Totto Ramen: Worth the Wait?

Being a person who loves eating Japanese food, naturally this place would catch my eye – Totto Ramen. The owner who opened Yakitori Totto and Soba Totto has recently opened this ramen restaurant. Who can resist the urge to cash in on the latest craze? The Japanese comfort food, ramen, has infiltrated Manhattan and caught the eyes and stomachs of many.

So, how does Totto Ramen stack up against restaurants like Ippudo and Ramen Setagaya? I was very interested in finding out. After several attempts to gather people to eat with me, I finally get a group of 4 to come with me. It turns out that this restaurant is better equipped for smaller parties and one cannot make reservations. That’s right – you write your name and party size on a clipboard and wait your turn.

After waiting 45 minutes for a table, we happily sat down by the counter. Its huge line is probably attributed to its size. Totto Ramen can probably fit around 25 people in its space. It is comprised of a counter and a few tables in the back. Yes, a typical Japanese sized restaurant indeed. We started off with the Chashu Mayo Don.

This is comprised of  broiled pork with yuzu mayonnaise on a rice. Pretty good, though I didn’t find the pork to be particularly memorable. At the same time, it’s broiled pork so it can’t be bad, right?

I got the Chicken Paitan Ramen, which its soup base is comprised of a whole chicken and premium soy sauce. It is topped with scallion, onion, char siu pork, and a nori (seaweed). Delicious? Oh yes. I would say it is the perfect ramen for the winter, and even the summer. The soup was very flavorful, not too oily and had the proper amount of saltiness to it. Noodles cooked just right, and the char siu was not too fatty and nicely suited the broth. The minced onions added to the ramen’s texture by giving it a little more of a bite. All in all, two thumbs up!

Their spicy bamboo shoots provide quite a spicy bite. As seen above, it looks pretty much covered in some sort of hot paste, perhaps similar to something that Koreans use, so that it has a kick.

I have to say, it’s probably the first Japanese restaurant that actually serves spicy food. Its menu features a spicy ramen with several hot peppers symbolizing how spicy it actually is. None of us got this ramen though I am interested in tasting it.

I didn’t order Spicy Totto Ramen, but figured some of you might like to see it anyway!

If you’re in the area and craving ramen, or even not in the area and craving ramen, this is a place to try to hit up. Be aware of its small spaces and seating restrictions. Otherwise, a good value and highly recommend their Chicken Paitan Ramen. I am still a fan of Ippudo because of the other ramens, but this is certainly a close second.

Totto Ramen
366 W.52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 582-0052

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