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Best Ramen in Manhattan

pallen123 Nov 22, 2006 11:12 PM

Will be in NY this Friday and hoping to find a kick-#$% bowl of ramen soup -- perhaps similar to Asahi Ramen in Los Angeles (pork, miso, fresh ramen, slice of butter, fresh veggies, tasty broth).

The only decent bowl of Ramen I've had on the East Coast was in Niagara Falls (Canadian side, unnassuming casual Japanese mall restaurant).

So who's got the best Ramen Soup in Manhattan?

Please, please, please knock my socks off hounders.

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  1. s
    snaporaz RE: pallen123 Nov 22, 2006 11:17 PM

    Tsukushi if you can get him to make it for you.

    1. Brian S RE: pallen123 Nov 23, 2006 02:13 AM

      There was a long discussion of this about a month ago. Most of the posters were disappointed in the NY ramen scene.


      1. E Eto RE: pallen123 Nov 23, 2006 03:06 AM

        Asahi ramen is pretty mediocre ramen by LA standards. You should be able to find its equivalent in NYC. But if you're looking for good ramen, you should search further in LA. Otherwise, if you're around during Friday lunch, Chikubu is probably your best bet.

        1. HungryChris RE: pallen123 Nov 23, 2006 12:09 PM

          My vote goes to Menchanko-Tei Midtown West
          43-45 W 55th St (Cross Street: Between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue.
          We have tried quite a few places (after seeing the movie 'Tampopo')and keep going back to have the Hakata Ramen here. I'll have a cold Saporo and we often split an order of Gyoza. I have never had ramen that I know to be 'authentic', but this is the best we have found after a number of tries. It opens at 11:30 and I just don't think there is a better way to start a day in NYC on a cold morning.


          3 Replies
          1. re: HungryChris
            jwobkk RE: HungryChris May 7, 2007 08:09 AM

            I agree with HungryChris - Menchanko-Tei is the best in Manhattan for ramen. Since being introduced to it by my friend who is a major Japonfile I've been back there a number of times. Excellent gyoza as wel which is saying something b/c most of the gyoza in Manhattan is disappointing.

            1. re: jwobkk
              RawTunaFan RE: jwobkk May 8, 2007 07:38 PM

              Menachnko-tei is my favorite in NY. I particularily like the Hakata Ramen. But don't come to NY for ramen, the ramen out here pales in comparison to the ramen joints in southern california, you wont find anything better out here ...the same goes for the Korean food == its much better in LA/Orange County

            2. re: HungryChris
              YummyInTheCity RE: HungryChris Jun 4, 2009 09:55 PM

              agree - loooooove the Hakata ramen - just the right amount of ginger adds a nice spice.

            3. m
              mrnyc RE: pallen123 Nov 23, 2006 04:15 PM

              CHIKUBU's friday lunch special remains the best i've had. i like MINCA in the east village sometimes, even tho i have not been in awhile, and also the shio ramen at SANTOUKA in the all things japanese mitsuwa mart plaza over in nj. i keep trying but, i dont really care for ONY's ramen, except in the past i have enjoyed the cold summer ramen there. oh i hate these ramen threads -- i gotta get to japan!

              7 Replies
              1. re: mrnyc
                chowmeow RE: mrnyc Dec 13, 2006 04:23 AM

                Have to second the Chikubu ramen special and Minca's ramen as the best this city has to offer.

                1. re: chowmeow
                  vinominer RE: chowmeow Dec 13, 2006 10:41 PM

                  I third Chikubu, which only serves Ramen on Fridays. If possible go at 11:45, to beat the crowds, or after 12:40. It gets especially crowded on Fridays. Menchanko-Tei is not in the same league.

                  1. re: vinominer
                    janethepain RE: vinominer May 7, 2007 08:23 AM

                    Chikubu is closed now, unfortunately. But yeah, their Friday ramen was pretty damn good. I vote for Rai Rai Ken - I can't wait to go for their Hiyashi Chuka now that's it's warm out.

                  2. re: chowmeow
                    ExFlexitarian RE: chowmeow Dec 20, 2009 11:43 AM

                    3rd-ing Minca. best broth ever.

                    1. re: ExFlexitarian
                      asiansupper RE: ExFlexitarian Jul 12, 2010 06:23 PM

                      4th for minca ... also like their gyoza.

                      1. re: asiansupper
                        michaelmas RE: asiansupper Jul 12, 2010 07:24 PM

                        If you go to Minca, try their kimchi miso ramen - hands down best ramen I've had.

                        536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

                        1. re: michaelmas
                          asiansupper RE: michaelmas Jul 13, 2010 01:29 PM

                          i had that last time i was there ... was good but HUGE! have they recently upsized their bowls or something?

                2. designerboy01 RE: pallen123 Dec 13, 2006 03:37 AM

                  Tatany on the upper east side does a good job with their ramen broth.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: designerboy01
                    kayonyc RE: designerboy01 May 7, 2007 02:21 PM

                    I believe they're closed. I miss their garlic ramen though.

                  2. n
                    nokitsch RE: pallen123 May 7, 2007 11:55 AM

                    I tried Minca the other day, and it was excellent. For what it's worth, I was the only non-Asian person in the place - usually a good sign to me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nokitsch
                      Peter Cuce RE: nokitsch May 7, 2007 02:16 PM

                      I don't think that's necessarily a good rule of thumb. Even the terrible restaurants in Chinatown are mostly filled with Chinese people.

                    2. k
                      kayonyc RE: pallen123 May 7, 2007 02:21 PM

                      My favorites:
                      Rai Rai Ken

                      1. i
                        ironcheff RE: pallen123 May 7, 2007 03:04 PM

                        i say Hizen. its betwen 2nd and 3rd and on 45th i think. the broth is very tasty and noodles are great. as said HungryChris below, Menchanko-Tei is another good one, i like them becuase they but alot of other goodies in the ramen, like shrimp, pork, egg, etc... bother are pretty good.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ironcheff
                          Greg RE: ironcheff May 8, 2007 08:24 AM

                          Hizen is also now closed.

                          1. re: Greg
                            ironcheff RE: Greg May 8, 2007 09:57 AM

                            really?? i think i was just there a month or 2 ago. when did you see it closed?

                            1. re: ironcheff
                              Greg RE: ironcheff May 8, 2007 02:37 PM

                              Yeah, about a month or two ago. Looks like you were among the last to enjoy their ramen, then.

                            2. re: Greg
                              jwobkk RE: Greg May 8, 2007 10:32 AM

                              I just tried calling there and the number is disconnected. Good place although it was never very crowded. Sorry to hear of its demise. The midtown east ramen scene has really taken a step back with the loss of Chikubu and Hizen.

                          2. E Eto RE: pallen123 May 7, 2007 04:27 PM

                            Here's a thread you might want to look at:

                            1. j
                              jdream RE: pallen123 May 8, 2007 10:36 AM

                              There is a place on Barrow St. between West 4th and Bleecker (I'm blanking on the name now-- help!?) that is a tiny Japanese restaurant. They have a number of appetizers, some sushi (which I've never tried), and ramen. They apparently get their noodles sent to NY from Japan (a special variety, and again I'm blanking on the name). I know that this is pretty vague, hopefully I can get some help filling in the blanks-- but this place is an amazing little hideout.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: jdream
                                via jon RE: jdream May 8, 2007 10:38 AM

                                Men Kui Tei is decent too.

                                1. re: jdream
                                  jdream RE: jdream May 8, 2007 11:08 AM

                                  Ok, the place is called Rockmeisha Izakaya-- that much I could figure out. Where the ramen are from in Japan is still a mystery...

                                  1. re: jdream
                                    E Eto RE: jdream May 8, 2007 11:40 AM


                                  2. re: jdream
                                    pasdejunk RE: jdream May 8, 2007 10:44 PM

                                    I adore Rockmeisha! It's my favorite Japanese joint, because it serves dishes from the chef's home of Kyushu that you really can't find anywhere else in town, and it's so laid-back with the weirdo old rock music. It's a gem. Real downhome food, a lot of it comforting (Japanese soupy omelettes, fried chicken with tartar sauce, marinated and crisped pig's feet). Try to order things you don't see elsewhere in town because that's what's good about the place. I don't ever go there for just sushi.

                                    For good standards, the freshly wrapped gyoza is really good, as are shrimp dumplings with the tail sticking out.

                                    And yes, the ramen is fantastic, yummy chewy thin noodles, which are flown in from Japan and a nicely rich broth (especially good for people who want an authentic rich broth that is not as sickeningly rich as Minka's). The cha-shu that comes with it is only okay, though.

                                  3. s
                                    sukebejiji RE: pallen123 Jun 3, 2009 12:15 PM

                                    I love Ippudo on 65 4th Ave. it's a tad over priced I admit, but you find yourself wanting to go back there. The broth is to die for and the toppings are always fresh and delicious. Be sure to not drink all the broth so you're able to add another helping of noodles for only $2 more.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: sukebejiji
                                      mrnyc RE: sukebejiji Jun 4, 2009 08:48 PM

                                      i'll second that. its the only ramen that consistently has me licking my chops afterward lately.

                                      1. re: sukebejiji
                                        HungryChris RE: sukebejiji Dec 20, 2009 11:09 AM

                                        I have had ramen at Ippudo a few times and agree that it is top notch. I love the shishito pepper appetizer with a little sea salt. If you use the restroom you go past a window where you can watch the ramen making. It is also a fun place.

                                        1. re: HungryChris
                                          mattqz RE: HungryChris Jul 6, 2010 11:08 AM

                                          I just had the miso ramen at Ippudo and I have to say I was quite disappointed. The soup was extremely salty. Is genuine ramen supposed to be that salty.

                                          I did like the atmosphere and the staff. Fun environment. Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing.

                                          65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                      2. janethepain RE: pallen123 Jan 26, 2010 10:22 AM

                                        Bleh, here's one that ISN'T in the running for me: Minca. Went there for the first time last weekend, all three of us thought it was the worst ramen we had. We had the basic pork-based broth but god, it was like drinking butter and garlic soup. Just way too creamy and rich, which sounds good in theory, but it had no flavor otherwise. It just felt buttery and greasy without any flavor balance.

                                        1. daffyduck RE: pallen123 Jul 7, 2010 09:15 AM

                                          i got this from a tastingtable email, has anyone tried this place?

                                          As a dish, ramen doesn't rank high on the complexity meter.

                                          But at Totto Ramen, a new 19-seat noodle bar from the folks behind Yakitori Totto and Soba Totto, the dish's rudimentary building blocks--broth and noodles--are prepared with the utmost precision and care.

                                          Each bowl starts with a heady chicken broth, which the restaurant makes by upcycling discarded chicken bones from Yakitori Totto.

                                          During serving, the kitchen leaves nothing to chance. Every 30 minutes, a cook armed with a refractometer--a scientific instrument that measures the concentration of a solution--tests the broth's levels to ensure that it's up to snuff.

                                          Then the broth meets a buoyant nest of noodles (made daily at Soba Totto), ribbons of green onion and sheets of tender pork, which get their burnished color by way of a blowtorch. Order your ramen spicy, and it'll come with a liberal ladle of sinus-clearing chile-garlic sauce.

                                          With ramen this good, it's no surprise that the place has already racked up serious wait times. But noodle lovers, take note: A second branch, called Hide-Chan Ramen, has opened to carry the weight; it features tonkatsu (pork broth) made using the same obsessive methods.

                                          Totto Ramen, 366 W. 52nd St. (between Eighth and Ninth aves.); 212-582-0052 or tottoramen.com

                                          Yakitori Totto
                                          251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                                          Soba Totto
                                          211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

                                          Totto Ramen
                                          366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: daffyduck
                                            jakew8 RE: daffyduck Jul 8, 2010 12:37 PM

                                            I ate the tonkatsu ramen at Hide-Chan last week at lunchtime. All I remember about it was that it was very, very greasy, with lots of bits of solid pork fat floating in the broth. It was tasty but also disgusting. I've attached a photo.

                                            Perhaps it's because we went later in the afternoon--close to the end of the lunch service--and were ladled the concentrated fatty broth that hadn't been served already.

                                            Anyone else been here? Was this a fluke or is it always this fatty?

                                            248 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022

                                            1. re: jakew8
                                              Silverjay RE: jakew8 Jul 8, 2010 12:57 PM

                                              This is a common mistake I see around here. It's not "tonkatsu" it is "tonkotsu". The former is a fried pork cutlet. The later is "pork bone", meaning soup that has been simmered, steaped, and otherwise infiltrated with the fat from pork bones. Some shops will go as far as shaking on extra fat as a topping. No idea about the intentions of this shop, but it sounds pretty standard.

                                              1. re: jakew8
                                                E Eto RE: jakew8 Jul 9, 2010 03:50 PM

                                                Hide-chan opened rather quietly amidst all the PR hype around Totto Ramen, but Hide-chan replaced Tory's yakitori as it seems they felt the yakitori concept wasn't working at that location. Unlike Totto Ramen, Hide-chan specializes in Hakata ramen, yeah, that thick, murky white soup, and probably a shake of pork fat (lard, I suppose, sei-abura in Japanese) for that extra richness, as described above. Sounds like it's worth a visit.

                                                Totto Ramen
                                                366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

                                                248 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022

                                                1. re: harlanestate
                                                  hungryinmanhattan RE: harlanestate Feb 24, 2012 07:17 PM

                                                  The broth at Cha Pa's on W.52 is delicious. The beef in the Pho Bo and the Pho Xe Lua is tender, and I like this restaurant very much.

                                                  ChaPa's Noodles & Grill
                                                  314 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

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