More and more ramen shops are opening around New Jersey so we decided to see what all the fuss was about.
This isn’t the 20¢ ramen noodle soup you remember being cooked in a dorm room’s hot pot from your college days. These soups are some of those most flavorful broths and noodles you’ve ever had. Menya Sandaime’s Fort Lee location opened about seven months ago but they are not new to the business. They are a South Korean company that has five locations around Seoul.
Fort Lee’s restaurant is a very small space with about five tables and a few seats at a counter overlooking the kitchen. There are a few parking spaces in the front of the store and three more behind the store. But, there are also parking spots on the street that aren’t as tight as the little lots.
We started with an order of gyoja that were some of the best we’ve ever had. Grilled dumplings, made by hand in the store, are grilled on one side and steamed on the other. The filling is very wet with beef stock and extremely delicious.
Each of us tried a different ramen selection. First was the Black Ramen which is a double soup Ramen blended with Donkochu soup and seafood soup. The broth was very very smoky and complex because of the mixture of the two types of soup. It came with pork belly, half a soft-boiled egg, spinach and other shredded greens. The picture makes the bowls look deceptively shallow but this was a big tall bowl of soup!
Here’s a close up of the noodles which are made in the store. They say that what makes their noodles special is an aging process where they make the noodles the day before so the flavors develop overnight. The noodles were al dente and perfectly long for slurping. Yes, it’s OK (even expected) to slurp your soup here!
The other big soup bowl we had was the Donkotsu Ramen which had the same noodles and toppings as the Black Ramen but had just the pork broth. Perfect classic ramen. That pork belly is so soft and perfectly cooked. It fell apart just by applying the chopsticks to it.
Finally, we tried Ankake Yakiramen which was more like noodles in a sauce than a soup. It came with thick and chewy noodles that were stir fried and topped with a variety of seafood and vegetables. Ed was wild about the sauce that came with this. You can see the soft-boiled egg the best in this picture. They are marinated in soy sauce so there’s a light brown layer in the egg white. Yum!
There are certainly lots more ramen shops for us to visit in New Jersey but we may not want to visit anymore after having this meal at Menya Sandaime.
Here are all the pictures from our visit:
1638 Parker Ave., Fort Lee
Monday through Friday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Their website is mainly focused on their South Korean locations. Check out their Yelp page for more information about the Fort Lee location.
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