TOTTO RAMEN, NYC
Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 4
August 2013 (WESTSIDE), & December 2014 (EASTSIDE)
I’ve eaten at their UWS location and wanted to see if the UES measures up… first off, this location is only slightly bigger than the W 52nd St location HOWEVER it makes a freaking h*ll of a difference in your wait time to chow down! So yes, THIS was a definite PRO!! OK same deal – long line, cash only (c’mon most small establishment does that cash only protocol – can’t ding them on this people, you’re an adult – have cash in your wallet! ONLY excusable for Cali peeps… apparently they like to charge everything including a $2 coffee!)… we went on a regular weekday during lunch hour no less.. since it opens at 12, you have 2 choices – if you don’t want to wait 20-40mins – (1) be there by 11:45 to get in the 1st group of seating, I think they can accommodate 40 peeps compared to the UWS location. They have these communal tables that can seat 6 or 3 pairs of 2 or whatever they can configure. Bar seating and table seatings. Or (2) come around 12:55.. the 2nd wave have just finished and plenty of seating for you. We were at the 1st seating… no wait – once open.
Service is quick, efficient and no complaints what-so-ever!
Food: TOTTO Spicy Ramen (pictured) and Miso Ramen, just added the seasoned egg & Nori (TRUST ME, It’s worth the extra green!). We came for the noodle and the chicken broth but I love a perfectly cook 8 min egg, w a soft center but NOT runny!! It was just as good as I remembered from the other location – I love ramen with a bit of kick to it. My lunch buddy was very happy with his Miso ramen – it came with a yellow wavy noodle vs. my flat ivory noodle. We both enjoyed our ramen – perfectly al dente, not over cooked like so many places.
Fair warning: you & your clothes will smell like chicken soup!
We also had the pork buns – meh… skip this for sure. The “Char Siu” is too dry, because they ‘torch’ those suckers and not fatty enough to balance the burnt vs. meat ratio – trust me I know my pork belly from years of eating them at home (Chinese families have been making those pork belly aka ‘Five Flower Meat’ for ages). Ippudo does this much better – hands down.
Overall, I still prefer Ippudo – the pork bone broth is much richer and sorry, but not sorry – I love a rich broth over any “cleaner” broth as some reviews pointed out. It’s like “let me order chicken at a steak house”… You’re eating ramen!?!! Throw that wt watcher out the window!
Enjoy & Happy feasting!