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Aug 1, 2001 04:17 PM

Seeking Japanese Ramen

  • d

I have just returned to NY after living in Tokyo for about three years, and am fixing for some good hot no-frills Japanese Ramen, particularly the Tonkotsu/Hakata variety...

Any reccomendations in Manhattan? All of the reviews I have found on other resources so far were mixed or not too convincing.

Help, please!


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  1. Try Chikubu on, umm, 44th street, not far from Grand Central.

    The reviews in the link I give emphasize the big $ part of the menu. If you go there for lunch you will find the closest I have found to a mainstream Japanese restaurant (lunch time it is filled with expatriate salarymen). Sushi is not the high point of their menu. I know a Japanese woman who often would go there on Fridays when the lunch special is a $10 bowl of buta nikku ramen with a very flavorful broth. When I would accompany her I would usually get the broil fish feature of the day, and we would share, getting dishes common in Japan but hard to find well done here in the US.

    If you can go just before 12, you will beat the rush.

    There is another place, I think it is Sapporo, which is on 49th near the Theater/Times square area, 152 W 49th. It will remind you of a more typical down scale neighborhood place: industrial floor tiles, kinda diner atmosphere. The ramen and gyoza are the centerpiece of this place for me. You will know you are in the right place if there are lots of notices written in Japanese just inside the door, for apartment shares and moving sales.

    There is a place next door to it with more typical (in the US) Japanese decor which serves passable sushi, etc.

    Best wishes for re-assimilating back here in the US.


    1. Try Men Kui Tei, 1 block south of World Trade Center, on Greenwich. It's been discussed here often

      1. Sorry to say that you probably won't find the quality of ramen that you had in Tokyo in NYC. That just seems to be a hard fact. I'm pretty much in ramen limbo in the city. The post about Chikubu is very promising, since I do go there for lunch, but have never thought to order ramen. That said, click on the link below to find another lengthy discussion on the ramen issue. Cheers.


        4 Replies
        1. re: Eric Eto

          Ajisen noodle restaurant in mott st in chinatown. exactly what you are looking for. enjoy!

          1. re: beezai

            hmmm. One thing about being a hound is that there is always something new popping onto your horizon, some new opportunity.

            beezai, can you describe this restaurant a little?

            1. re: wray

              Also try rai-rai-ken on east 10th street. pretty good ramen in a small shop reminiscent of tokyo. run, i believe, by the same folks who brought you soba-ya on e. 9th. other dishes too, like gyoza, which you find in all ramen shops. but the grandaddy of them all (oji-san), is sapporo on w 49th st, near 7th. best selection, most typical of the real thing in tokyo.


            2. re: beezai

              I'm not the biggest fan of Ajisen. If you followed the previous thread, I came to agree with Aki that Ajisen is like the McDonalds of ramen, in that everything is tested, measured and packaged in some central plant and assembled in the restaurant. While it's quite competently done, and if you've never had a Tonkotsu style of ramen, it can provide a good introduction to the fare. I didn't care much for the gyoza either.

              On a brighter note, I did find a tonkotsu ramen with an exceptional broth at Village Yokocho (3rd Ave/9th St, on a second floor next to Sunrise Mart). Had it last night, in fact. I previously only had a small taste of it when I brought some japanese visitors there for some comfort food and was pretty impressed, and I had to verify it for myself. IMO, it is one of the better ramens in NYC. Blows away Ajisen.

              Next on my list is Chikubu.

          2. I suspect I'm totally missing some posts from the past here and will probably get lots of corrections from fellow chowhounds, but has anyone tried "Honmura An" near the Angelica Film Center? Isn't that a special Japanese noodle restaurant?

            1 Reply
            1. re: HLing
              Andrew Raskin

              Honmura-an serves amazing soba and udon noodles, but no ramen. Ramen has a bit of a working class image in Japan, whereas the soba and udon at Honmura-an are definitely upscale.

            2. Hi. In the following link, you will find the address
              and phone numbers of all ramen shops discussed on this
              board. You will find tons of mouth-watering ramen
              photos, which help you to ease your cravings.