The frigid temperature of late lends itself to a steaming bowl of oh-so-comforting ramen. I’m not talking about those cheap packs of high-sodium ramen that you might have had in college. Ramen has grown up and meandered its way into the food culture of New York City.
I recently watched the PBS series, Mind of a Chef, starring David Chang of the Momofuku restaurants. He went on a ramen expedition to Japan and demonstrated how he makes his broth, which requires a professional kitchen to get it right.
But as much as I wish I could make a broth like David Chang, I know I never will (unless I get a behind-the-scenes tour). For now I recommend these restaurants to get your ramen fix.
Escape the cold and pop into one of these NYC ramen restaurants
Momofuku Noodle Bar—171 First Avenue, East Village
David Chang is a master when it comes to noodles and broth (see above.) His ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder, and egg—need I say more? They also serve a vegetarian version with chickpeas and kale. And get the pork buns before slurping your noodles—they’re outstanding.
Dassara Brooklyn Ramen—271 Smith Street, Brooklyn
At Dassara choose from among eight different bowls of ramen, including classic lamb, apple miso, mushroom and deli ramen, which contains diced celery, smoke meat, and matzoh ball. The pork buns are great as well.
Talde—369 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn
Dale Talde knows a thing or two about ramen as evidenced by the very popular breakfast ramen, which is served during brunch on the weekends. The smoked bacon and soft-boiled egg are of course wonderful but the buttered toast broth makes the dish stand out. Oh, and get the Asian-inspired house-made Bloody Mary.
Ganso Ramen—25 Bond Street, Brooklyn
The braised short rib ramen and triple shrimp ramen are the stars at this Downtown Brooklyn ramen shop run by Harris Salat and award-winning Chef Tadashi Ono. The stock here is unique: it’s the only place iin New York that makes a Tokyo-style “mannen” stock, a technique that creates a rich flavor.
Ramen Lab—70 Kenmare Street, SoHo
Ramen Lab’s message is clear: “We love ramen and want to share it with the world.” Its prime location in SoHo/Little Italy, which opened in January, 2015, plus its large, hot bowls of ramen created by legendary Chef Jack Nakamura, makes it very popular so be prepared to wait for one of the stools at the ramen bar. But it’s well worth it with noodles based on a 100-year old recipe. What’s even more exciting: you can attend a ramen tasting or learn how to make ramen yourself.
Chuko Ramen—552 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn
Three self-proclaimed ramen geeks opened up Chuko, which means “vintage” with much success. Chuko offers four types of ramen: miso, soy, veggie and kimchi. you might also want to get the brussels sprouts and salt and pepper chicken wings.
What’s your favorite ramen restaurant?
N.B.: But, if it’s really too cold to go out and you’d feel terrible for the delivery guys if you ordered in, there is a solution. The Sun Noodles Ramen Kits, which I discovered in the refrigerator aisle of Whole Foods Brooklyn. I make the noodles and add in sausage, hard-boiled egg, and scallions for a super quick and satisfying lunch. The Ramen Lab, featured above, is run by a Sun Noodle chef.