Chuko opened in 2011 and continues to draw enough of a dinner crowd that evening waits for a table can stretch perilously close to one hour. But the idea of ramen on a bitingly cold day is too good to pass up, and for the vegetarian noodle-lover, there's good news: Chuko does a great bowl of meat-free ramen.
'Ramen' on Serious Eats
Beef offal specialist Takashi recently started a late-night ramen menu by reservation only. Forget pork tonkotsu; here's ramen with Kobe beef belly.
Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop is open, and it's good. Really, really good. The last great ramen rush in New York was all about the pork. It's not until the last year or so that we've been dipping our feet into craziness that is modern ramen. Slurp Shop marks New York's first headlong dive, and it's fitting that a Jewish guy from Long Island is bringing it to us, leaving authenticity far behind in the dust.
I am a ramen freak. This is something I didn't really know about myself until about 14 days ago when I waked into Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in the newly opened Gotham West Market. I've been back five times since they opened. I'd admit to six, but that would be a little embarrassing.
I've been eagerly awaiting the opening of the first New York branch of Ivan Orkin's eponymous Tokyo ramen shop ever since tasting his unique take on them for the first time last year. "I'm sure my story's not any different than anyone who's been stupid enough to try to open a restaurant in this town," Ivan told me as he prepared for the Taste of Tokyo Dinner, part of the New York City Wine and Food Festival that took place all over the city this weekend.
When Yuji Haraguchi first started serving his wildly creative ramen omakase at the Whole Foods Bowery back in March, it was supposed to be a two-month stint. Fast-forward to present, and Haraguchi is still going strong in the same tiny kitchen, serving a constantly-changing seven-course, seafood-centric tasting menu to a lucky handful of diners (six, to be exact) five nights a week. Here's a look at what goes on behind the scenes.
Don't let the frenzy created by Keizo Shimamoto's ramen burger distract you from Sun Noodle Lab's core mission of spreading the gospel of ramen at Smorgasburg. The stand, as we explored in a previous column, functions as an incubator for aspiring ramen-yas looking to open up their own shop. But in their push to introduce Americans to a greater variety of ramen styles, they're exploring what regional ramen identity means here in New York.
It's a golden age of ramen in New York, and you should slurp widely and deeply, using this guide for reference.
It's been three years since we last investigated the best ramen in New York, and we're getting ready for an update. So tell us: Who's serving your favorite ramen in town, and how do you order it?
Sitting at the subterranean, yet still light and airy bar at Bassanova a week after their opening, there's a veritable supergroup of ramen chefs populating the dining room to test out their newest competition, a straight-from-Tokyo import that serves up pork-based tonkotsu broth along with a Thai-style green curry.
The shiny new midtown branch of Ipuddo may be garnering the most recent ramen attention, but it's not the only Japanese import worth talking about. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Both serve Hakata-style ramen characterized by pork-based tonkotsu broth and thin firm noodles. Also like Ipuddo, you'll get the shouted welcome upon entrance. Unlike Ipuddo, you probably won't have to wait in line for the privilege.
After a string of delays, Ippudo II is now officially open on West 51st Street, with a slightly more streamlined menu than the offerings downtown. We stopped by the soft open for lunch last week to see how the Midtown branch stacks up.
The Japanese restaurant's hearty homemade noodles are a satisfying and affordable vegetarian meal.
Last night was the second night of the Lucky Rice Festival, and it was all about ramen. Four courses, four chefs, all noodles. Plenty of noodles were served and much slurping ensued. Yuji Ramen (see our review here, Ivan Ramen (see our review here), Sun Ramen's Ramen Lab, and Chuko (see our review here) each served up a course.
We watched, literally on the edges of our seats as Yuji lit up his blowtorch and pointed the blue flame towards a tray full of mussel shells. The shells crackled and spit briefly, their edges glowing, remnants of their beards flying up in the air as red embers caught in the updraft of smoke. Yuji transferred the mussel shells to miniature French presses, added a handful of smoked shaved bonito flakes, then ladled in a clear broth and placed the pitchers in front of us on the table. This was the last course in one of the most remarkable ramen-based meals I've ever had. And I had it at a lunch counter. Inside a Whole Foods. Weird.
With snappy noodles and smartly made broths and toppings, Ganso is a welcome addition to Brooklyn's ramen scene.
Quick poll; do you eat a soup, or do you drink it? What about a broth? These, of course, are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night, the kind of questions at the forefront of my mind during a recent visit to Tabata Noodle.
While we're left waiting on tenterhooks for Ivan Orkin to secure a space for his first NYC shop, last weekend he gave everyone a chance to both try his ramen and help those hit by Hurricane Sandy. Orkin teamed up with noodle master Shigetoshi Nakamura (of Sun Noodles) to serve hot, steaming ramen at Williamsburg's Smorgasburg, with all proceeds benefiting the Brooklyn Recovery Fund.