SEO: Secret Ramen Shop Reviewed
SEO, a traditional Japanese restaurant turns into a ramen noodle shop from the hours of 11pm – 2am everyday. I have never ate here during normal restaurant hours but the lore of a tasty bowl of ramen after a night of drinking has brought me here on more than one occasion. According to Yelp the transformation that happens makes the late night nickname Ramen Sanshiro.
SEO is located on 49th Street just West of 2nd Avenue. If you stumble in here after 11pm on any day of the week it is filled with according to NYMag “Japanese “salarimen” sporting crisp white shirts and deep, swaggering voices.” Needless to say I am the only person here after midnight that chooses to speak English.
Once you get over the awkward sense of displacement you have the choice of either Shoyu (soy flavored) Ramen or Shio (salt) Ramen. These two ramen options along with a few side dishes are the only food on the menu (they also offer Sapporo or Sake). Once you place the order it takes about five minutes for the waitress (there is typically only one) to bring you your steaming hot order.
I have only tried the Shoyu but the noodles are yellow noodles and taste really good and served el dente. The ramen bowl is served with half of a soft-boiled egg with a runny yolk (so good) and a small piece of thinly sliced pork. The broth has a really good flavor profile but is not as rich as I have had other places (probably better off for late night!). They have spice powder offered on the bar (awesome).
Again Sapporo/Ippudo are still my favorite options but you can’t beat the secret ramen at SEO for a late night post drinking meal. If you are in the neighborhood I definitely recommend it.
UPDATE: Last week I ordered from here for pickup during normal restaurant hours. I tried their “Inaniwa udon noodles” which are freshly made with ingredients imported from Akita, Japan. The claim that they stay el dente after cooked proved to be true. Embarassingly the only time I ever ate Udon prior was at Cafe Duke. This udon is different it is the same size as a Linguini and the noodles were beautifully textured. The broth was flavorful but did not live up to the “stellar” NY Mag claim. It was also an expensive dish at $13. My vote is to stick with the after hours ramen.
Midtown Late Night Ramen!
Egg cooked properly
Offers extra spice on the side
Overall Rating: 4/5 (compared to other local late night food spots)
Recommended Dish: Shoyu Ramen--DBlock