Of all the places to start a new trend in the city, Chinatown has to be among one’s last districts of choice. The hurried vendors, its unkempt streets all play into a deep-rooted unyielding nature that makes Chinatown Chinatown.
With its Mott Street location, Bassanova, which literally translates into “new tendency” in Portuguese, picked a tough battleground. From its facade to its menu, this ramen joint is pushing the boundaries of a neighborhood that doesn’t budge very easily.
The entrance in nondescript, yet its whitewashed storefront is in and of itself distinct amid the wild sights, sounds and smells that surround it.
You’ll walk down a small flight of stairs to find an almost rustic scene, nothing like the world that’s now ten feet above you. I would dare to even compare it to an ABC Kitchen of sorts, with its very pastoral feel.
Then you open the menu and you know for sure you’re not in Chinatown anymore. At $12 to $15 a pop, your bill here will be double for half the food from any other restaurant within a mile radius.
I’m not saying it’s bad. In fact, the food quite unique. Bassanova is known for its green curry ramen, which combines two of my favorite dishes. The soup is lacking a bit and the mesclun salad was an off component, but the overall dish delivered on flavor and quality noodles.
The traditional tondaku ramen wasn’t bad either, offering a somewhat more subtle flavor than the brininess prevalent in the NYC ramen scene.
The oversized chop sticks and porcelain spoons provided to consume your soup — which I read many complaints about — were a strange touch, but not inhibiting.
This isn’t so much a judgement on the food, because Bassanova has its moments. (It made Pete Wells’ Top 10 ramen destinations in New York City, after all). But perhaps its inventiveness might shine a little brighter elsewhere.