Hinomaru Lucky Cat Izakaya Ramen - Midtown East Japanese Restaurant Review

Photo credit Alex Chen
Nyah nyah nyah~ or meow meow meow if you're American. Recently I have been obsessed with looking at cat photos (no I don't think hope I won't become a cat lady). So when when my friend decided to go to Lucky Cat Ramen for her birthday party, I was psyched.





It's located at a very convenient location in Midtown East, right near the E, M or 6 train's Lexington and 63rd street station. The exterior was already very Japanese style with hanging paper x wood lamps across the top, and a red sign with their mascot on it so you can't miss it. Stepping inside, you can already tell it's an izakaya styled restaurant with the way it's set up and all the photos and posters plastered on the walls. Whats special is a HUGE version of their lucky cat mascot by the door, it's super cute!!




I didn't realize it was opened by the same people that created Hinomaru until I saw some waiter's shirt had a I (monkey mascot) NY instead of the I (cat mascot) NY. That's why the wooden interior, chalkboard filled with drawings and specials, and whole mood was similar to Hinomaru's. The difference is the cat related photos and paper lanterns strung across the ceiling.



To start, we ordered some oolong and jasmine tea. Since my friend has been here, he was in charge of the appetizers. They have some interesting appetizers such as spicy edamame and stingray fin with wasabi mayo, and lots of grilled skewers to choose from. Ranging from cow's tongue, intestines and salmon, my favorite was the grilled eel.

Yuzu Shio Ramen
Seeing as it was one of their specials, I decided to try the Yuzu Shio Ramen, which had actual slices of yuzu paired with leek and skinny noodles. The soup was very light and refreshing with a hint of saltiness and tangy yuzu. The tender and soft meat was lightly seasoned. The superstar of any ramen for me is the egg, and this one was slightly runny and flavored, just the way I liked it to be.

Lucky Cat Ramen
The complete opposite is their signature Lucky Cat Ramen, a much creamier soup base with spicy miso and chili oil. Additional toppings to this ramen were the kikurage (black wood ear, a type of mushroom like vegetable), spinach and supposedly menma (dried bamboo shoots) but I didn't see it. The charshu meat in this one was a bit more grilled and thicker. This was definitely a heavier ramen, great for those that likes more flavor.

What's awesome is, like Hinomaru, they offered kaidama, which is a refill on noodles if you still have soup left. You can choose between the thick or thin noodles.

My favorite sesame ice cream~
Happy mochi face :) photo credit Alex Li/AXL Photography
For dessert, they had ice cream choices such as pistachio, and yuzu. However, the texture was more sherbet like making it more refreshing. And of course my favorite, sesame, which had actual sesame making it rich in flavor. Want a more chewier dessert? There's also the mochi vanilla ice cream. Which can turn your frown upside down ;)

The waiters are all very friendly and helpful, and the appetizers arrived promptly, giving us something to chew on while we waited for our ramen. 

Batman loves his cat friend~
photo credit Alex Chen
Overall, it's quite good (though I do prefer the Hinomaru special over the Lucky Cat's special), a good place to try if you're in the area. It's great that they have choices between lighter and heavier type of soup bases, as well as two types of noodles. Don't forget to take a photo with the big cat mascot before leaving! Even batman approves of his new cat friend! 

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My passion lies within fashion! I love every aspect of it - from styling, designing, creating, shooting to even the details of makeup and accessory. This blog is for me to share with everyone my journey through all these hobbies (and work!) of mine. Hope you'll enjoy browsing my #10seclookbooks, photography and creations :)

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