- By Setagaya’s shio ramen — absolutely worth the wait on line (though is it really fair that they subject the noodle-starved queue to a video loop of ramen-making?). The noodles, as noted by many, have a wonderful chewy snap to them (the Taiwanese would say they’re “Q Q”), and superfatty slices of pork and “salt taste egg” perfectly complement both noodles and the good-to-the-last-drop broth. I don’t know why the manager of this place bothers comparing their product to Momofuku’s. Their ramen specimens are worlds apart. Both are tasty, but there’s a sort of messiness and Americanness to Momofuku’s. Actually, here’s an apt comparison: Momofuku’s ramen is country ham to Setagaya’s prosciutto di San Daniele (I was going to say culatello, but I don’t think it goes that far. This is not ramen perfection, but ramen as tradition and in a purer form). I’m also very much biased by the fact that my last visit to Momofuku was pretty disappointing — they absolutely need to put the noodle bar in a bigger joint (as they are planning to do) or find some way to deal with all those covers. The noodles suffer, otherwise. Mine were flabby, the broth tepid. I will say, however, and without reservation, that I think David Chang deserves all the press and accolades he’s been getting these last few years. Ssam Bar hits all the right notes.
- And by Will Eisner. The Brooklyn Public Library (GAP branch) happened to have A Life Force sitting out on display, and I’d been meaning to read Eisner for a while. I’m definitely going to get my hands on the whole trilogy, you can bet on that.