Early this year, you said “a long line at a small restaurant is always a good sign” in reference to a ramen place that served ukokkei ramen ron. So I took it as a really good sign when I heard of the loooooong lines at totto ramen, a noodle shop near the Theater District in Manhattan. One of my cousins had told me that she once waited almost an hour for a seat at this place. Fortunately, my dear friend E and I didn’t have to wait long at all to get a taste of these famous noodles. The small shop on 52nd street near 9th avenue opens at noon Monday to Saturday; we were there at 11:30 on a wednesday and promptly added our names to the sign-up sheet on the door.
When we were ushered in, we found ourselves sharing a table with two young Korean tourists, who like us had heard good things about Totto Ramen (though the young guy said he’d also read rave reviews about another shop called Ippudo on Yelp). E and I promptly placed our orders — chicken paitan ramen for me (below) and spicy ramen (at left) for her — and very quickly got huge, steaming bowls of soup.
I have to say, I could live on the broth alone, which was really flavorful; I can almost imagine piles of chicken bone simmering for hours. The noodles had just the right bite and the soup was topped with broiled pork belly, scallions, onion and a sheet of nori. The only difference between my soup and E’s is that hers included a dollop of spicy sesame oil (I’ll go for that next time).
You know, the place was rather cramped but even with the long line outside, I really didn’t get the sense we were being rushed (though service was prompt) and I truly appreciated that. Soup is one of those meals that you need to take time with to enjoy.