January 20, 2012
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Most of us are familiar with ramen, the Japanese noodle, in its instant form boiled down to the dull consistency of mush and soaked with MSG-laden miso soup that’s more water than miso. But for really good authentic ramen, look no farther than mid-town Manhattan’s Totto Ramen, offering freshly brewed broth and chewy noodles that actually taste egg-y. The younger and less expensive rival of Ippudo, Totto restaurant offers a limited palate of ramen and meager side dishes, but a smorgasbord of toppings and your choice of pork or chicken to go along with your noodles. In other words, it may be minimalist but it does what it does well.
Totto’s small crowded space means long lines, a waitlist, and often tables shared with strangers during lunchtime. One can opt to take a bar stool instead, and watch cooks practice their forte, or avoid the eatery’s unusual noontime opening rush by dining at a later hour. Prepare to bring green moola to this cash-only, no-advanced-reservations establishment.
For first timers, Totto Miso Ramen is the most appealing ramen to try with basic garnishes such as a boiled egg, scallions, and thick miso paste. Those who want a little raw sashimi with their modest-sized meal may want to nip at the Avo Tuna appetizer before happily tucking in.
366 W 52nd Street (Between 8th & 9th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
Totto Miso Ramen $10.50
Avo Tuna $4.50
Writer’s Tip: If you want to share your meal, make sure to ask the wait staff for an additional empty bowl. Extra utensils will already be provided on your table.