Ramen is boring. I don’t understand the craze over oily broth. Tonkatsu, which is supposedly to be manly because of strong flavors, don’t entice me. I always respected its humble cousin, udon, much more for its simplicity and unique thick noodles. There are so many other great noodle dishes around the world. Just thinking of the sour and spicy combination of tom yam makes me salivates. My favorite noodle dish is laksa, a curry based noodle soup, which turns up the heat with its flavorful soup. The boring ramen simply doesn’t cut it.
Even in my dissident opinion piece, the redeeming quality of a bowl of ramen is the noodle. There are rumor that the only reason ramen broth is boring because the yellow and wavy noodles doesn’t require a soup base. I disagree with that view and believe in putting the noodle to better use by adding them into tasty broth! Koreans’ spicy kimchi ramen is so delicious! That’s similar to the origins of the spicy ramen in Bassanova. Rumor has it that a Thai chef fused the spicy noodle soup from back home and the ramen culture in Tokyo, inventing the green curry ramen. Years later, Bassanova opens a branch in New York City, spreading this amazing bowl of spicy ramen to the United States.
Located in the basement of a 3 story shop in Chinatown, Manhattan, the minimalist all white Bassanova Ramen is tucked away from the colorful and busy street. We walk past it three times, only notice the sign across the street below eye level on the 3rd pass through. Accolades are printed in large fonts next to the restaurant’s name – I can’t tell if they are insecure or proud. This looks more like an art studio than an eatery. Through the glass windows, the place looks dead, but we aren’t the first and the kitchen has been primed to serve hungry patrons. The horrible hot weather explains the lack of crowd. The menu is pretty elementary, but that’s usual for a ramen shop. She was thinking of getting the usual tonkatsu ramen, but in the end, we both order the Tondaku Wadashi Green Curry Ramen.
Ramen is served hot and quickly. We are presented with beautiful bowls of spicy ramen, reminiscent of curry noodles seen in South East Asia. The utensils are oversize, chopsticks are foot long and the soup spoon is closer to an ice cream scooper. I don’t know understand why the sizes couldn’t match the bowl of ramen, which is pretty normal in comparison. The toppings are rather generous and colorful, with red fried ginger onion, green okra, a shrimp, some pork chashu and mix green, in contrast to the reddish brown broth. She got half boiled egg that shimmers in the soup. Taste wise, this is why I love spicy noodle soup. Green curry wouldn’t have been my broth of choice because it has a distinct sweet-metallic aftertaste that I dislike, but that thought goes right out of the window once I sip another mouthful of broth. As much as I enjoy eating spicy food, I can’t take much heat these days. Soon, I’m sweating in a full air-conditioned room in a hot summer day. Inception!
Is this a good ramen shop? Hell yeah, I really like it. I prefer it over Momofuku noodle bar, and maybe even Ivan’s. The important question is if this is a ramen shop. By defination, probably not. They do serve tonkatsu ramen, but you are wrong not getting the green curry ramen. Names and definitions might be a philosophical question that I’ll have to think about, but for right now, all I want is a bowl of delicious noodle soup, and Bassanova delivers. I wouldn’t eat another bowl of tonkatsu ramen if curry ramen is always a choice. Especially one this good.
Visited: July 29, 2018 at 12pm for lunch.
Address: 76 Mott St, New York, NY