A-12 Sushi & Ramen

Cold in New York yet? We’ve been in hibernation mode since mid-November for that reason exactly! (Also, you know, finals.) As we head into the deep freeze, the Brunch with Bear team is back with some warm food, starting with a bowl of hot ramen from A-12 Sushi & Ramen!

Earlier this year, I was wandering around the Lower East Side looking for the Ivan Ramen flagship restaurant. Bogged down with shopping bags and a Bear on a hot summer day, I was looking forward to going back to an air-conditioned couch in my cousin’s apartment with a bowl of delicious ramen. Upon entering Ivan, I was informed that they did not do take-out—which totally poked holes into my plan for a perfect evening!

A-12 (menu)

And so I wandered as I wallowed until I stumbled over A-12 Sushi & Ramen, a tiny hole-in-the-wall kind of Japanese restaurant, which had only a loud group of women at one of its larger corner tables and a very friendly waitstaff. Within minutes they were putting together an order of shoyu ramen and gyoza, and letting me soak in their air-conditioned restaurant. Decorated with lanterns and maneki-neko cat figurines, A-12 was welcoming and clean.

A-12 (counter)

A-12 is located on Clinton Street between Stanton and Rivington Streets, and easily accessible from the Essex Street stop on the M train. It’s also close to Babycakes, so I was able to get a cookie sandwich and a couple doughnuts to save for dessert! For those of you who live in the neighborhood, A-12 advertises free delivery, and they are conveniently on Seamless.

A-12 (near babycakes)

The chef put together my meal fairly quickly, but the real challenge with takeout is whether or not it stays warm until your final destination. Luckily, A-12 passed the test! The dumplings, the soup, the noodles, etc. were still hot by the time I had made it back to the Upper East Side, poured my drink, and selected my Netflix show for the night.

A-12 (food)

The noodles were a little bit softer than al dente as they ought to be and packaged in a cute portable soup bowl, instead of the typical plastic quart container. The clear, salty shoyu soup was in a separate container, so I could control the amount of soup, and also so the noodles didn’t get soggy! I thought the pork was surprisingly delicate and not at all fatty, as it often is in smaller ramen houses, and the addition of a soft-boiled egg is always the key to a good bowl of ramen. The dumplings were packaged in a rectangular package so they didn’t go flying around. I even counted an extra dumpling in my tray. Thanks, nice waiter who took my order!

A-12 (bear)

A-12 may be your generic neighborhood Japanese restaurant, but they were incredibly friendly, understanding about food allergies, and their food was delicious and reasonably priced. Bear and I were comfortably full after slurping down our meal during a particularly tense episode of Chuck. Though I can’t see myself making the trek down to the Lower East Side just to get takeout from A-12, I can definitely see myself returning should I find myself wandering and hungry in their neighborhood again!

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