I just discovered ramen. Or maybe I should say that I just discovered GOOD ramen. I’d had it before, but was unimpressed: too salty, not very interesting… meh. But what a difference quality makes. My first taste was at Zutto (not one of the marquee ramen properties in NYC, but delicious none-the-less). I had their Tonkotsu (“pork bone”) ramen, which had a rich, but not cloying, broth. The richness of the broth (and the meaty chunks of pork) was well balanced with pickled ginger and scallions. Oh, and a nice amount of wood-ear mushrooms finished it off very nicely. I’ve been there twice (largely a function of its proximity to my usual stomping grounds) and enjoyed it both times.
But that was just the start. Since then, I’ve tried four more places – two in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn. Three of them ARE some of the hotter ramen establishments in the city: Ivan Ramen (Lower East Side), Ippudo (East Village) and chuko ramen (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn). I think chuko was my