Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Daddy/Daughter Date at Tanpopo Ramen (Broadway in Albany). We Sat in the "Ironweed" Booth.
My darling daughter has developed a ramen habit. She was served (at her Grandma's) a piping hot serving of Nissin Cup Noodles and it is all I have heard about since. I have been stressing to her that this particular sort of ramen noodle is decidedly a "sometimes food." However, the seven year old heart wants what the seven year old heart wants. I figured a good compromise for slaking her ramen thirst was to take her over to Tanpopo Ramen on Broadway in Albany for a bowl.
Heading over there was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. Tanpopo inhabits the building where Miss Albany Diner was. Sigh. The world has moved on.
We arrived early, at about 4:00 PM, so we had the pick of the booths. It goes without question that we selected the Ironweed booth.
I feel like there should be a bronze plaque above this booth. If you don't know, this is where Meryl Streep had her toast in the movie version of the novel Ironweed by William Kennedy.
But I guess Meryl Streep has nothing on wee Giblet.
For the daughter I ordered plain ramen in broth. I wanted to ease her into this ramen business. She is notoriously suspicious of any sort of "toppings." I ordered the "Tanpopo Spicy Ramen" which is -- "tonkotsu broth with mince spicy pork paste, chashu pork, scallion, fish cake, and kikurage mushroom."
Young Giblet was delighted by the appearance of the narutomaki (fishcake) in my bowl and even acquiesced to a taste of the spicy pork. I thought the ramen was fine. I am no ramen expert, but the noodles had a bit of chew and the broth had a nice feel in the mouth. The "chashu pork" had an assertive anise/5 spice powder taste, and I could be wrong, but I don't thing it was belly. Isn't chashu supposed to be belly?
In any event, we had a great time. I promised young Giblet that we would be back.
I should say that I don't think the daughter and I are the target audience for this place. I have to take a couple buddies there at night after several oat-sodas and throw down a couple of bowls before I give my final verdict.
The only critique I have is the decor. The interior of Tanpopo is very spare. Perhaps this is a design choice. For an old Albany guy who remembers Miss Albany as it was, I ached for the cluttered decor of the old diner. I recommend that Tanpop put a bunch more crap on the walls to satisfy stodgy old bastards like myself.