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: