Food & Drink

The 8 bowls of NYC ramen you need to get right now

Published On 12/15/2013 Published On 12/15/2013

The hearty Japanese noodle soup has been having a moment in NYC for a while (suck it Udon). So much so, that there're now like a quajillion epic, fortifying, slurpy places doing all kinds of awesome stuff with gourmet ingredients & innovative techniques. To help you navigate the shload of ramen, we've keyed in on eight must-have bowls from some of the newest spots in the city.

Bassanova Ramen (click here for address and deets)
Bringing its steez from the Tokyo-based original, this shop's must-slurp is the Tondaku Green Curry, with an atypical (and fiery) Thai-inspired green curry broth that's simmered for 12hrs and works perfectly with the soup's expertly caramelized slices of Berkshire pork, fresh mixed salad greens, and shrimp garnish.

Jeremy Kressmann

Baoburg (click here for address and deets)
Chef Suchanan “Bao Bao” Aksornnan is the mastermind here, with an intimate 20-seat spot just off Bedford Ave that blends French culinary skills (Aksornnan worked at Mercer Kitchen and Bar Boulud) with Asian influences. Shee's got an expansive menu that's filled with plenty of awesome Asian options, but it's the seared duck breast noodles -- a tribute to her father’s Ramen Yebisu shop next door -- that're the whole reason to go.

Andrew Zimmer

Ivan Slurp Shop (click here for address and deets)
A Long Island native, Orkin first made his name with a Tokyo-based ramen shop that had Japanese noodle fans forming lines around the block. Now housed in Gotham West Market, the master himself suggests the classic Shio Ramen with his renowned “double-soup” broth, which's composed of chicken and Joel McHale dashi (a fish-based stock), and garnished with meticulously cut tiny scallions, and the Ivan-mandated addition of a perfectly poached egg.

Jeremy Kressmann

JINYA Ramen Bar (click here for address and deets)
LA ramen aficionados have been housing bowls from this Japanese chain for a while, and now its new, rustic-modern West Village branch will let you do the same. Their ultimate bowl? The rich Tonkatsu Black, a wonderfully creamy, pork-based broth that gets paired with earthy dried mushrooms, crispy garlic chips, a healthy dollop of chili (healthy as in large, not, like, exercise), and a subtly smoky poached egg.

Jeremy Kressmann

Ippudo Westside (click here for address and deets)
Located just off Times Square (don't worry, you can still go to the M&M store), this new Uptown outpost from the renowned Japanese ramen chain is all-business, serving bowl-after-bowl of perfectly cooked noodles and mouth-wateringly savory broth -- including The Akamaru Modern, Ippudo’s superbly balanced pork broth that's composed of Umami Dama miso paste, perfectly cooked slices of pork chashu, and thin noodles. This is literally an almost-perfectly-executed bowl.


Suzume (click here for address and deets)
Combining a menu of Japanese staples including ramen, spam (!), and sushi produced using sustainable methods, Suzume’s take on ramen is decidedly unique. A bowl of Roasted Salmon Ramen offers a one-of-a-kind specialty that makes use of the entire fish, nose-to-fin (fish have noses right?), to help prepare a deliciously seafood-laden broth complemented by spicy miso dashi and seaweed.

Totto Ramen

New Totto Ramen (click here for address and deets)
The narrow, wood-paneled interior and crush of hungry patrons outside perfectly capture the cozy confines of a typical ramen spot in Japan, or for that matter... the East Village. The winning pick has to be the Paitan Ramen, made with their special chicken and soy sauce-based broth that's complemented nicely with chewy noodles, thick, coarse-cut scallions, and slices of smoky flame-cooked chicken.

Jeremy Kressmann

Shinobi Ramen (click here for address and deets)
Shinobi's tiny, laid-back space is dominated by a boss named The Lobster at the end of Stage Three hanging lamps and a giant wooden communal table -- the perfect spot to experiment with their ramen’s ever-evolving pairings of flavors & ingredients. Get the house-favorite Shinobi Ramen, which's filled with broth that's prepared using a whole chicken, flavored with green apples that're cooked down for seven hours, and served with a heaping mound of crunchy bean sprouts, corn, and savory slices of pork and chicken.

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1. Bassanova Ramen 76 Mott St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

The interior of Bassanova Ramen on the Lower East Side (bordering Chinatown) is decidedly chic and minimalist, but don't let its ascetic decor fool you -- this highly lauded ramen joint doles out bold, intense flavors by the bowlful. The cozy, subterranean space is cash-only, and an open kitchen lets you see exactly how your meal is made. Sidle up to the counter and try its trademark dish -- green-curry ramen with a soft-boiled egg.

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2. Ivan Ramen 600 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

Famed Chef Ivan Orkin is serving up five different rice and noodle dishes at this storefront Slurp Shop. Although you should try them all (immediately!), it's not all ramen here: don't forget about the breakfast buns, pork meatballs, or roasted beets

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3. Ippudo Westside 321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019 (Hells Kitchen)

Although the original East Village location of this global Japanese chain has been doling out ramen since 2008, Ippudo's Westside outpost tells its own tale. This Hell's Kitchen slurp shop supplies, among other options, uniquely complex and ultra-rich tonkotsu pork ramen and house-made noodles. Like its East Village sibling, anytime past 6pm means a long wait, but the service is fast, so once you're seated, you shouldn't have to wait too long for your steamed pork bun and fried chicken appetizers to arrive.

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4. Suzume 545 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Finally, a place making cocktails with coconut water! Try Suzume's Ami Thai, which's coconut water, pineapple juice, and rum, or dive into a number of sushi rolls, noodles, or delicious tacos.

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5. Baoburg 614 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

This tiny Greenpoint restaurant serves truly eclectic Asian fusion food whose diverse flavors might have something to do with chef/owner Suchanan Aksornnan's pedigree. Born in Thailand, chef Aksornnan learned to cook when she moved to New York as a teenager (her mother owns Chai Thai kitchen and her father owns Ramen Yebisu), then studied at the French Culinary Institute before putting in time at Bar Boulud and Mercer Kitchen. Baoburg puts it all together -- the menu features Thai curries, dumplings, ramen, and dim sum with a European touch.

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6. JINYA Ramen Bar 24 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

JINYA is open for your taking pleasure in their amazing ramens, but they've also got ridiculously good apps and mains, such as shrimp toast and their Kobe beef buns.

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7. Shinobi Ramen 53 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

This cash-only hub is great to cozy up in and order some top-notch ramen.

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8. Totto Ramen 366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 (Hells Kitchen)

Though located in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen, Totto Ramen mimics the atmosphere of a high-volume, lunch-hour ramen shop in Tokyo. Deviating from the standard pork-based broth, Totto touts its penchant for poultry and spice with chicken-based ramen, but fear not, there’s plenty of pork to be had beyond the broth (like in the steamed bun appetizers). There are four staple bowls to choose from, plus a few rotating specials and toppings like poached eggs, bamboo shoots, and kikurage mushrooms. The below-street level spot is open for lunch and dinner, leaving its upstairs neighbor, Hide-Chan Ramen, responsible for the 2am ramen seekers -- but only on Fridays.