Brunch just got tastier thanks to the Breakfast Ramen Bowl at New World Bistro Bar. Savory soups just don't get enough attention as a breakfast item. To me, soups like pho and rice porridge are considered breakfast items so the idea of a ramen for breakfast wasn't too foreign. NWBB presents a veggie version with shiitake mushrooms, snap peas, carrots, bean sprouts and sweet peppers. I tend to hold back on veggie dishes, thinking they won't be as flavorful but I was wrong with this one. The broth was very well-developed and rich in flavor thanks to the shiitakes and added layer of umami from fermented black beans. A slight kick of heat kept your palate awake. The magic was in the perfectly cooked al dente noodles. The only tragedy was the lack of runny yolk in my poached eggs. I also found myself missing some meaty flavors but a side of peppered bacon did the trick.
Sushi Tei has long been our #1 spot for sushi in the Capital Region. Along the way we've found gems like roasted yellowtail collar and udon noodle soup. Now we can add ramen to our list of favorites but so far it's only offered on Tuesdays. Succulent slices of pork belly adorn a bowl of creamy golden meaty broth glistening with just the right amount of fat globules. A few shakes of chili oil, sesame seeds, and togarashi adds some zip. The dish was suppose to come with fermented menma bamboo shoots but the substitute of wood ear mushrooms worked just as well adding another dimension of texture. Interesting enough, the ramen noodles at Sushi Tei were thin and straight while the ones at NWBB were wavy. For some reason or another, I prefer the wavy kind and its chewiness. The egg here was also a misstep, hardboiled rather than poached. A slice of nori also would have been welcomed but the flavor of the broth more than made up for it. It'll be tough choosing between sushi and ramen, or just do yourself a favor and order both.
It's a tale of two different ramen bowls but it's nice to see Albany embracing a dish that deserves a spotlight.