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Jan 3, 2011 02:22 PM


Where do you all think the best, most authentic Ramen exists in NYC?

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    1. if the best isn't the most authentic, what then? which do you prefer?

      4 Replies
      1. re: thew

        Thank you. That was a good response. I guess best as a start.

        1. re: JHW

          ippudo - but they cost more, you have to wait, and it's a very specific experience

          hide chan in midtown east - i like their black garlic, except by the end of the bowl i'm sick of that taste. it isnt bad, it just doesnt last out the bowl. the non-black garlic is yummy too

          it doesnt get much love here, and some outright dislike, but i happen to like naruto on the upper east side. it feels like places i've been in japan, and i like their miso broth

          menkui tei is good and quirky, but perhaps more hit and miss

          people love minca, but i found them awful

          zen on st marks - not great, but a very satisfying garlic broth

          kambi on 14th - mediocre

          536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

          Men Kui Tei
          63 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003

          Men Kui Tei
          60 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

          Naruto Ramen
          1596 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10128

          351 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

          31 Saint Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

          248 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022

          1. re: thew

            I hadn't been to Naruto for a while; They've expanded their menu and now have tako yaki! So good! Just as good as when I'm in Osaka.


            1. re: TipsyMcStagger

              My particular favorite as well. It is interesting that while l love the ramen in NY, the branch of Ippudo l went to in Tokyo was not as successful for me. The seasoning tray was very neat in Tokyo, but the noodles were overcooked even when l asked for them to be less cooked. Happened twice there.

              65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

      2. Ippudo. Really really delicious and authentic.

        1. It's hard to even apply the terms "Best" and "Most Authentic" to Ramen in general. By it's very nature it seems to defy these ideas and often a great bowl of Ramen will be the farthest thing from any stab at authenticity.

          But to answer your question, 65 4th Avenue at 10th St ;)

          10 Replies
          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

            While there are many good places in NYC, the question is what are you comparing it to?
            IMHO none of the places in NYC rival what you get in Japan. They are so fanatical about it, to a level that has not yet reached NYC IMHO.
            That being said, Ippudo, setagaya, and IMHO menchanko-tei serve delicious food. Not perfect, but very good. You can have an authentic Japanese experience at all of them.

            131 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

            43 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

            65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Ramen Setagaya
            34 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: AdamD

              Last time I was at Ramen Setagaya, it was two Korean guys behind the counter doing sudoku puzzles and serving lousy food. That's definitely not an authentic Japanese experience. I know some Japanese who refuse to go there anymore (edit: To be clear, not because of non-Japanese serving, because of disappointing food.)....Ramen Totto, Ramen Kuboya are both authentic shops run by Japanese. Although all the shops in NY, including Ippudo, seem to adjust their recipes for American tastes.

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

              536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

              1. re: Silverjay

                Really? Thats a shame. It has been awhile since I was there.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  For whatever it's worth to NYC, at a recent ramen event at the Japan Society, the PR director from the ramen museum in Japan said that based on increased domestic competition and the sucess of Ippudo here, that he expected more ramen chains or entrepenuers from Japan to try and crack the NY market.

                2. re: AdamD

                  I'm not comparing anything to anything...

                  I'm more just trying to debunk this notion that there's a "Best" or "Most Authentic" or that the best Ramen is the one that's most authentic and vice versa. Authenticity and Ramen are two things that seem to be opposed to each-other as by its very nature it's a dish that seems to be in a constant state of evolution.

                  Now if the poster was asking for a good representation of a certain style of Ramen from a certain region then that narrows it down a bit and makes it easier to pinpoint "authenticity" specific to that regional style. (Ippudo = Hakata Style for example) However I get this feeling that when people say "Most Authentic" they have this vision of themselves sitting beside the Ramen master in Tampopo contemplating three slices of Chasu, spinach, nori, and a Naruto Kamaboko.

                  I don't really understand what triggered this, "none of the places in NYC rival what you get in Japan" idea. There are definitely Ramen shops in Japan that are far worse than a lot of what you can get in NYC and a lot that are far better. However, Japan is not this perfect Utopia of Ramen shops that are incomparable to their counterparts overseas.

                  I think there are differences between say Ippudo or Santouka in NYC/NJ but for the most part, on a good day, they come close to their branches in Japan. I'm not sure if this is the level of fanaticism you witnessed in Japan when it comes to Ramen but I would say that a small dose of fanaticism has reached NYC in the form of these two shops.

                  "That being said, Ippudo, setagaya, and IMHO menchanko-tei serve delicious food. Not perfect, but very good. You can have an authentic Japanese experience at all of them."

                  What exactly is an authentic Japanese experience anyway? I've been to all of these shops and none of them even remotely gave me "an authentic Japanese experience"

                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                    an authentic ramen experience in this case means "I really enjoyed it, and as i have a lot invested in believing american ramen is inferior the only way i can voice my enjoyment is to pretend it is japanese"

                    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                      I am not going down that subjective wormhole to debate authenticity. Never said the ramen was as good as in Japan (although some of the side dishes come close). But the food and drink served in those places is very similar to what I have had in Japan. Aside from the whole ticket thing at casual places that is. But then again, I was disappointed with the ramen I had in Sapporo-which everybody raves about.

                      I only wish there was something half as good as menchanko up here in westchester.

                      1. re: AdamD


                        Too bad about the Sapporo Ramen. Some of my favorite shops are there like Sumire/Junren. Maybe Sapporo Ramen is not your thing or maybe you just had some bad luck at the shops there. Either way, Ramen is a pretty subjective thing.

                        Sorry to hear about the Ramen situation in Westchester. That's a real bummer. You can always learn to make your own I guess...

                        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                          Indeed, as with most foods-entirely subjective once you get past the point of downright bad food. I have a client up in Sapporo that took me to a few shops-I guess I dont prefer that style. I trust him as he takes me to the best izakayas and sushi spots.

                          And I do make ramen at home all the time. I generally prefer nabe at home though, its just too easy.

                          And its not just ramen, the food up here is surprisingly bad. You would think that with the money up here there would be a better selection of "authentic" ;) Asian restaurants.

                3. am i the only one who still loves Momofuku Noodle Bar? Yes super salty, but still so satisfying. That or Ippudo. Haven't been to many others except in Brooklyn, including the Naruto that opened in Park Slope, which is mediocre at best.

                  Momofuku Noodle Bar
                  171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: secondbecky

                    No, you're not the only one. I like the Momofuku Ramen quite a lot, though if I'm just in the mood for a bowl o' noodles I'd probably go elsewhere, if only because of the lines. If, on the other hand I'd like to pair my ramen with something else - be it the pork buns or a foie gras/apple salad (or whatever) they win, for me. I hit Momo when I'm in a Momo mood, not necessarily in a Ramen mood,

                    I find a lot of the debate on "authenticity" and such to be silly. First, I don't believe there's any such thing, and second - to quote Mr. Chang himself - "authenticity is overrated."

                    I mean, if we all wanted to only eat "authentic" food we'd be dining on raw carrion.

                    1. re: sgordon

                      David Chang made his bone as a successful chef eschewing authenticity. Good for him. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to seek out (authentic) food that is prepared, served, and tastes like it does in the home culture it is coming out of. That type of experience is one of the benefits of dining in NYC.