Why Totto Ramen is the best in the U.S.

I like to think I’ve been high and low when it comes to searching for a steaming, delicious bowl of ramen.

Although I still haven’t made my way to the dish’s origin, I tasted almost all of the District’s offerings and several in Maryland and Virginia (that’s what you get when you’re a DMV native!). After living in New York for half a year, I tried the famed momofuku Noodle bar, costly ippudo (both locations) and several others that I can’t mention.

While the hype continued for Totto Ramen, I finally sat down (sadly not at the original location) to see if the dish embodied its hype.

Yes, it did.

I opted for the Spicy Miso Paitan, which came with a side of hot sauce (great to control the spice level) and an extra poached egg. This broth blew my mind because it didn’t come soaked in oil, but embraces the miso flavor. The chicken slices didn’t come seared, but tasted moist and contained a soft texture. The yolk in the half boiled egg came out gooey-ly perfect, so that it’s not too runny, but easy to chow down. The poached egg mixes well with the broth, but when I bit into the center it felt cold. Noodles come out near-perfection, but the boys at the table thought they needed more.

The below is the typical miso (no spice) with seared pork. Notable (but kind of, sort of pictured below) is the fried chicken with a delicious sauce that reminded me of egg salad. It’s a great appetizer for a group or couple.

So why is this award-winning in my book? Everything came out similar to a traditional Japanese dish. No flavors lacked, and the price is justifiable. The Totto Ramen clan believes the original location tastes “better,” but I guess I’ll leave that up for debate when I don’t want to wait 1+ hours for my favorite food.

Service is quick, but not pushy to get you out. The only downside might be the cash only rule (especially because I never carry bills on me), but it makes the shop feel that much more authentic.

Totto Ramen has three locations in New York (Midtown West, Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown East) and one location in Boston. Like all great ramen places, you can’t make a reservation. Cash only. 

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