Go East and the Wait for Totto Ramen is Much Shorter
One of the reasons I rarely find myself at Totto Ramen is because the lines are massively intimidating. The ramen is good, but who’s got time to wait in those lines? Don’t New Yorkers work?
Well, a few weeks ago, Totto Ramen quietly opened up a third location just on the other side of town on the same street as its first 52nd Street location. This one is literally in the same building as another Midtown-ramen classic, Hide-Chan. Both businesses are owned by the same person and they focus on different broths (chicken vs. pork bone), so there are plenty of ramen options on 52nd Street.
When I arrived around 12:30pm, I saw a healthy line out the door and my hopes of a shorter line were dashed. However, I noticed it moved rather quickly and in a matter of minutes, I was sitting at the bar. It looked like parties of 1 or 2 sat pretty quickly with the only people waiting outside being the ones waiting for more guests.
The menu looked pretty identical to the two locations on the west side. I tried to keep the price low by sticking with their classic Paitan Ramen and a pork bun.
I had never had one of their pork buns so figured that was a must order. The pork was phenomenal, plump and fatty with lots of flavor, but I wasn’t crazy about the addition of tartar sauce and an abundance of iceberg lettuce. It hinted at cheap American fast food – for better or worse.
The ramen, however, was still spectacular. The rich, complex chicken broth brings a unique flavor to the soup and the pork here is unbeatable.
They continue the tradition of charring the pork with a blowtorch in front of you and it gives the meat a smoky, caramelized flavor that is unparalleled. And that amazing chicken broth makes a nice warming home for the onions and springy noodles.
I managed to wait in line, order, and eat in about 45 minutes. This is a huge win for ramen lovers without much time on their hands. Although as the weather gets colder (and now that we’ve posted this article), I can’t make any promises it will stay this way.
Totto Ramen, 248 East 52nd Street (btw. 2nd+3rd Ave), 212-421-0052