Ramen Quest: HinoMaru Ramen

It was just about a month ago where my sister, Will, and I visited HinoMaru Ramen in Astoria, Queens. We were on our way back from our cousin Cindy & Josh's baby shower and you can read all about it here, but we wanted to grab a light dinner before getting back into Brooklyn.

HinoMaru Ramen is located on a heavily trafficked area and positioned perfectly for the lunch and dinner crowd. We came around 5:30-6PM and it was certainly very busy. The dining room is spacious and casual and there's a blackboard to your immediate left, announcing the day's specials and large open kitchen towards the back. There's tables for two people with low stool seating or others fit for slightly larger group. I also liked that there's another section to the restaurant all the way in the back which allows for a larger party and a little privacy.

You won't find sushi or exquisite classical Japanese cuisine at HinoMaru Ramen. However, what you will find is authentic examples of Japanese soul food. I also found that they had a beer and ramen pairing menu:

Ika Maru 
For an appetizer, the three of us shared the: Ika Maru (whole grilled squid , $7.00). As amusing to watch the bonito flakes animated by the air currents inside the restaurant (it's aliivve!), the grilled squid was mediocre. I feel there wasn't enough sauce and I feel the bonito flakes didn't do much for the grilled squid except served as an edible garnishment and for texture.

The main event here is, without a doubt, the ramen.

Shio Ramen
My sister ordered the Shio Ramen and she added all the toppings you would find in the Vegeterian ramen. The ramen consisted of: blend of chicken, fish, and pork broth with cha-shu, scallions, bamboo, bean sprouts, and fish cake. The vegeterian toppings contained: carrots, red ginger, Chinese broccoli, corn, cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, fish cake,and cha-shu pork.)  She's not a vegetarian, but she loves her vegetables. She wasn't a fan of  the fact that the vegetables tasted and looked stir-fried, but it really did make her ramen pop and vibrant.

Tonkotsu Ramen + Poached Egg
Will and I had similar ramen, but he had the Tonkotsu Ramen *Hakata Style* with a poached egg ($13.50). The Tonkotsu Ramen *Hakata Style* was filled with: creamy pork broth, cha-shu, wood ear mushroom, poached egg, scallions, bamboo shoots, seaweed and fish cake. The broth was creamy as the menu described and very rich, full of pork flavor.

Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen + Poached Egg
I ordered the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen + Poached Egg ($13.50) which was: creamy pork broth, cha-shu, bamboo, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, poached egg, seaweed and fish cake). The broth was extremely creamy and rich, It wasn't over-salted which I extremely liked. The poached egg was perfectly poached and runny. It was truly a harmonious bowl of ramen.

All three of our bowls had straight ramen which reminds me heavily of the ramen at Ippudo. The noodles weren't overcooked and cooked to al dente which I liked very much. 

The beer and ramen menu showed that the recommended beer for mine and Will's ramen was Angry Orchard and for my sister was Blue Moon. It made a slight difference, but I think I prefer my ramen and a cup of tea or water.

Overall, I must say I really enjoyed eating at HinoMaru mostly because the ramen and most importantly the broth was excellent. Service was really good and friendly. The atmosphere here is lively, welcoming, and warm. I definitely will be back and it's nice to know there's another reliable lunch and/or dinner option available in Queens besides Flushing and Bayside area.

P.S. - This was mine and Will's first time having ramen in Queens. 

Thanks to my sister Colleen very much for this recommendation!

Service: 90%
Food: 80%
Taste: 85%
Likelihood to return: 90%


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