Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Oct 25, 2013 02:34 PM

Exceptional Ramen in NYC

Since it's fall and the weather is cooling off a bit, I'm on a bit of a ramen kick. I've had ramen plenty before this fall, but with the cooler weather, have decided to revisit a few old places and try some new ones. I'll list below where I've already eaten and would appreciate any suggestions people have. Most places I've been have just been due to Yelp or word of mouth.

Blew Me Away -

1) Santouka (in Edgewater, NJ)

Really liked -

1) Ippudo
2) Totto Ramen
3) Minca Ramen
4) Donburiya
5) Jin Ramen

Decent -

1) Momofuku Noodle Bar
2) Jinya

Wouldn't return

1) Ramen Setagaya

I have been to Rai Rai Ken, back in 2010. I really don't remember it well enough, but it was my first ramen experience, so it will always be special in that regard. I remember liking it at the time and may return.

Other places I've found that seem to be well reviewed and I'm thinking of checking out are listed below, so if anyone could chime in on them, or any place else that is noteworthy, thank you!

1) Zen 6
2) Ramen Misoya
3) Zutto Japanese Pub

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Definitely try Ramen Misoya.

    Katsu Hama on West 56th used to serve good ramen but I'm not sure if the restaurant has reopened.

    23 Replies
    1. re: MrGrumpy

      They have reopened, but they don't have an online menu outside of I'll check out if the ramen is still there.

      Anything you recommend at Misoya?

        1. re: MrGrumpy

          Looks yummy. Never had ramen with corn, tho I do see a lot of places offer that. Is it traditional?

          1. re: willscarlett

            I've heard that ramen with corn is traditional in Hokkaido but I'm not really sure.

            1. re: willscarlett

              Pretty standard in miso ramen from Sapporo/ Hokkaido environs. Sometimes add butter as well...Potatoes are less common though...

              1. re: Silverjay

                Yes, though the irony is that most all corn used in ramen in Hokkaido comes from the U.S. as frozen food.

                1. re: Tripeler

                  well the US produces like 40%+ of the world's corn...people forget the US is basically the biggest farming nation in the world

                  1. re: Tripeler

                    Deeper irony is that Sapporo's grid pattern for streets was influenced by American advisers....Many people associate miso ramen with Hokkaido, but it is really a Sapporo specialty. Hakodate and Asahikawa both have their own types of ramen. Santouka is actually originally from Asahikawa.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      haha nice

                      really people associate ramen with hokkaido? i associate weird ramen with hokkaido that has stuff like corn and butter in it

                      1. re: Lau

                        Ah well Hokkaido in general is known in Japan for corn and dairy products, among other things, so it's not so weird over there. Kind of like how we associate potatoes with Idaho, cheese Wisconsin, oranges Florida, etc.

                        1. re: Silverjay

                          its just that i find corn and butter weird in ramen bc i didn't grow up eating it like that....that said weird doesn't mean bad (at least for me) as i like both corn and butter and ramen and im totally fine with them (i like hokkaido style ramen...although technically ive yet to find a style of ramen i dont like if its made well)

                          1. re: Lau

                            There's a place in Tokyo (in Ebisu) that puts cheese on their ramen!

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              even weirder! although i can see that happening

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                Ivan does that, though it's not of the gloppy variety. I think it's to necessary sub for the seafood or vegetarian broths.

                                For the instant ramen I do at home, if available, I often throw in a slice of cheese.

                                1. re: Silverjay

                                  The Ippudo in Hong Kong has the option to add a big hunk of gooey stringy cheese (low fat mozzarella?) to the ramen. I kind of liked the juxtaposition of the noodles with the stretchy cheese.

                                  1. re: Humbucker

                                    I should have specified that the cheese at the shop I mentioned is added to miso ramen as a nod to the dairy industry in Hokkaido. An "homage of fromage" if you will!...I'm sure there are various shops around throwing cheese and other stuff into their soups...

                                    1. re: Silverjay

                                      actually i forgot about that, last time i was in HK Hokkaido milk is like a new fad, so many places advertised they were using Hokkaido milk particularly in milk pudding (HK milk pudding is really good)

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        I saw Hokkaido milk bread in HK, too.

                            2. re: Lau

                              In Hokkaido that sort of ramen is far from weird. No doubt the original corn put into ramen was grown in Hokkaido, which is where the custom is from. Besides, butter is a natural match for miso broth.

                    2. re: MrGrumpy

                      Tried the Kome Miso Cha-Shu on Tuesday. Overall, pretty good. Ramen Misoya has some happy hour specials - you get a free soft boiled egg in your soup from 4-7 and an extra piece of pork cha-shu in your soup if you check in on Yelp.

                      Anyways, as to the dish as a whole - the broth, noodles and extras were mostly quite good. The broth tasted slightly saltier at the bottom, once everything else had been consumed. The soft boiled egg was also completely cold and the pork wasn't like shoe leather, but definitely wasn't the really tender, melt in your mouth pork that you get elsewhere. It was a bit chewy.

                      1. re: willscarlett

                        Oh no, sorry you had a subpar experience. Perhaps they're not as consistent as I thought.

                        1. re: MrGrumpy

                          Don't sweat it. Overall, it was very yummy and satisfying. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. Def better than Ramen Setagaya or Jinya.

                2. I haven't been to the one in NJ

                  I liked Jin better than Ippudo.

                  Totto I liked a lot.

                  1. Hanjan's Korean Spicy Ramyun sold after 9pm everyday is pretty awesome. It has recently won the title of "best soup in New York" by Village Voice.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: kosmose7

                      I'd read about that one. Have you had it and recommend it?

                      1. re: willscarlett

                        Hearty soup prepared by boiling pork, chicken, fish bones, and chilies all day, as well as meaty pork charsiu and jidori egg. Tastes great!

                        1. re: kosmose7

                          Looks very good and the broth looks rich and flavorful! How is the spice factor with the chiles tho?

                          1. re: willscarlett

                            It is quite spicy, but not painful-spicy because they use Korean red pepper powder, which is made after removing the chili seeds. Korean red pepper is also generally sweeter.

                            I am also glad you like Santouka.
                            It is one of my most favorite ramen houses in NY too.

                            1. re: kosmose7

                              I'm not the biggest fan of 'quite spicy', but thank you for informing me. My girlfriend is Korean tho, but my tolerance for spice hasn't improved as much as it should have!

                    2. As the ramen scene in NYC has become more and more developed, it's beginning to remind me of the steakhouse scene where certain steakhouses are really better for specific cuts than "just a steak":

                      Between the different soup bases and variations of noodles, it'd be awesome if someone came up with a list of the specialties in NYC. I like tonkotsu but I'm not as enamored with it as many people seem to be. I prefer shio to shoyu, and prefer thicker wavy noodles to the thin straight ones.

                      I'm not sure which broth/noodle combination you're looking for, but the green curry ramen at Bassanova is both unique and delicious:

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: fooder

                        I've read about Bassanova. You seem to like it, hmm? I've thought about going, but am not down in Chinatown that often. Your photo made the portion look a bit small, which is something I've heard others say. Is it a small portion for the price?

                        1. re: willscarlett

                          Well, at EVERY ramen shop in the city I always end up getting extra pork and kaedama (except the jumbo at Sapporo), so to me the portion sizes are all equal. It definitely feels like you're paying midtown prices in Chinatown, which may affect how you view it. The noodles are very thick and the broth does have a slick of oil to it, so it should still fill you up.

                      2. Guess New York Chowhounders and Toronto Chowhounders have identical tastebuds!!!
                        Most of us also voted 'Santouka's Toronto branch as our favourite!!
                        Personally, also found Santouka is better than Ippudo!! Great broth!!
                        However, if you have a chance to visit us in Toronto, we have an Izakaya-'Kingyo', that churns out a 'Dan Dan Ramen' that even trumps Santouka's!!! Absolutely awesome!!!


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          While I didn't have a bowl of Ippudo's next to me at the time, my instinct tells me that Santouka is better than Ippudo. I was there around 7:30 on a Tuesday night and there was no line, not to mention the price for their super melty pork cheek ramen with the salt based broth was somewhere between $10 and $13.

                          I've never been to Toronto, but I'll check out Kingyo if I'm ever there!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            i dont think ippudo in NY is that great its good, but i think its overhyped a bit

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              I ate lunch at Ippudo yesterday. I had the Akamaru Modern ramen and it was quite good, tho I now definitely know that I at least prefer the broth at Santouka. It's much richer than what Ippudo serves and that may or may not appeal to everyone.

                              I did ask and they do still make their own noodles at Ippduo, which a lot of places don't do anymore.