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Totto Ramen

teresa Jun 3, 2010 01:44 PM

Did anyone try the new ramen place opened by the owners of yakitori totto yet? I waited in line for about 5 minutes before my friend and I decided to go elsewhere last night. There place is tiny and has seating for about 10-12 people at the bar. Currently, they are only open for dinner which starts at 5pm. Please let me know what you guys think! I hope to go some time soon. Perhaps when the line is shorter...

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

  1. Silverjay Feb 25, 2011 08:04 AM

    I recently stopped in for a bowl at Totto and was slightly disappointed. I ordered the “paitan ramen”, which is their de-facto base for all their non-vegetarian ramen. It’s a milky colored, chicken and vegetable stock with a mild soy sauce- only gently salted- flavor. The impression it leaves is a not so rich, slightly viscous, decent chicken soup. I thought it lacked depth of flavor compared to really good heavier “paitan” ramen I’ve had elsewhere and was short on umami vs. the lighter paitan or chicken-shio broths I’ve had. I more or less thought it tasted closer to a Western style chicken soup than Japanese ramen. The popular broths in Japan these days have moved on to incorporate more seafood ingredients in the dashi to give the soup a more rounded, slightly sweeter taste. Perhaps they dialed down the seaweed and seafood elements when making the dashi to appeal to perceived local tastes.?.?....The miso or spicy “ra-yu” versions they offer might be better options... The noodles were, ho hum, Hakata style angel hair. So you’re basically slurping broth most of the time. Eh, not my concept of great ramen....Egg was fine. Charshu was decent. I ordered a side of “aburi charshu” which was tasty- although they pre- slice the meat to expedite the serving process. Usually places really proud of their meat will slice to order. It still tasted good…..Overall, I liked my ramen OK, but I didn’t think it about it later. But Totto definitely has a good ramen shop vibe and besides vegetarian ramen, they were serving some kind of wacky salads. Wow, salad at a ramen shop. Go figure.

    1. f
      FoodDabbler Feb 3, 2011 07:04 PM

      I rather like this place. One day a week I'm in a position to get there at 5:30, just before the rush begins. I don't use the opportunity every week, but have done so quite often. I alternate between the chicken paitan and miso ramen. I've not tried the vegetable. I like the clear flavor of the chicken broth, but prefer the thicker, chewier noodles in the miso. I usually get extra char siu. It's always been agreeably fatty. Many of the sides/toppings are lovely, in particular the bamboo shoots. I've also tried several of the $5 specials and generally liked them (a tuna sashimi I had last week was only so-so).

      That bit of Manhattan (around 52nd and 9th) is deceiving. Within about two blocks of Totto Ramen there are restaurants that serve the food of at least a dozen countries. Walking around the area you're tempted to wonder if you've died and gone to international food heaven. Then you try eating at these places and you're pinched back to reality. The food runs the gamut from the godawful to the godsoso. There are a couple of exceptions. Azuri cafe, just on the edge of this region, is very good (despite the rudeness of the owner). So is Totto Ramen.

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      Azuri Cafe
      465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

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

      1. s
        small h Feb 3, 2011 06:29 PM

        I stopped in last night for a bowl of vegetable ramen. As noted, it's a small place, and it was full when I arrived around 6:30. There's a sign-up sheet attached to the door - you write down your name and the number in your party (one, in my case) and wait it out. I was seated in about fifteen minutes. The vestibule is enclosed and has a bench and a space heater, so it wasn't unpleasant at all.

        The vegetable ramen was pretty good. The broth was okay, a little dull, and the noodles not as springy as the ones at Ramen Setagaya - and I haven't been there since soon after it opened in its original location, so maybe even those aren't so terrific anymore. The toppings ranged from lovely (bamboo shoot, spicy yuzu paste, grilled tofu) to surprising (chopped raw onion, avocado) to just plain weird (mesclun salad mix? really?). I'm glad I gave it a try, but I won't be rushing back. I'll also note that in addition to the regular menu, there were four or five specials, an uni don, a tekka don, and a few others, for $5 or so. They looked appealing, and if I'm in the area again, I may stop in for those.

        1. b
          Bkeats Dec 30, 2010 09:11 AM

          I’m picking up on an old thread, but just had lunch at Totto Ramen. I think this place fits right in among the best ramen places in NY. Had the Chicken Paitan Ramen with extra char siu. The chicken based soup was outrageously good. Silky with a deep chicken flavour. Noodles were cooked perfectly. The char siu was wickedly fat and tasty. Not a drop left in my bowl. Service at lunch was prompt and friendly - maybe that's because we were in the first group that went in at the opening for lunch. Best way to beat the lines is to get there early for lunch.

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

          1. teresa Jun 5, 2010 08:59 AM

            Thanks for all the feedback. I'm waiting for them to open for lunch too. I was hoping no one would dare to eat ramen in a hot and humid summer day in NYC. They better have the A/C on. To me, the noodles are almost as important as the broth. They need to be a little al dente. I'm definitely interested in trying it out this summer. I'll post my review then!

            1 Reply
            1. re: teresa
              h
              heffer504 Jun 5, 2010 09:11 AM

              Went there last night. Pretty big disappointment, esp for a Totto restaurant. Food is mediocre and the space / location / service sucks. Noodles are better than cup ramen, but not by much.

            2. Silverjay Jun 4, 2010 10:13 AM

              There's some coverage on Yelp already, including one idiot who rated it without dining there. Sounds like broth is chicken-based, which should complement Ippudo's tonkotsu option downtown. They also have a konbu broth option, which should satisfy the occassional abominal requests for vegetarian ramen....5pm opening and 12 stools at a bar is de rigeur for ramen shops. I'm sure they'll open for lunch at some point.

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              Ippudo
              65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

              10 Replies
              1. re: Silverjay
                g
                gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 10:17 AM

                They're opening a tonkotsu place later in the summer.

                1. re: gutsofsteel
                  Silverjay Jun 4, 2010 10:27 AM

                  Too bad. The rage in Japan are blended broths made up of chicken, pork, and seafood elements. Was hoping to see something like that at some point here.

                  1. re: Silverjay
                    g
                    gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 10:31 AM

                    Hey, you never know what they might do, those wacky Totto people...

                    1. re: gutsofsteel
                      f
                      FattyDumplin Jun 4, 2010 12:52 PM

                      i went last night. they only have their ramen menu ready, so appetizers won't be ready until July 1. we had the chicken ramen. loved the broth. hard to imagine a chicken based broth can be so aromatic. The noodles are ok - they are not the curly-ish, thcker ones at setagaya or menkuitei. they are straighter and thinner and imo, didn't have the "spring" that i typicaly enjoy.

                      For me, the bigger issue is that at $10 a bowl, it's a pretty small bowl. and it's basically noodles, broth and a couple thin slices of pork belly. the belly is deliciously fatty, but still, they were like paper thin sheets. I might try it again, but to me, i'd still rather have setagaya, menkuitei or ippudo.

                      oh yeah, by the time i left at 5:45, it was a 45 minute wait.

                      1. re: FattyDumplin
                        ChiefHDB Jun 4, 2010 01:14 PM

                        Is it belly? I thought I read somewhere they were using pork cheek. The chicken broth does sound interesting though.

                        1. re: ChiefHDB
                          Silverjay Jun 4, 2010 01:23 PM

                          Japanese charshu is usually made from pork shoulder. The menu also has "pork toro" as an option. But "toro" doesn't necessarily mean belly.

                          1. re: Silverjay
                            f
                            FattyDumplin Jun 4, 2010 06:40 PM

                            the texture seemed different than the shoulder cuts you get at ramen shops. definitely more unctuous.

                          2. re: ChiefHDB
                            ChiefHDB Jun 4, 2010 01:24 PM

                            Just read the yelp posts...god I hate that site. I wish I could do more than make sarcastic funny/useful/cool clicks on people's stupid posts.

                            I any event, I'll probably wait till they open for lunch to check it out. Shockingly, I'm not really craving ramen in 90+ degree heat.

                            1. re: ChiefHDB
                              f
                              FattyDumplin Jun 4, 2010 06:41 PM

                              i did see that they don't plan to open for lunch until they establish the business. given the wait we saw yesterday and i heard today was also 1 hr + by 7PM, then it won't take long to open for lunch.

                            2. re: ChiefHDB
                              f
                              FattyDumplin Jun 4, 2010 06:39 PM

                              it says toro, so i just called it belly. it's a thin slice and i kind of gobbled it, but i think i remember layers of meet and fat, like belly.

                  2. r
                    robotcoupe Jun 4, 2010 08:10 AM

                    Bummer! I was really looking forward to this but not with those parameters!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: robotcoupe
                      g
                      gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 10:04 AM

                      The place opened either yesterday or the day before.

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