Yes, fall is upon us in New York City, though seemingly in starts and stutters. Rest assured, though, the cold will eventually come. A cause for tears? Hardly! We look at the changing of the seasons as a grand opportunity to indulge in some of the cooler-weather culinary treats this city does so well: ramen. Get it while it’s hot, and the weather is cold-ish.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Let’s speak plainly. David Chang is a gift to the universe. In a seemingly short amount of time, the man has brought us such dreams as Má Pêche, Milk Bar, and—for the purpose of this article—the outstanding Momofuku Noodle Bar. Sweets, soups: Chang does everything, and it’s all delicious. No stop to MNB would be complete without a taste of the Momofuku Ramen, with its tasty pork and poached egg. Or the Fried Chicken, or the Brisket Buns, or… okay, we’ll stop. Just go.
171 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Doubtless you have seen interviews with chef Ivan Orkin, his accent marked by strong Long Island roots. The owner of Ivan Ramen, Orkin first staked his noodle claim on the outskirts of Tokyo, testing out his dishes on what is probably the world’s toughest, most discerning ramen crowd. Since taking his skills stateside, Orkin has duly impressed the world’s second toughest ramen crowd: New York City critics. Though Ivan Ramen’s menu is chock-full with non-ramen winners, make sure to grab a bowl of the Spicy Red Chile Ramen, which is the color of a live fire and flavored to the brim.
25 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Under any sane and normal circumstance, we would never point you in the direction of Port Authority for, well, pretty much anything, save for a bus moving you swiftly away from said point. But this is a bowl of noodles worth the trek to its dubious location. Its namesake dish, Tabata Ramen, is a real knockout. Blending the owner’s Burmese heritage with a strong Japanese influence, the dish takes a soybean and coconut broth base and throws in perfectly plump chicken, creamy soft boiled egg, and cilantro to brighten it all up. For $10, you can’t beat it.
540 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018
When the topic of Ippudo comes up, people get emotional. Maybe it’s a visceral reaction to the food, or perhaps it’s the slight evidence of low-grade culinary PTSD accrued from enduring the restaurant’s notorious waits. Whatever the case, this East Village spot has earned its stripes with staples like the Akamaru Modern, which is the perfect marriage of pork, miso, mushroom, and garlic. Be warned: this place is practically built on the other white meat; if you’re not a fan, head elsewhere.
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003
Short, sweet, and straight to the point, Totto Ramen’s menu keeps things simple with six soup options (with the added benefit of making three of them “extra spicy” if you so choose). The noodles are made in-house and the chicken broth is the kind that warms you straight to the bones. You can add any number of toppings to your ramen selection, from bean sprouts to seasoned boiled egg. The choice is up to you.
366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
What could possibly make ramen be any better than it already is? Proximity to SIXTY, we selfishly say. Mr. Taka is close to our SIXTY LES outpost, which means you can practically shuffle out of the hotel on a cold day wearing sweatpants and hit the counter solo. If you want to, of course. Mr. Taka strays away from traditional on occasion, offering broths made with yuzu and white soy sauce.
Photo courtesy of Hari Panicker