Thursday, 15 January 2015

Totto Ramen in NYC New York

Totto Ramen, a basement level, dingy noodle shop is on every list of New York City's best ramen.


Stepping inside, Totto Ramen was a very compact and intimate ramen shop. This bar was half the ramen joint's seating capacity ;-D Everyone was sitting elbow to elbow.

It was still full house at 3:00pm on a freezing January Wednesday.


The other half of the shop were these seats at the narrow passage at the back. It was like eating in a dark, secret tunnel with unfinished brick wall on one side and people squeezing pass on the other.

With so little seating capacity, expect extra long queues and wait during lunch, dinner and all day on weekends.

I love this place for a quirky, personal reason too.

The first time I visited a ramen-ya in Tokyo 30 years ago, I remembered they played Beatles music in the background. Since then, I always associate ramen shops with The Beatles.

Totto Ramen plays Beatles music in the background. Tell me how not to heart Totto Ramen?


I came alone and so didn't have to wait long. I was led to a bar seat which allowed me to watch the frenetic action in the open kitchen while enjoying my ramen ;-D


Six wire baskets of ramen were cooking in boiling water at the same time, all the time.


Every bowl of ramen was assembled fresh on order.


I like it that Totto Ramen torch their chashu before serving :-D


Totto Extra Spicy Ramen at USD11.25 (before tax and tip). This was very competitive pricing for Mid Town New York (a stone's throw from NYC's main tourist belt). There was no slow poached flavoured egg which was sold separately.


The spicy ramen came separately with a large little bowl of house made chili. It was a fiery blend of chili, peppercorn, bits of crispy fried garlic and other aromatic spices held together by oil.


The full bodied chicken broth was savoury sweet, rich and creamy - the texture was like full cream milk. It was also not greasy. I like Totto's chicken broth.


I dumped the whole bowl of chili into the broth to enjoy the extra spicy ramen ;-D


The rich creamy savoury sweet broth now had an added stinging spicy hot dimension. It was as fiery as it looked. I felt the spicy kick on my taste buds and a slight burn in my throat.

Love it ;-D


The two small thin slices of chashu had tender, slightly fibrous lean portions and soft melty fat attached. Good but not outstanding. 

(My ideal chashu is thick, melty soft with jiggly fat that bursts in gushes and floods the mouth with warm savoury sweet juices.)


The slender noodles were cooked till soft al dente. They were slurp perfect with the spicy broth clinging to the strands.

Totto Ramen was one of my best ramen experiences in New York City. I love the cool vibe, friendly service and tasty ramen. And, of the course, The Beatles music.

Next time, the pork bun.


Restaurant name: Totto Ramen

Address: 366 West 52nd Street, NYC New York
Hours: 12:00 – 4:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 12:00 am

Date visited: 14 Jan 2015

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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