Favorite Dishes #98: Ramen Lab's Torigara Shoyu

Ramen Lab's Torigara Shoyu ramen
Ramen Lab's Torigara Shoyu ramen
Sara Ventiera for the Village Voice

Ramen shops have proliferated in NYC like hangovers on Saturday mornings, perhaps in direct relation to each other. However, to our taste buds, many bowls smack of the same super-rich tonkotsu stock and the same spicy sauce. Then Ramen Lab (70 Kenmare Street; 646-613-7522) came to town.

Owned by Sun Noodle, the 30-year-old noodle company that supplies most shops in the city, Ramen Lab focuses on one thing: excellent bowls of noodles in broth. At the standing-only counter, chef Jack Nakamura serves two bowls of soup, each designed with the proper noodle in mind. Of the two, the Torigara Shoyu ramen ($13), an "homage to circa-1910 Tokyo shoyu ramen," may be the most perfect rendition we've ever tried. Schmaltzy chicken stock is ladled over succulent pork chashu, fermented bamboo shoots, nori, and spinach. A naruto fish cake floats on top. In the middle, delicate #0106 24W noodles soak it all in.

Here's our countdown up to now:
#100: Laminated Blueberry Brioche at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
#99: Egg Shop's Golden Bucket Fried Chicken

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