24 hours in New York

Exploring the big apple.

I ran around New York for 24 hours with my friend Geena. After hopping off OurBus (by the way, had a great experience), I grabbed my luggage and headed straight to Totto Ramen‘s original location in Midtown West. Previously I visited the Midtown East location, but could never make the time to wait in line at the first shop. Yelpers and New Yorkers claim the first location tastes significantly better in comparison to expansion spots.

I’m here to state: Believe the hype.

Yet instead of waiting 45 minutes during off-peak hours, I could have visited the Midtown East location with little to no wait times. Anyone who loves Totto Ramen should stop by the original location at least to fully experience why the business does so well.

My trip to the city included running into a few fashion week shops surrounded by long lines. I explored Soho, went shopping and spent an afternoon in 29Rooms. Food highlights include the fluffiest (questionably to die for) pancakes at Le Barricou and chicken liver pate at Hearth.

 

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

My personal reason for making Totto Ramen No. 1 on my ramen list.

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.