I am feeling incredibly lucky tonight. Eating epiphanies are very rare things ime,and tonight , Philip Tang, chef/owner of East by Northeast( ExNE), put before us a bowl of ramen that we will never forget. While the future is unknown, it is, so far, the ONLY ramen that i will never forget.
We have had many "Wow' experiences at ExNE over the last few years, and tonight's dinner, which included ramen and four other other small plates, has firmly settled in my mind the belief that Philip is a genius chef; young and growing, but a genius right out of the gate. Firmly trained in (at least) classic French and Asian cuisine, he brilliantly blends that knowledge to produce food that is among the most imaginative in the city. For me, he and Tim Maslow of Ribelle, are the two Gemini twins of 'one of a kind' dishes in Boston right now.
The ramen components, all made in-house of course, include:
-Pork broth blended with a fish fumet --to lighten it from all the porky richness
-Pork sliced from pieces brined, sous vided, and smoked
-Alkaline linguini-sized noodles
-Sous vide(?) egg
-Ankimo (monkfish liver) butter . This small pool of orange on the side of the bowl-
reminds me of a beautiful sunset.
During and after eating the ramen, we completely stopped talking, and My Love said he had never seen me shake my head (in wonderment, w/ a major grin) for that long a time. I just couldn't get over it>> one of those "O.K. , I can die now" moments. The dish was so perfect, the flavors, portions, textures, all so equally balanced....It was simply perfect, and needed nothing to be added.
It's a relatively small bowl, compared to Sapporo and the others. While two tables of neighboring diners were sated with their own ramen and one to two other small plates, we have big appetites and each had our own ramen (probably our smartest move; you do NOT want to get into a sharing war with this dish; that would not be pretty!) plus four other small plates. They were all stellar: Chicken and Celery Root mousse in tiny pan-seared "canneloni "; Marinated Eggplant in small crispy scallion bread- like sandwiches, with an amazing szechuan peppercorn chili aioli, and a Beet and frisee salad with miso sesame dressing. The canneloni hypnotized me into repeating an order of them for dessert.
The ramen is only available Wednesday nights, and the regular menu is available all nights.
(And they do a very unique Sunday brunch.) Service is quick and seamless; the very knowledgeable Blaine continues to oversee a very friendly and welcoming room. Street parking is pretty easy.