Ace PopUp LA

Aya: Hey Tmonkey,


tmonkey: hey

have you recovered from The Banquet?

Aya: um I don't even know what you're talking about because I've had my memories from Friday night removed from my brain.

tmonkey: nooo

ok the movie was painful

but the ramen at Setagaya!

Can't forget that!

Aya: hmmm seem to have a faint recollection....

ok jk how could I possibly forget?! SRSLY

tmonkey: omg u r such a dork

i mean, when we finally find the BEST RAMEN IN NY

Aya: WOW bold statement!!!!

tmonkey: some cat comes along and reformats ur hard drive

Aya: LOLCATS!!!! only eaten cheezbrgrs

ok ok -- seriously...

I have heard that Setagaya is a chain restaurant from California and also from Setagaya in Tokyo (which, incidentally, is where my brother lives)

tmonkey: i thought chain meant it would be bad

Aya: I know, right?

tmonkey: but boy was i wrong!

Aya: OK let's break it down

tmonkey: well, it started out kind of disappointing




no liquor license yet

Aya: yeah, wtf, how can they be "out" of gyoza?!?

tmonkey: after that, i was like (to the waitress): "This ramen better be damn good!"

Aya: Yah, i think she was like, whatever, dude

tmonkey: i mean, we were all prepared for some serious disappointment

Aya: It's pretty bold for a ramen shop to serve only one kind of soup

tmonkey: we = a big table of Japanese (and Taiwanese) ramen freaks

what was it? shio?

Aya: yes, shio (salt) flavor. kinda risky, considering most pp tend to favor the traditional shoyu flavor

tmonkey: isn't that what i ordered?

Aya: no you got the chashu ramen, which basically means you got 2 extra slices of pork

the soup was the same: pale yellow color, looks light but full of flavor!

tmonkey: i love how there's a whole different menu listing for ADD EXTRA PORK SLICES


the soup!

nice saltiness (not too much) but with good depth, and it was clear

Aya: yeah the description on the menu in bad engrish was hysterical

tmonkey: they put those three oils in it..

Aya: something like "look for the bamboo shooting on the top"


tmonkey: oh yeah, i had some bamboo gunplay going on in mine

the noodles were AWESOME imho

al dente

Aya: u r such a dork


tmonkey: shaddap

what, i like my noodles thin and al dente!

Aya: anyway the soup -- made from dried shrimp, dried scallop, garlic, onion, chicken -- was so full! and they added the scallop oil at the end,

very complex

tmonkey: it's amazing how hard it is to get the soup right

momofuku you would think would be able to conjure up a good broth


Aya: ugh

tmonkey: minca's is too thick

Aya: i don't know WTF they are doing over there, man

tmonkey: and everywhere else just has no DEPTH

Aya: minca is way too thick and salty

tmonkey: but Setagaya, I gotta admit, EXCELLENT

Aya: yes we are in agreement there.

tmonkey: that's half the battle

Aya: the menu also talked about there being 3 different thicknesses to their noodles.

did you notice that?

tmonkey: not sure if i got that

Aya: me neither...

tmonkey: i was too busy slurping them into my mouth i didn't have a chance to get my ruler out

Aya: but then again, we pretty much inaled that shit


that's what i said

tmonkey: jinx

Aya: stop stealing my thoughts

tmonkey: dork


the egg, halved and poached to perfection


no piece of seaweed though

no fancy ginger

Aya: yeah. plus bamboo shotting -- they had shredded seaweed (not nori)


tmonkey: what was that orange crumbly stuff on the scallions?

Aya: OHHH dried ground shrimp i thnk!

tmonkey: gave it some nice color

Aya: and packed a flavor punch

tmonkey: i liked the restraint and the humble presentation

it wasn't trying to do too much

Aya: We should have order extra noodles

tmonkey: um, we should have just ordered another bowl

Aya: yeah second round!

tmonkey: hungry hippo

Aya: of course by that time there were like a dozen pp waiting in line to get in

tmonkey: yeah, we have to plan to be there at some odd hour to not have to wait in line, but you know

it's totally worth it

Aya: yesh -- and next time we'll skip the crepes from next door that gave you the tummyache

and the poop poops

tmonkey: STOP

Aya: LOL




tmonkey: KTHXBAI

Aya: :(

i don't know why you insist on chatting with me when you're sitting 5 feet away from me

tmonkey: because, sometimes there are things that are better said through chat

Aya: like what

tmonkey: like

i just farted

Aya: U NYERD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sent at 11:05 AM on Sunday

Ramen Setagaya

141 First Avenue
(bet. 8th and 9th Streets)
(212) 529-2740

Links to other Umami Mart ramen-related postings:



  • I too, live in Setagaya-ku. About three minutes away is Nandenkanden – tonkotsu style ramen – open only from 18:00 until…4:00, so however late I may stroll by back from work, I am always greeted by the invasive, aromatic stench of pork back fat.
    When indulging, if you leave your seat for a few seconds and come back, the soup congeals… Plus you always get an ad printed on your nori in white ink. The first time I went I ate an ad for Michael Jackson’s new greatest hits album. Yum…

    yoko on

  • Great post!!! of course lovin all of the LOL cat references. a friggin hoot!

    So the ramen— yes, it might, just MIGHT, be the best ramen in NY. which isn’t to say that it’s the best i’ve had ever, or that i couldn’t make a better bowl myself. but the soup was really complex and flavorful, and you’re right- lots of DEPTH.

    i’m not a fan of the hakata style ramen— that’s all there is in NY! it boggles me. but even though these were hakata, it was indeed al dente and cooked to perfection.

    and the pork slices were tender and fatty, lots of flavor.

    my favorite part might have been the perfectly cooked egg. it really is no simple task to poach an egg that saddles the liminal divide between cooked and slimy yolk. it was a deep yellow!!! lots of props.

    they definitely need to get their ish together with their gyoza and liquor license though, seriously. the fact that it isn’t even BYOB totally blows.

    next time we go, i’m getting the ‘tsukemen’ (ramen with dipping sauce). gotta try that.


    kayoko on

  • Just when I was kicking myself for not having digital camera to prove that this Michael Jackson nori existed… Google came to the rescue – seems someone else documented it while the campaign was going on. Notice the Michael Jackson silhouette rimmed ramen bowl.
    It’s hard to make out the actual ad and what’s written on it, but it’s printed with white ink and it’s advertising his CD “The Ones.”

    yoko on

  • yoko—

    Michael Jackson ad printed on nori??? Photos or it didn’t happen.

    tmonkey on

  • I went to Setagaya AGAIN last night (right before going to get my eyelashes permed — OMG why go to Tokyo when Tokyo comes to the East Village?! — but SRSLY I’m not really that kind of girl…) just to make sure we weren’t just crazy that first time. I am happy to report that the soup was as delicious, the egg was as perfectly cooked, the bamboos were still shooting, and the noodles, yummy. Where can I get a membership?

    ayagwa on

  • I went again for the third time. I feel ashamed. But fulfilled.

    ayagwa on

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