In Time For The Colder Weather, Jun-Men Ramen Bar Arrives In Chelsea
I'd basically eat a good bowl of noodles at the drop of a hat, no matter what the season (yup, even in high summer you can find me, if you're looking, slurping ramen somewhere), but things do get a bit cozier and more comforting at my favorite spots once autumn begins in earnest. And come winter I try to get some of that hot broth in my belly at least once a week! Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's perfect timing for the brand-new Jun-Men to open its doors in Chelsea, especially since my initial noodle feast there last week was so satisfying.
Noodle Season in NYC Has Arrived
Like many of the city's best ramen-yas, Jun-Men is small, a bit cramped, a bit hectic, but owners Jun and BoMee Park make efficient use of the space and can accommodate about 25 noodle lovers at any given time, which is good news for those of us who don't like to wait too long for a table, or a stool at the bar. And trust me, once word gets out, there will be waits here. Because behind the generic condo-building facade lurks Jun Park's inventive and nicely-executed menu that combines flavors, dishes, and techniques from Japan, Korea, Italy, and NYC right now. Take what could become Jun-Men's signature dish, the Uni Mushroom Mazeman. Mazemen, which is essentially brothless, egg-noodle ramen, is still somewhat of an oddity around town (Ivan Ramen, for one, serves a superb bowl of the stuff), and chef Park's version is a must-try, with its thick noodles, chunks of sweet pancetta, fresh mushrooms, truffle oil, and porcini butter, all topped with a generous serving of intense, soft sea urchin. It's earthy and bright, creamy but with plenty of bite, bold and creative and warming and wonderful.
What To Eat At Jun-Men
The most "regular" ramen on the Jun-Men menu, called Pork Bone, is pretty great, too with its dense, complex broth and chewy noodles, and all the expected add-ins–pork, soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, kikurage mushrooms–are first rate. If you're in the mood for something with more fire, I suggest the Kimchi ramen… or do what we did and get the addictive Jun-Men Fried Rice as an appetizer, which is loaded with the spicy fermented cabbage AND lots of terrific bits of Chinese sausage. Rice before ramen, why not?! Jun-Men also has buns, of course, and in three varieties: chicken, pork belly, and, the one we ordered at the suggestion of our server, the BBQ Pork Bun, which maybe wasn't revolutionary, but did the job just fine. The service at Jun-Men is a bit harried, but everyone's super friendly and the whole atmosphere is welcoming and festive. A great addition to the neighborhood.
Menu and More Information on Jun-Men Ramen
Jun-Men Ramen is located at 249 Ninth Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, and is open from Monday to Saturday for both lunch (11:30 to 3:00) and dinner (5:00 until 10:00; or 11:00 on Friday and Saturday).