Hey Ramenites! I know we've been MIA for the last few months, it seems like the nice weather finally showed up and brought a whole bunch of distractions with it and we kinda let our postings slip. :/ Rest assured though, we are getting back on the ramen train and it's gonna be non-stop slurping! Stop 10 on the Great New York Ramen Tour was at our neighborhood favorite HinoMaru, in Astoria, Queens.
Our Rating our of 5:
Astoria, seems to be a black hole when it comes to food articles of every kind unless it's a list of best Greek restaurants, which we think is a shame. Astoria has more to offer and we feel it should get the same attention as other neighborhoods. So, we are happy to bring you our first review of ramen in Astoria!
My go to order is their signature HinoMaru Ramen, which they call "New York Style." Basically it's Tonkotsu with chili oil and their fireball added to it. The fireball isn't in this picture because I like to get it on the side so I can heat up the dish to fit the mood I'm in. You can actually just see it off to the side in the main picture above. It consists of a ball of ground pork and chili paste, and while spicy the whole ball isn't so overpowering that getting it on the side is necessary, it's just my preference. The other toppings of the HinoMaru are pretty standard: chashu pork, kikurage, menma, scallions, bean sprouts, nori, naruto and of course I added an egg because I love egg in my ramen. The Tonkotsu broth is very good: it's on the lighter side for Tonkotsu, but it still has a rich deep flavor! There was also some black pepper that gave it an extra little jab on top of the chili oil and fireball. I added the entire fireball this visit because I was in a spicy mood, and it really compliments the broth. It comes with thin noodles that were cooked very well and tasted very good although nothing particularly stands out about their thin noodles, but perhaps that is because I'm partial to wavy / thick noodles. The chashu pork was top notch with a very good fat to meat ratio! Their egg is excellent; they don't offer nitamago, instead you can add a sous-vide poached egg that, while cooked, is so runny that as soon as you break the yolk it melds into the soup adding an extra layer of richness. I always think about getting a different ramen when I go, but then I remember how good the HinoMaru is and I just keep ordering it!
Their Miso, which they also refer to as "Sapporo Style" for the city of miso ramen's origin, is a combination of chicken, pork and fish stocks combined with 3 different types of miso, and 30 other ingredients making up this bowl. The broth has a good miso flavor without being overly thick or salty as some miso ramens can be. It's topped with cabbage, corn, scallions, menma, bean sprouts, naruto and chashu pork with an added egg. It comes with thick noodles that do a great job of holding the broth and were cooked perfectly. Jenna also likes spicy ramen so she added some of the fireball to give it a little kick, and has decided that the Miso is her new favorite at HinoMaru.
HinoMaru also offers some other less common ramens. They have a Curry Ramen, that is essentially Katsu Curry in ramen form, which I think is brilliant because I love Katsu and I love ramen! I haven't seen this offered at any other ramen shops probably because it's most certainly not traditional and possibly even taboo, but it's pretty darn tasty! It's very thick and rich for ramen though so you really have to be hungry to finish it... Another option that I haven't seen anywhere else is their Uni Ramen, which is a chicken and cream milk broth topped with uni and other atypical toppings. We haven't tried that one yet, but we will eventually, stay tuned. They also offer a vegetarian ramen, which can be challenging to find since so much of ramen is about animal stocks.
You Should Go...
Of all the ramen we've eaten in Astoria so far, HinoMaru is the best! We've been at least 10 times and it consistently meets or exceeds our expectations! We've never had a bad meal. They have a good selection of beers and a pretty handy beer ramen pairing guide that hasn't steered me wrong. Not only is it the best ramen in Astoria, it's one of the better ramen joints you'll find in the entire city and is definitely worth checking out... even if you live in Brooklyn!
33-18 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105
grew up as a nomad, and currently calls New York home. When he's not slurping noodles he's editing stuff for TV. He's a quarter Japanese and has been using chopsticks since he can remember. His go to ramen order: Spicy shoyu with wavy noodles.