Noodles, Octopus, & More at Ramen Takumi
Most of my experience with ramen is limited to home-cooked lunch in graduate school and the occasional visit to one of the many delis near my office… sad, I know. But I’ve been meaning to check out a real ramen restaurant for some time now, so when I heard about Ramen Takumi (3rd Ave. btw. 34th & 35th St.), I jumped at the chance to try it out.
Takumi is a cool-looking place, with a tables and bar style seating. It’s menu features not the pork-laden tonkotsu ramen, but shio, a salt-flavored broth. It’s a clean-tasting soup, salty of course, with a bite of seaweed as well. So if you’re looking for rich, fatty broth, this particular ramen spot probably isn’t for you.
The shio ramen, which costs $10.45 – just outside the ML limit, but I think worth the splurge – comes with two slices of pork, bamboo shoots, a soft-boiled egg, green onions, and seaweed. The noodles are straight, not the curly style you’d expect (my research tells me this is typical of shio ramen), but they’re none-the-less delicious.
I really enjoyed the pork that came in the ramen. The two pieces are relatively, small, but for an extra two dollars, you can get extra pork. The great thing about the pork is that it seems to have been rolled up before cooking, so that a layer of fat spirals through each slice. You get some fat in each bite, ensuring that the pork is moist and flavorful, standing up to the salty broth.
The egg is also quite good, perfectly soft-boiled so that the yolk remains delectably oozy.
I also tried Takumi’s Tako Wasabi ($3.00), an octopus salad marinated in wasabi. The octopus is served raw and cut into small pieces, helping to keep each bite tender (although a few pieces of tentacle proved quite chewy). Wasabi is definitely the dominant flavor, so even though the portion size is small, you might want to share this with a friend or two.
While I tried the shio ramen and octopus salad, some of my friends ordered Takumi’s other offerings. All reported back good things about the Syo-yu (flavored with soy sauce) and miso ramen, as well as the curry-flavored option. Corn made a nice addition to the miso ramen, which was also served with pork, while the curry ramen came laden with chopped chicken.
The shumai and gyoza, available in pork and shrimp varieties, were also a hit. The gyoza in particular were well cooked, the bottoms of the dumplings dark and crisp, as they should be.
Aside from the ramen, Ramen Takumi also serves tsukemen (dipping noodles) and donburi (rice) dishes. The prices run just over the ML $10 limit, but a few ‘sets’ – ramen plus a choice of appetizer – are offered for $14.95. Still pricey, but a nice-sized lunch if you feel like treating yourself.
Ramen Takumi, 3rd Ave. btw. 34th and 35th St., (212) 679-2752