no longer is it just plain old pork on the menu. The katsu is now made with the king of pork: berkshire.
Look at all that curry. YUM! I used to dislike Japanese curry immensely but now, I'll eat it wherever if given the chance. I believe it is a taste I've forced myself to acquire. But that's only due to the fact that I tend to eat a lot more West Indian curries and all other curries used to confuse me.
The side of cabbage is a must and I love the dressing. The crunch of the cabbage cleanses and cuts the curry some. It's a nice blend of flavours and the textures when eaten together.
Berkshire translates into fatty, flavourful, way tasty pork.
When my bowl came (odd! They usually just give it to me on a plate!), I was stunned.
There are a lot of Ramen places in NYC and I've yet to even scratch the surface. There are gems out there waiting for me to find! But for a quick fix if I'm in that area, Sapporo is the one I can count on. The turn around during lunch is fast and the meal satisfies and is filling enough to get you through the afternoon.
Look at the fry on that. LOOK AT THE CRUNCH! Can't you just see the crunch? Can't you just tell that is crispy beyond words? It sure was.
See that glossy bit? That's berkshire pork right there. That fat glistening is the key to the most brilliant of flavours. It's a sin, well and truly.
Along with the curry, the rice and the cabbage, it's the perfect harmony.
*H1 The Swan, please feel free to jump in and say more if you care to.
152 W 49th St,
New York, NY 10019 (Btwn 6th & 7th Ave)
The Original Article was published on zarnyx.kinja.com on June 9, 2013. The article may be found at the following link: http://zarnyx.kinja.com/foodie-adventures-on-tay-classic-sapporo-restaurant-512165270