Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Nothing like a bowl of rich, fatty, porky bowl of tonkotsu ramen to warm the belly after a day of post-Christmas shopping! Lili, Lenokun, and I went to check out the “hot and new” Ramen-ya by West 4th, NYU territory (not surprisingly). The West 4th location was tiny and full, so we wound up strolling over to its second location on West 3rd. Best decision ever – the West 3rd location is much more spacious and accommodating. Win.
Lenokun and I both got an order of their famous Shio Black Ramen with no regrets! A rich pork-belly broth with black garlic oil bubbling inside, this ramen is potentially the most delicious I’ve ever laid my tongue on. The broth was the embodiment of pure berkshire porkiness in liquid form, the prime example of what tonkotsu ramen should be. It far surpassed any ramen broth I have tasted before, even Ippudo’s. The noodles are a notch down from Ippudo’s noodles. Although undoubtedly authentic, Ramen-ya’s noodles lack the elasticity and chewiness that Ippudo had set the standard for. What really impressed me about Ramen-ya were the slices of sinful chashu pork belly and the soft-boiled egg with almost creamy yolk. The chashu pork was skillfully seasoned and slow-roasted so that the meat melts in your mouth. The egg was equally tasty with an almost paradoxical yolk – soft and creamy, almost like a half-raw egg, yet completely solid. I just couldn’t stop slurping up this hearty bowl of ramen!! The only drawback is that the rich tonkotsu broth might have overwhelmed my umami taste buds, leaving a strong fatty aftertaste in my mouth and a strong desire to eat raw vegetables (which I guess really isn’t a drawback).
Lili got the Miso Tonkotsu Ramen, which is pork belly with miso based broth. I stole a sip of this and was just as impressed by its milder yet equally tasty broth. There was a light hint of the soybean paste that balanced out the rich pork-based broth. Based on the first few sips alone, miso pales in comparison to shio black. However, I suspect that the miso ramen would be easier to finish without getting overpowered because it is less rich. I will definitely be back to taste all the types of ramen available here!
Tofu-Veggie Gyoza appetizers were not that memorable, far outshined by the ramen here. I liked that there were edamame and mushroom in the filling, but nothing special about it. The ponzu ginger dipping sauce added a sweet, salty, spicy kick. I would have preferred them steamed and with extra filling. Can’t say I’ll be back for more gyoza, but I will definitely be back for more ramen adventures! After tonight, we all agreed that Ramen-ya and Totto Ramen currently serve the best quality ramen in the city.