Food & Drink

The 8 Best Under-the-Radar Ramen Spots in NYC

Published On 01/19/2015 Published On 01/19/2015
Andrew Zimmer
Mokbar
Flickr/Michael Vito
Ramen Misoya
Flickr/Dennis Miyashiro
Ramen-Ya
Tabata Noodle Restaurant
Mei Jin Ramen
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1. Benkei Ramen 115 Allen St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

When the moon is at it's highest, this ramen noodle house opens it's doors slinging Tonkotsu Ramen with it's assorted pig parts and a Gyoza you won't want to share with your tablemates. In the same space as the Hill&Dale gastropub, the spot is known for quite a bit of a wait, but is well worth the effort.

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2. Mokbar 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

This Korean-style ramen stand in Chelsea Market makes two styles of the noodle soup: "brothy" and "saucy," both of which infuse traditional Korean soups with ramen noodles. The brothy kimchi Jigae -- a kimchee bacon broth topped with braised pork, stewed kimchee, and scallion -- is by far the best bowl on the menu. The thick, bright orange soup tastes and smells pungent (spicy kimchee and smoked bacon are in a league of their own), so for the sake of others, eat your ramen at Mokbar's counter instead of taking it elsewhere in the market. Kimchee fans will find a nice selection of the fermented speciality to take home, as well.

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3. Kambi Ramen House 351 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

If you're a fan of perpetually packed Minca Ramen Factory (and you should be) then you'll be a fan of their not nearly as perpetually packed sister spot, Kambi Ramen factory, too. The only real difference between the two? The decor and the wait - Kambi is twice the size of Minca. Make sure to start things off with the pork gyoza and a Sapporo, and follow up with Kambi's Tsukemen (dipping noodles).

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4. Ramen Misoya 129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Misoya has one of the biggest bowls of ramen in the city, and offers a wide variety of toppings. Three types of miso -- namely Kome, Mame, and Shiro -- are their calling card, though, and you won't find any other place in the city that serves 'em.

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5. Ramen Setagaya 34 1/2 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

This spot was around waaaayyyy before the Ramen renaissance we’re currently experiencing was born. Get the Gekikara Tsukemen with BBQ pork, egg, bamboo shoot, scallion, onion, cabbage, bean sprouts. Warning: the fire red looking broth is the real deal, proceed with caution.

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6. Ramen-Ya 181 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Located inside a West Village townhouse, Ramen-Ya is a tiny cash-only joint that serves a small but well-rounded selection of the Japanese noodle soup. The top bowls to order are the pork Shio black and the chicken Shio red; the first features straight thin noodles and a tonkotsu broth, while the second is made with thicker and wavier egg noodles in a spicy red chicken broth. Make sure to order the spicy pork gyoza as an appetizer -- the pan-fried dumplings come with a fiery topping of chili oil that'll get your tastebuds ready for the main event.

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7. Tabata Noodle Restaurant 540 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018 (Hells Kitchen)

There are two Tabata Noodle ramen ya's in the city, but only one you most definitely want to hit up. We're talking about the Tabata behind the Port Authority bus terminal. The chef and owner, Maung Htein Linn, is from Burma and moved to Tokyo after college, where he worked in a ramen ya for years learning the art of broths and noodles. His signature dish, Tabata Ramen, showcases his Burmese heritage with a broth consisting of coconut milk topped with mild spiced chicken stew, cilantro, and red onions.

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8. Mei-Jin Ramen 1574 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (Upper East Side)

This low-key Japanese restaurant serves ramen and izakaya-style small plates in an intimate setting on Second Avenue. Instead of the pork-based tonkotsu broth typical of many New York ramen joints, Mei-Jin specializes in a fatty, marrow-infused beef broth. The broth has a refreshing but rich taste, and is augmented in texture with wavy noodles, fermented bamboo shoots, garlic chips, and green onion. Nontraditional accouterments like arugula and meat chili round out the selection.

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