Listen, I don’t know anything about Japan and less about ramen, but I do know the ramen at Tabata Noodle Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen tastes really good. Tabata Noodle is an incredibly unassuming place that blends in with the dozens of other small restaurants lining the streets of Hells Kitchen, but if you are lucky enough to step inside you will soon learn that it sets itself apart. To the right of the entrance is a long counter where people can sit on stool, drink a Sapporo (the only beer on draft) and eat ramen while watching the chefs cook. Giant flames leap from the burner under mammoth woks, sometimes singeing the heavily-scarred arms of the chefs. We usually head to the back of the restaurant with our kids, who are treated like royalty.
Our favorite: Tan Tan Men: A spicy sesame ground pork ramen soup.
Perfect with a draft of Sapporo when you need to cut the heat of the spice in the soup. We let the kids suffer. They don’t seem to mind.