Ramen restaurants are all the rage these days. The basic broth is derived from the essence of pork, chicken, beef, or seafood, and seasoned with soy sauce, salt, miso, and other spices. It’s totally up to each individual chef to decide which ingredients and how much to use. In the end, it’s all about that magical broth.
Jin Ramen (462 Amsterdam Avenue) You are sure to notice the crowds on Amsterdam waiting to dine at Jin. Don’t let the crowd discourage you, the service is speedy so the wait is rarely an issue. They serve chicken, pork and vegetarian broths as well as low salt options for all ramen soups. The Spicy Tonkotsu hits you with a whirlwind of aromas and tender meat sure to clear your sinuses. The Green Coconut Thai Curry with chicken is worth trying for ramen with a twist. All bowls are very filling but if you want to try a light appetizer go for the Blistered Shishito Peppers. Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 5-6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-close, enjoy $3 Sapporo’s and hot sake. Pitchers of Sapporo are just $11.
Nakamura (172 Delancey Street) This homey twenty seat restaurant churns out delicious bowls of ramen for locals from 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. everyday but Sunday. Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura was hailed a “ramen god” when he was just 22 in Japan. Try Torigara, the chef’s signature dish, a soy based chicken broth with chashu pork, menma and thin noodles ($14). If you want a kick, try Shaki Shiaki Spicy Ramen ($15) with chili seasoned chicken broth and bean sprouts. The pork broths have a creamier texture while the chicken is thinner but still full of zest. For vegans there are always three options. They have mastered that fine line between overly heavy and light and savory. The Teppan Gyoza (chicken) are a good starter for $8 and served on a sizzling platter. Asahi and Orion beers are always $6.
Minca (536 East 5th Street) Their broth is made from vast amounts of pork and chicken bones, and emphasis on hearty Japanese tastes of dried bonito and dried shiitake mushrooms imported from Japan. They also order miso from Sendai and Shinshuu to create an unique and robust miso ramen. Their blends include pork, chicken, miso, vegetarian and a half pork/chicken broth. The Minca Sio pork and chicken blend has spices of salt and roasted garlic ($12). You can choose thin, thick or wavy noodles as well. The chashui pork is blow torched right before serving helping make it literally melt in your mouth. Minca may be small and casual but dishes are big on flavor. Cash only.