When I heard that the owner of my favorite Albany sushi joint was opening a ramen restaurant, I couldn’t wait to give it a try!! Tanpopo Ramen and Sake Bar [893 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207] found a home in the old and beloved Miss Albany Diner building located in the warehouse district, a great new addition for the blossoming area.
The building isn’t very large. There are a few bar stools, booths, and an island table inside. Tanpopo has kept some of the signature design that the classic diner had such as menu boards and checkered tiles – but this nostalgia is fused with a trendy modern spin.
The atmosphere is comfortable, sports on tv, friendly waitresses, and fast service. The emphasis in the shop is ramen of course, but there are other options such as rice dishes and a variety of appetizers. We settled on a pork bun to start. I generally stick to chicken and fish, but will have affairs with bacon and pork dumplings when the mood strikes. When I saw it I was nervous, there were thick slabs of meat in a peculiar looking bun.
I hesitated, but hunger and curiosity won the best of me. The buns were hot, soft, and delicate. I have never had a bun of this consistency, but I don’t see why it would be done any other way – this was masterful. The pork inside was out of control flavorful. There are two to an order of these buns and by golly, I would forgo chicken and fish and solely dedicated my life to eating two of these every two minutes. These are so droolworthy. When our waitress came back after about 30 seconds and saw these were gone we got into a conversation about how amazing they were. She told us a previous custemor tried them, and then came back the next day and ordered 14 servings because he couldn’t stop dreaming of them. You may think she is exaggerating, but if you try them you will realize that this story will become a reality for you too. Apparently they’re even tastier in the duck variety, if that is possible. So that all happened really quickly, and soon after the ramen appeared. Jeff got a spicy beef variation which he added pork belly to and I went veggie.
The ramen is solid. Warm savory broth, a great ratio of noodle to accoutrements, everything quite tasty. I am so pleased for Albany to finally have a ramen place, I can envision many winter evenings spent slurping some scrumptious soup. I would expect nothing less from this fine business owner.